BRIDPORT soldier Kieran Sherring played a starring role – with Adam the horse – when TV historian Dan Snow opened a major Bovington Tank Museum exhibition.

The exhibition is about the years of the First World War when horses on the battlefield gave way to tanks.

Former Colfox student Kieran, 21, who has been with the army reservists for the Royal Wessex Yeomanry for four years, said he and Adam were illustrating how warfare had changed.

He said: “We were there to tell the story of how warfare changed from using horses to tanks.”

From Warhorse to Horse-power takes visitors through replicas of the First World War trenches as it tells of the suffering endured by horses in battle.

It shows how tanks were on the battlefield within months of being conceived.

Dan Snow, who is a trustee of The Tank Museum, said: “I love this museum because I can’t break anything. Because I was a big clumsy lad, my mum was always telling me not to break things and so here, luckily, I can never break anything.”

He said the exhibition might help change people’s views of the First World War.

“Most of the time people think about the First World War, they think about total pointless suffering and loss and tragedy and of course there are elements of that in the First World War – but there’s also an extraordinary story of innovation, of British engineering genius.

“What happened in the First World War was that war was completely reinvented in the space of about three or four years.”

He added the arrival of the tank “rewrote the rule book in war”. Among the VIP guests at the launch were journalist Kate Adie, actor Chris Barrie and Top Gear presenter James May.

Kieran met Dan Snow, Kate Adie and James May.

He said: “They were really nice people and they were very happy to see us there and impressed with the exhibition.”

Mr May said the exhibition was “quite harrowing”.

“You do see pictures of horses suffering, stories of horses obviously suffering quite badly and people becoming very traumatised by what they see happening to their animals.

Those cavalarymen and so on were very attached to their own beasts,” he said.

“If you’re a 13-year-old horse enthusiast you’re going to find this distressing at the least but that’s the way it should be. That’s what it was like, so fair enough.”