When you walk towards Marble Arch in London with Hyde Park on your left, you will come to the memorial dedicated to “Animals in War”. It is a truly magnificent piece of work by designer David Backhouse, and it was carved by Richard Holliday and Harry Gray, and built by Sir Robert McAlpine LTD.
On the day I originally visited it was a cold, wet and dull day. And many of the animals that served so faithfully during so many wars probably would have experienced days that were much worse than this. All to often we forget that in the midst of the human carnage of warfare there is often a massive loss of life amongst the animals that were used as porterage, weaponry, transportation and support.
I don’t think that there are any numbers of how many animals lost their lives on the battlefields. As is so eloquently stated “Many and various animals were employed to support British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns over the centuries and as a result millions died. From the pigeon to the elephant they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten.”
It is a truly striking memorial, and the back of the memorial is equally amazing, featuring a horse and a dog that have passed through the gap in the arch. while on the other side the two laden mules seem ready to pass through the gap too.
The dog seems to be a much loved figure, his nose and head shiny from the attention that he gets. He is looking back towards the two mules struggling with their loads, but I sense he is also looking back in concern for a master that he has left behind.
The memorial may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 51.511016°, -0.157499° and it is situated in Brook Gate, Park Lane, London W1.
The website for the Animals in War Memorial Fund has a lot of information about the memorial and the symbolism and construction of it.
© DRW 2013-2018. Created 07/03/2013. Images replaced 12/03/2013. Moved to blog 23/02/2014. Images added 09/05/2017