I wrote a blog entry a while ago on “Bovine Diplomacy in South Vietnam” in which I talked about how the Australians sent cows to South Vietnam in the late 1950s. Well apparently at the same time that they were sending cows to South Vietnam, they were sending horses to Thailand.
I came across these pictures in the Australian National Archives. The caption for this picture states that “Modern armies need horses in spite of mechanisation. Australian horses are favoured for remount purposes by the Royal Thai army and shipments are regularly made from Sydney to Bangkok. A shipment of 96 remounts left on the Nellore. This photograph shows some of the remounts in their special shelters on the deck.”
“Remounts” were fresh new horses that were meant to replenish a herd, or to replace horses that had died.
The previous two pictures were taken in 1960. The following two were taken in 1957.
The caption for these two pictures states that “Segeant R W Livermore, officer-in-charge of the New South Wales Mounted Police Troop, leaves Sydney on 10 February, for Bangkok, to observe the activities on the newly formed Thai Mounted Police section and to give instructions in the care, training and use of horses for police work. He will stay in Thailand for one month as guest of the Thai Police Department.”
In these two pictures we see “Sergeant Livermore with his horse on the parade ground of the New South Wales Police Depot in Sydney.
Still earlier, in 1956, other horses were sent for a very distinct purpose.
“Fifteen horses sent to Bangkok under the Colombo Plan for use by the Thai Red Cross as anti-snake bite serum producers are the first of a gift of one hundred by the Australian Government to the Queen Saovabhai Memorial Institute (The Pasteur Institute) in Bangkok, which gives free innoculations against snake bite. The horses were shipped from Sydney on the SS EASTERN.”
How do horses produce anti-snake bite serum? I wasn’t sure, but a quick google search later and I found this: “they take venom from snakes and inject tiny quantities into horses or sheep, which makes the animal immune. They take small amounts of the horse’s blood, remove the blood cells, and inject the rest in order to counter the snake venom.”
What a job!!