Without a doubt, the most moving monument I’ve seen in the few short days I’ve been in London so far is the Animals in War Memorial. They had no choice. Simple. Direct. Heartbreaking.
The Animals in War Memorial is a war memorial, in Hyde Park, London, commemorating the countless animals that have served and died under British military command throughout history. It was designed by English sculptor David Backhouse and unveiled in November 2004 by Anne, Princess Royal.
The memorial was inspired by Jilly Cooper’s book Animals in War, and was made possible by a specially created fund of £1.4 million from public donations of which Cooper was a co-trustee. The memorial consists of a 55 ft by 58 ft curved Portland stone wall: the symbolic arena of war, emblazoned with images of various struggling animals, along with two heavily laden bronze mules progressing up the stairs of the monument, and a bronze horse and bronze dog beyond it looking into the distance. The horse was modelled on a retired Charger from The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery called Ben Bragg.
The inscriptions on the moving monument are in various fonts and sizes and are all uppercase. In addition to the ones on the front, here are several inscriptions on the rear or outside, and on the inner edges of the wings (in the gap), attributing the creators and funders.
On the face of the right wing when viewed from the front or inside
Main heading, with the largest and heaviest cut inscription:
Animals in War
Directly beneath the main heading:
This monument is dedicated to all the animals
that served and died alongside British and allied forces
in wars and campaigns throughout time
Beneath and to the right of the main heading:
They had no choice
On the face of the left wing when viewed from the rear or outside (on the reverse of the main heading):
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