Feature by Lizzie Guilfoyle
LONDON'S newest monument, the Animals in War Memorial,
honours the millions of conscripted animals that served, suffered
and died alongside British, Commonwealth and American forces in
20th century wars and conflicts.
The memorial is situated at Brook Gate, Park Lane, on the edge
of London's Hyde Park and was designed by leading English sculptor,
As its name suggests, it depicts the many animals that have been
used by troops in wartime - horses, mules, dogs, elephants, camels,
pigeons and canaries.
None are forgotten, not even the lowly glow worm. For these
tiny creatures were used by soldiers in the trenches during the
First World War, to help them read their maps in the gloom.
In fact, casualties number in their millions - eight million
horses alone are believed to have died during the First World
War, from exposure, starvation and disease, while performing their
duties, carrying men or pulling loads of equipment and ammunition.
Add to that the hundreds of thousands of carrier pigeons injured
as they endeavoured to deliver vital information from the front.
One such bird was Mary of Exeter who returned from a mission with
a damaged wing and three shotgun pellets in her breast.
For them and countless others like them, this is their memorial.
And it comes in the form of a 55ft by 58ft curved Portland stone
wall - the symbolic arena of war - upon which the animals are
depicted in bas-relief.
Completing the memorial are two life-size, heavily laden, bronze
mules that appear to be struggling up steps towards a gap in the
wall, beyond which, a bronze horse and dog seemingly gaze into
The memorial was inspired by Jilly Cooper's book, Animals
in War, and was made possible by a specially set up fund,
of which Ms Cooper is co-trustee.