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Grave of war horse hero is awarded Grade II listed status

The grave of Blackie the war horse in Halewood has been given Grade II listed monument status by Historic England.

This is the first time a war horse grave has been awarded this heritage protection and recognises the contribution Blackie made as a horse in service with the British Army during the First World War.

Buried at the RSPCA Liverpool Animal Centre, Higher Road, Halewood, Blackie served with the 275th Brigade Royal Field Artillery ‘A’ Battery – 55th West Lancashire Division in most of the major battles of the First World War, including Arras, the Somme offensive and Ypres.

Blackie – thought to have been born around 1905 – belonged to Lieutenant Leonard Comer Wall, a war poet from Kirkby, who requested in his will that his faithful horse should be buried with his medals and decorations.

The lieutenant was killed in action at Ypres whilst riding Blackie on 9 June 1917, aged 20, and the horse’s groom, Francis Frank Wilkinson, was killed the previous day at the age of 23.

Despite this Blackie remained in service on the Western front for the rest of the war and was one of the very few war horses who returned from the front.

After the war Lieutenant Comer Wall’s mother Kate bought Blackie from the Army and lent him to the Territorial Riding School in Liverpool and led parades through the streets of Liverpool, before being retired to the horses’ rest home in Halewood, where he died aged 37 in 1942.

Lieutenant Comer Wall’s wishes were honoured, and Blackie was buried with his medals in the north west corner of the western field next to Higher Road.

Blackie’s grave is one of more than 1,000 historical sites given heritage protection by Heritage England as part of its First World War centenary listing project.

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