The Battle of Britain Monument: London

This monument I found on the Victoria Embankment of the River Thames in London in August 2008, and I always said that it was one of the monuments I really wanted to see again.

Overlooking the London Eye on the opposite bank, it pays tribute to those who took part in the Battle of Britain (“The Few”) during World War 2.  It was unveiled on 18 September 2005 by HRH The Prince of Wales, in the presence of many of the surviving airmen from that era.

Image taken from the London Eye

The monument utilises a paneled granite structure 25 metres long and is lined with panels of high relief sculpture in bronze depicting scenes from the Battle of Britain. The centrepiece is an approximately life sized sculpture of airmen scrambling for their aircraft during the battle.

The outside of the monument is lined with bronze plaques listing all the airmen who took part in the Battle on the Allied side. The monument was sculpted by Paul Day.  Close to the monument is the RAF Memorial with its gilt Eagle that overlooks the Thames.

For me though, the bronze sculpting is what make this monument so special. The amount of detail in the panels is astounding, and extremely effective. The starkness is often grotesque to a point of almost nightmarish scenes, and I suspect that the reality must have often felt that way for those caught in the horrors of the Blitz.

South Africans listed as being amongst "The Few"

South Africans listed as being amongst “The Few”

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The website for the monument has the history and a lot more information about the monument, and is worth reading to understand it better.

© DRW 2008-2018. Created 25/08/2008. replaced images 04/03/2013. Moved to blog 23/02/2014

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