Serena Merton from South Warwickshire chanced upon the site of the grave of her grandfather’s charger Hopit, marked by an elaborate gravestone carved with their battle honours, and was inspired to research their story.
This moving book describes their relationship and is the extraordinary story of one man and his War Horse, with a unique perspective on The Great War seen through a soldier’s personal photo albums.
19-year-old Second Lieutenant John Forrester Colvin and his charger Hopit arrived in France in November 1914, spending four arduous years together under the most challenging conditions imaginable. Hopit returned to England in 1919 and Jack and Hopit’s post-war years were spent point-to-pointing, hacking and hunting together. Hopit died in 1927, but his elaborate gravestone hints at the closeness of their relationship through those most gruelling of years on the Western Front.
Extensive family photos illuminate the story of this long partnership, whilst the War Diaries of the 9th Lancers and letters from individual soldiers describe the life and harrowing conditions of troops during The Great War.
Serena lives with her husband and dogs in Cherington, South Warwickshire where they brought up their three children. Military, but especially cavalry blood, flows through her veins as she’s the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter ad infinitum of soldiers, and wife of an ex-cavalry officer. This is her debut book and the chance discovery of the existence of the grave of her grandfather’s charger Hopit set her off on an arduous voyage of research into military history and the somewhat trickier investigation into the bloodline and life of one Great War horse.
Jack and Hopit, Comrades in Arms An Officer of the 9th Lancers in the Great War and his War Horse is just published by Helion and Company, £16.95