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Swadlincote army engineer set to embark on horse trek

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 21, 2014

By Rob Smyth

Captain Will McGill with his horse

Captain Will McGill with his horse

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AN army engineer will saddle up his horse and ride across France next month to commemorate thousands of men who died on horseback in the First World War.

Army officer captain Will MacGill, from Swadlincote, will be part of the 35-strong team which will set out on the 100-mile ride across France in five days as part of the War Horse Ride 2014.

The horse ride was created by a small group of former cavalry officers to commemorate the 8,500 men and horses of the British Cavalry Division and the crucial part they played in the early months of the First World War.

All the riders will wear the same uniforms and carry the same weapons and accoutrements that their predecessors did in 1914.

The 43-year-old is a garrison engineer with 64 Works Group Royal Engineers, based at Chetwynd Barrack, Chilwell.

His army career, spanning 27-years, has seen him serve all over the world including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

When he's not working full-time in his regular army career he can be found working on his smallholding in Swadlincote with his wife Anne.

He said: "I've been riding for the past nine years.

"My wife had horses, so when I went to Cyprus in 2005 on an unaccompanied tour I took the opportunity to learn to ride.

"The idea was to take a few lessons, but I really loved it and ended up as the Saddle Club chairman and I now ride at every opportunity I get."

The ride will start on August 27 at Le Cateau in northern France and will see the horse riders follow a route which will take in the sites of some of the most famous cavalry actions of the opening weeks of the war.

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