Jack and Hopit

An Officer of the 9th Lancers in the Great War and his War Horse

Serena Merton

Second Lieutenant Colvin and his charger, Hopit, spent four arduous years together under the most challenging conditions imaginable. This is their story…
Date Published :
October 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
c 125 b/w photos, ills, maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911512806
Pages : 296
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


A chance discovery of the existence of the gravestone carved with the battle honors of Hopit - the Tipperary-foaled hunter - led the author to research the Great War relationship of Hopit and 19-year-old Second Lieutenant John (Jack) Forrester Colvin in their four long years on the Western Front. Extensive family photograph albums bring a personal element to the story of this long partnership, while the war diaries of the 9th Lancers and letters from individual soldiers tell the wartime story. Jack’s father, Forrester, commanded two reserve regiments of cavalry and was Advisor of Horses to the 11th Corps of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) throughout the Great War. After the Armistice and, as part of the Army of Occupation in Cologne, he was responsible for the future of the horses who had served King and Country - choosing which were to be repatriated; which were to continue with their regiments; and which were to be sold to French and Belgian farmers (and, unfortunately, butchers).

Jack and Hopit’s postwar years were spent point-to-pointing, hacking and hunting together - and though Hopit died in 1927, his elaborate gravestone hints at the closeness of their relationship through those most grueling of years on the Western Front.

About The Author

Serena lives with her husband and dogs in rural South Warwickshire, where they brought up their three children, who have now fled the nest. Military (but especially cavalry) blood flows through her veins - being the daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter ad infinitum of soldiers and the wife of an ex-cavalry officer. This is her debut book, which was brought about by a chance discovery of the existence of the grave of her grandfather’s charger, Hopit. This set her off on a voyage of discovery into military history, research and the somewhat trickier investigation into the bloodline and life of one great war horse.


“ … A beautiful and moving account of a man who devoted his army life to caring for and looking after horses, including one particular friend, known as Hopit.”

- Books Monthly

“A fascinating account…a reminder of how different the world was in a period that is only just beyond living memory.”

- Cotswold Life

“Fascinating story…wonderful book.”

- Who Do You Think You Are?

“ … This slim but wonderful volume tells the story of John Forrester Colvin and his war mount, Hopit.”

- The Great War

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