Watch on a hoof of the horse owned by General Sir Hubert Gough, £2400 at Mallams.

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Britain alone had lost 484,000 horses – overwhelmingly not charging at the enemy any more but as transport animals – due to conditions ranging from exhaustion and drowning to shellfire.

A reminder of this came at Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) auction on January 11 in Cheltenham when a silver-plated pocket watch on a taxidermy horse’s hoof stand or holder, 8in (20cm) high overall, was estimated at £100-200 in a Country House Sale.

The dedication read Tommy, a faithful friend from 1906-1916, died in France during The Great War, 1916.

Tommy belonged to General Sir Hubert Gough. Cavalry officer Gough (1870-1963) led a division of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914-15. He became commander of the 5th Army on its formation in 1916 and took part in the battles of the Somme (1916) and Ypres (1917). The 5th Army bore the brunt of the German offensive in March 1918 and Gough was blamed – some say scapegoated – for its collapse.

Consigned by a direct descendant, the watch and hoof sold for £2400 to a UK online bidder.

From the same source, a sketchbook by Harriet Gough (Sir Hubert Gough’s wife) containing approximately 40 original drawings and watercolours completed during trips to India with her husband between 1870-90 was conservatively estimated at £100-200. It was bought by a UK museum for £1500.