The sentence above is the standard description of the photo, found in various places on the internet. A tip of my blogging cap to reader Bicycle Rider, who tracked down the source material and the true story.
AFP Fact Check conducted a reverse image search for the photo, which brought up this blog post that identified the photographer as Almeron Newman. A search for his name led to the photo on the Library of Congress website, which says it was taken in 1919 in Deming, New Mexico.The photo’s caption says: “650 officers and enlisted men of Auxiliary Remount Depot No. 326, Camp Cody, N.M., in a symbolic head pose of ‘The Devil’ saddle horse ridden by Maj. Frank G. Brewer, remount commander.”It makes no mention of the photo being a tribute to horses killed during World War I, which ended in 1918. It is unclear if the officer or his horse served in the conflict.“We know of no evidence of the formation being a tribute,” the Library of Congress told AFP via email.
But... it still could be a tribute to horses killed in the war. Alternatively, 650 soldiers were coerced by their commanding officer to form the shape of the head of his horse. Those men would be dead by now, but one of their children may know the motivation behind this rather interesting photo.
Image via Nag on the Lake.