Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo's Lost War Horses

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo's Lost War Horses

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo's Lost War Horses

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo's Lost War Horses


Born in June 1883 to an aristocratic Scottish family, Dorothy Gibson-Craig was brought up with dogs and horses. In 1926 she married Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Brooke, recipient of the Distinguished Service Order in World War I and a writer on equine culture. She followed her new husband to Cairo, where she discovered thousands of malnourished and suffering former British war horses leading lives of backbreaking toil and misery.

Brought to the Middle East by British forces during the Great War, these ex-cavalry horses had been left behind at the war’s end, abandoned like used equipment too costly to send home. In Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo’s Lost War Horses Grant Hayter-Menzies chronicles not only the lives and eventual rescue of these noble creatures, who after years of deprivation and suffering found respite in Brooke’s Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, but also the story of the challenges of founding and maintaining an animal-rescue institution on this scale.

The legacy of the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital and its founder endures today in the dozens of international Brooke animal-welfare facilities dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys, and mules across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.


Anyone who knows my work with and love for equines also knows my core principle—to leave the world a better place, not only for animals but for people, too. Because without our care, the animals who delight us, who serve us, cannot be healthy or happy.

Yet too many working horses, mules, and donkeys around the world are neither. That’s why I support the work of Brooke, as a Global Ambassador and as a man who loves horses.

I feel a synergy with Brooke, which works to ease the suffering of working equines through education of owners as well as through free expert veterinary care for animals.

I also feel a kinship with Mrs. Dorothy Brooke, the organization’s founder. Mrs. Brooke saw suffering and did not look the other way. She rolled her sleeves up and got to work.

Brooke still does this, every day, in countries around the globe. As you read Grant Hayter-Menzies’s moving account of how an English general’s wife saved the lost war horses of Cairo, I know you will be as inspired as I am to follow her example and help make the world a kinder, healthier place for the animals who serve us and love us. As Mrs. Brooke well knew, compassion is the key.

Monty Roberts

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