Sacrifice of Derbyshire’s animals during conflict to be formally remembered

The sacrifice of countless Derbyshire animals who served during conflict is being formally remembered for the first time at an Armistace Day ceremony.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 6:48 am

Leader of the Liberal Democrats for Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Ed Fordham will lay a wreath of purple poppies – the symbol for Armed Forces service animals – at a service at County Hall on November 11.

He said: “Thousands of horses were conscripted from the farms of Derbyshire and from the Chatsworth Estate.

“It is thought that in World War One this was as high as 28,000 horses from Derbyshire alone – and not one of them came back.”

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He explained that soldiers were ordered to shoot healthy horses at the end of the war to save on transport costs.

“Many of the men who had to shoot the horses shot themselves afterwards,” Cllr Fordham said.

When Chesterfield Borough Council rejected a request to lay a purple wreath at the 2018 Armistace ceremony made by animal lover June Lane, Cllr Fordham took the wreath and placed it in the Elder Yard Unitarian Chapel, in Chesterfield, where he was a worship leader.

Councillor Ed Fordham

When he was given the opportunity to lay a wreath as part of this year’s Derbyshire County Council ceremony, he was able to get approval for the purple wreath so close to his heart.

Cllr Fordham said: “My wreath will be adorned by 28 hand crocheted and knitted purple poppies made by animal lovers from Derbyshire.”

He will be constructing the wreath himself using poppies made by fellow animal lovers and will lay it at the service, accompanied by his rescue husky, Sparky.

He appealed to anyone interested in knitting or crocheting a purple poppy to contact him by emailing [email protected] or by calling 07974950512.

Commenting on this year’s Remembrance service, a spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “Our Remembrance Sunday service honours the men and women from Chesterfield who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War One and all subsequent conflicts.

“Many residents and organisations choose to lay a wreath of their choosing after the official ceremony, this includes white poppies, purple poppies and red poppies or a mix.”