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Joe (or Joey), rather unusually for the 11th Hussars was a Grey. In August 1914 he went with the regiment to France as part of the initial contingent of the BEF, sadly little is known of his wartime service but he did return safely back to England and remained with the regiment until they were mechanised in 1928. Joe or “Joey” as he was known in the regiment even took part in the Musical Ride at Olympia in 1927. His rider on that occasion was Corporal Swindell.
When the Regiment converted to Armoured Cars Joe, who was now at least 18 years old, was sold to a contractor who supplied mounts to the Territorial units. In the same year, after a spell at camp with an unknown unit Joe was left behind enclosed in a field and he went without a fresh source of food and water for twelve days!
Joe was fortunate enough to be rescued by a Mr Greethurst who owned a local stable and riding school where he was looked after and returned to full health. Upon his recovery Joey was sold to another school but suffered very poor treatment; being very overworked and underfed. In the summer of 1930, by pure chance Mr Greethurst was walking down a road when he saw a familiar “tired and wretched” looking Joe. Mr Greethurst purchased Joe (for the second time) and again took him to his stables for several months. It was here that Joe did a good deal of hunting and even carried Mrs Greethurst side saddle.
On February 4th 1931 Joe went to North Foreland House in Broadstairs, Kent for a fortnights trial with the Briggs family, before a week had passed the ladies of the family had decided to keep him. Joe became the favourite mount of Mrs L.K Briggs who had learnt to ride again, in order to keep Joe, she was now over 60 years of age! Mrs Briggs herself had lost her son, Private Claude Briggs of the Royal Fusiliers and her nephew during the Great War and refused to accept that their bodies could not be found, the body of her son was found and identified in 1921.
The ladies of the Briggs family founded “The Ranch” at Broadstairs House for old War Horses and mules to recuperate. Mrs Briggs went on to own a vast collection of Great War memorabilia and lectured on behalf of the famous Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium and the British Legion to raise funds, she passed away in 1950 aged 81.
From the photograph’s and stories from Joes time a Broadstairs we can tell he lived well into the 1930s, we know nothing further other that he ended his days there with a fitting and dignified end.