A SOLDIER from Sunderland and his real-life war horse are the subject of a new exhibition.
Archivists at County Hall in Durham City have picked up on the hit Steven Spielberg film to tell the story of Sergeant George Thompson, who served with the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) in the First World War.
Sgt Thompson lived in Sunderland’s Crow Street, since demolished, and worked for Vaux as a fermenting room foreman.
He joined the territorial army, then the DLI, serving in its transport section.
Sgt Thompson survived the conflict and wrote his memoir in 1928, dedicating it to his daughter Gracie, who was two years old at the time.
The 100-page A5 notebook describes the horrors of the conflict, but also some lighter moments.
County archivist Liz Bregazzi said: “In one passage he describes how he and others took their horse to the beach for races.
“It really is just like the film in that Sgt Thompson forged a close relationship with his horse, although he doesn’t record its name in the memoir.
“Because of the battlefield conditions many of the horses suffered disease, and Sgt Thompson describes how he built a stable for his horse and looked after it for a month.
“The exhibition we are staging is an excellent chance for people, particularly the younger ones, to see how the War Horse film reflects real life.”
Ms Bregazzi has written to the last address she has for the Thompson family, but has yet to receive a reply.
* If any readers can help trace Gracie or her descendants, contact the Echo newsdesk, tel. 501 7208.
The exhibition at County Hall, Durham City, runs until March 31, in the foyer of the records office. Visitors should ask for directions at the main entrance information desk.