The Princess of the Eighth Hussars

Please excuse lack of posts lately – I’ve been ill and very busy trying to wrestle my ambitions for book two into a viable proposal. I caught this lovely World-War-Two tale of a Canadian equine mascot called Princess Louise via The Brooke’s Facebook feed. Another war horse for Remembrance Sunday! Enjoy (via the Telegraph Journal):

“At the time, we were soldiers doing a difficult job and mostly thankful that we were still alive,” Frank Gaunce, 99, says as he sits beside his hospital bed in Sussex, where he is recovering from a broken hip. A member of the 8th Hussars Regiment, he was on the battlefield on the sweltering night of Sept. 16, 1944, when Princess Louise was discovered, months old and crying with a belly wound and walking circles around her dead mother. “Having that horse around helped raise our morale.”

A battle unit based in Sussex with ties to Canada’s oldest cavalry regiment, the Hussars retrieved Princess Louise from the front lines with artillery above their heads. They then took her to a company medic, who treated her wounds, and after that they took turns changing her bandages to prevent infection.

As the war ground on, they concealed her in a truck in which they had built her a stall and took her everywhere they went, through Italy, France and Holland.

When they war ended, they placed her in a pasture in Holland and, against orders, arranged for her to be shipped to New York aboard a Dutch liner.

A few months later after crossing the ocean, Princess Louise was met by one of the Hussars in New York, and then placed aboard a train and taken to Saint John, where she arrived on March 27, 1946 and was greeted by a military honour guard, the city’s mayor and thunderous cheers.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. “A battle unit based in Sussex with ties to Canada’s oldest cavalry regiment” is a bit misleading. The 8th Hussars are in point of fact the oldest, continuously-serving regiment of cavalry in Canada. The Regiment has undergone a few name changes, but was formed on 4 April 1848 as the New Brunswick Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. The lineage does, however, go back to Saunder’s Horse who fought against the “Colonial Rebels” in Virginia, during the American Revolution. We don’t count that as the long history of unbroken service that now spans 164 years. Other cavalry units recall older lineages, but not in unbroken service. Oh, and while we maintain a squadron in Sussex, Regimental Headquarters moved to Moncton in the 1970s.

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