Boer War Page 93t1
Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has recently preserved.
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Victorian - Edwardian Horse Memorabilia 1887-1902 - 1

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Victorian - Edwardian Horse Hoof Memorabilia 1887-1902

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Horse Hoof Inkwell, Requisition - 1901
Orig. horse hoof inkwell - Size - 13 x 14 cm
Found - Birmingham, UK
The bottom is inscribed Rowland Ward 165 Piccadilly, a company that specialized in mounting animal remnants that Victorian officers brought back from the far reaches of the British Empire.

This hoof is not inscribed with a government number like other horse hooves below, to show who the real owner was.

This also was not simply a trophy dumped in a box or set on a shelf; the considerable ink splotching around the well show Capt. Fielden used it for writing serious letters at his desk.

Captain Harold Fielden DSO - A fabulous horse's hoof inkwell that once belonged to Captain Harold Fielden DSO. He was a member of the famous Fielden family of Todmorden, Yorkshire, and served with distinction in the Boer War, winning his Distinguished Service Order there, a medal second only to the Victoria Cross, as a member of Damant's Horse. The medal was presented to him by King Edward VII, Oct. 29, 1901. He retired from the military in 1904, due to ill health.

He inscribed the hoof Requisition, in what could be a sly reference to acquiring a horse through channels from a government remount station.

It's probably more likely, that, given the Brits' world famous sense of humour, in things like this, that Harold probably stole it from a Boer farm, and when asked where he managed to get such a fine horse, he replied... you guessed it... And the inkwell has preserved the joke for the Ages...

English gentlemen know their horses; clearly this was not an ordinary nag from the general pool of wild government horses, but one that the educated eye of Captain Fielden spotted somewhere and personally "requisitioned" for some special qualities. That he chose to keep a hoof in remembrance proves that his trust was returned.

Perhaps Captain Fielden was aboard Requisition when he won his DSO.


Left is another typical inkwell made from the hoof of Lion, no doubt a fondly remembered, and faithful servant, who probably, many times, carried his master to safety. Inscription below.

Right is the candle holder made from the hoof of Wild Boy, who was killed in action at Jasfontein, in the Northern Cape, Dec. 16, 1899, the day after the big British defeat at Colenso.

Right three photos of an inkwell made from the hoof of a horse that actually died at Colenso, Dec. 15, 1899, one of dozens who were strewn about the battlefield below. Dozens of men were also stretched out among the pillars, but it is not known if souvenir hunters lopped off body parts from them...

Below, showing the fine style that won him an international Gold Medal, for On-camera Host, at the Houston International Film and Television Festival, Canadian historian and filmmaker John Goldi, stands on the sacred spot - once strewn with scores of dead and dying horses and men - by the blocks marking where Colonel Long unlimbered each of his guns. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded for the action at Colenso. For one brief moment in time this tiny spot was Hell on Earth... This horse hoof was there...

Hoof lid is inscribed: Hoof taken from a horse of "Long's Batteries" on the Battlefield of Colenso Natal, Dec. 15, 1899, Boer War

Go to Colenso

It shows the government number used to prevent horse theft.

Alas, some officers had to be content with just a piece of tail...
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Horse Hoof Souvenir, RNWMP - 1904
Orig. horse hoof - Size - 19 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
This is a Canadian souvenir hoof, that belonged to a member of the Royal North West Mounted Police who kept it - along with issue gauntlets, horse bits, and assorted RNWMP cap and collar badges, till the end of his life, when relatives consigned them all to an auction, turning heritage into cash...

It shows the British style requisition number that was branded on to hooves of government issue horses to keep them from being stolen.

Above lining up for the Coronation Parade of 1911, just hours before it was to begin, are members of the Royal North West Mounted Police aboard their favourite mounts.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000