Date issued: 11 October 2018
Stephen Spielberg’s 2011 film, War Horse, is set to raise money for the Royal British Legion with a special screening at Firstsite, on 3 November 2018.
The 2pm matinee – one of several events organised by the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Peter Chillingworth, to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1 – will also feature a short introduction by the distinguished author and academic, Andrew Phillips, entitled Colchester in the Great War: Training troops, ‘breaking in’ horses, healing the wounded.
Andrew Phillips said: “Few towns equalled Colchester’s contribution to the Great War. As headquarters of Eastern Command, its garrison supplied many of the 1914 Expeditionary Force that stopped Germany on the Marne and was busy day and night loading men, equipment and horses for transport to France.
“Resident soldiers sometimes equalled the town’s population of 40,000 – putting a massive strain on the infrastructure of the town, which also became a reception area for 100,000 casualties in crowded military, civilian and converted Red Cross hospitals.
“Half the town’s adult male population took up arms and over 20%, nearly twice the national average, died. No wonder Colchester erected one of the largest and most dramatic war memorials for a town of its size, to commemorate four of the most dramatic years in its 2,000-year history.”
Peter Chillingworth added: “I’m tremendously grateful to everyone who has made this event possible, especially Andrew Phillips for agreeing to speak so knowledgeably about Colchester’s contribution to the Great War.
“It is really rather poignant and fitting to show War Horse, I feel, given that thousands of requisitioned farm horses were ‘broken in’ and sent from Colchester to the front during the conflict. Their immense sacrifice was also tragic. A million horses were sent to fight in the Great War, but only 62,000 came back.
“I very much look forward to seeing a packed audience at the matinee and hope we can raise a significant amount of money to help support the outstanding and much-needed work of the Royal British Legion.”
Tickets cost £8 and can be booked via the Firstsite website here: www.firstsite.uk/whats-on/royal-british-legion-war-horse/