By Jill Mather
Paeroa is a small town located on the northern tip of the Waikato area and the foot of the Thames Valley region. A beautiful lush farming area abounded by two rivers.
The ideal place to breed horses. In WW1 the demand for good horses was strong and Paeroa was quick to answer the call. The children of the local school decided to raise the money to buy a suitable horse and it was to be named ‘Paeroa”. The horse was presented to the Officer in Charge, Major Stuckey who thanked the children and said that he would do his best to care for “Paeroa” and keep them informed of his service and bring him back in good health.
There is some confusion here as Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Plugge is also mentioned as having been allocated “Paeroa”. However no details regarding the horse having been at Gallipoli with Plugge are available.
Later the children received a letter from Major Stuckey to say that Paeroa was doing well and looked after by a soldier from Paeroa called Private E Edmond. He also said the horse would be shipped to Egypt and possibly France. A large photograph was enclosed.
Unfortunately Major Stuckey was killed and the horse became the mount of another man also from Paeroa - Captain Edwards. Unfortunately, like so many of the six million horses killed in World War One, Paeroa died. However, as promised, one of his shoes was sent back to the little school where it took pride of place until finally donated to the local Museum.