In 1939 Britain once again faced war in Europe. The Home of Rest for Horses had been in the new premises in Borehamwood for 5 years when Britain began to prepare for War. The Committee resolved that The Home with the complete staff be offered to the Authorities as a war-time Horse Hospital in the event of hostilities breaking out.  The Home was accepted by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as a hospital for animals injured in air raids as the charity along with the rest of Britain began to see the effects of the War on the Home Front.

The Home of Rest for Horses also provided temporary accommodation for horses whose owners property had been destroyed by enemy action. Not a single application was refused. Many of these animals were returned to their owners who, after being evacuated, found their means of livelihood in new surroundings. The Home also began to admit the horses of men called for military duty and in 1943 forty horses were admitted and kept free of charge.

It wasn’t only horses that the charity helped. The Home became a hospital for animals injured in air raids, and at the beginning of the war was used as a temporary home for pets belonging to evacuated London school children.

Although The Home of Rest sustained slight damage from an anti-aircraft shell and a bomb during the Blitz, no casualties were sustained to the staff or animals. Despite the War The Home carried on functioning successfully.


As we had in WW1 the charity also did what they could to help horses serving in Europe, making a number of large donations to RSPCA War Animals (Allied) Fund to provide veterinary aid to Russian War Horses and the Society for the Protection of Animals helping War Horses in North Africa.




Borehamwood-HayIn 1941 four members of staff were called up for service and were temporarily replaced by men over military age. Staffing The Home continued to be an issue throughout the War. The supply of forage was also a cause of great concern as hay was expensive and hard to obtain. Although the Ministry of Food very considerately granted rations of oats for all the animals in The Home, purchase of hay was difficult and delivery even more so.  However, provisions were made and in 1943 fourteen tons of hay was made and stacked from the Home’s paddock by the Hertfordshire War Agricultural Committee. Bomb damage to the water mains also meant relaying water to the Home for the horses was difficult. Difficulty obtaining forage meant that the charity decided to suspend admission of Old Favourites until after the War.

By 1944 hay was almost unobtainable. Working horses admitted for respite were still returned in better condition despite oat rationing. Labour shortages were still a problem so the Home could not accept many animals. While the number of staff increased after the end of the War rationing of forage continued to affect the Home until 1954.

You can find out much more by visiting our museum at The Home of Rest for HorsesYESTERDAY-VISITORS_HOURS_ADVERT and of course meet some our retired and rescued horse, ponies and donkeys. Which one will be your favourite?