Machine Gun Corps - Figure Of David
- WM reference
- Memorial type
- Unveiled : 10th May 1925
- Dedicated : 10th May 1925
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner
City Of Westminster
OS Grid Ref.: TQ 28964 79708
Statue of David- trophies and wreaths in Bronze and pedestal in Portland stone. The memorial to the fallen of the Machine Gun Corps is embodied by a statue known as the ‘Boy David’; the Biblical figure who proved his worth after slaying the fearsome giant, Goliath. Although we tend to associate David with heroism and triumph over adversity, his representation in this case is naked; something which suggests a sense of vulnerability. The statue’s plinth includes a quote from the Book of Samuel; “Saul hath slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands”; a grim nod to the impact which the Machine Gun Corps had on the course of the war. On either side of the statue sit two ‘Vickers’ machine guns, each encircled with laurel wreaths. These fearsome weapons are actually real models… so it is some comfort that they are now encased in bronze. The rear of the statue provides a brief history of the Corps:
FRONT: ERECTED TO /COMMEMORATE/ THE GLORIOUS/ HEROES/ OF THE MACHINE GUN/ CORPS/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. SIDE: THE MACHINE GUN CORPS./ OF WHICH HIS MAJESTY KING/ GEORGE V WAS COLONEL-IN-/ CHIEF WAS FORMED BY THE WARRANT DATED THE 14TH DAY/ OF OCTOBER 1915./ THE CORPS SERVED IN/ FRANCE, FLANDERS, RUSSIA, ITALY,/ EGYPT, PALESTINE, MESOPOTAMIA,/ SALONICA. INDIA. AFGANISTAN/ AND EAST AFRICA./ THE LAST UNIT OF THE CORPS/ TO BE DISBANDED WAS THE/ DEPOT AT SHORNCLIFFE ON THE/ 15TH DAY OF JULY 1922. THE/ TOTAL NUMBER WHO SERVED IN/ THE CORPS WAS SOME 11,500/ OFFICERS AND 159,000 OTHER/ RANKS OF WHOM 1,120 OFFICERS/ AND 1,671 OTHER RANKS WERE/ KILLED AND 2881 OFFICERS AND /45377 OTHER RANKS WERE WOUNDED, MISSING OR PRISONERS/ OF WAR.
Names on memorial
First World War (1914-1918)
Total names on memorial: 0
Served and returned: 0
Exact count: no
Information shown: Undefined
Order of information: Undefined
Materials: Portland Stone
Date: 10th May 1925
Attended by: FM HRH Prince Arthur Duke of Connaught KG
Date: 10th May 1925
Attended by: Chaplain General to the Forces
Site: Unknown or N/A
Memorial: Unknown or N/A
Purpose: Unknown or N/A
1999: English Heritage.
When first erected, the memorial stood on Grosvenor Place; just south of Hyde Park Corner. This first site was short-lived, with major road works soon requiring the statue’s removal. It was placed in storage for many years, finally returning in 1963 when it was placed at its present site on the northern side of Hyde Park Corner, backing onto one of London’s busiest road junctions. An annual observance is held at the statue on the 2nd Saturday of every May.
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN: BRITISH FIRST WORLD WAR MEMORIALS by BOORMAN, DEREK 34,35 Source: Image Library NIWM Published:SESSIONS 1988 YORK
LONDON STATUES: A GUIDE TO LONDONS OUTDOOR STATUES AND SCULPTURE by BYRON, A 361,362 Source: Image Library NIWM Published:CONSTABLE 1981 LONDON
The Times 11 May 1925 p.1 col.b, p.18
Local Publication/Booklet Tancred Borenius:' Forty London Statues and Public Monuments' (London 1926) Photo
https://blackcablondon.net/2013/10/13/ww1-100-londons-memorials-the-machine-gun-corps-the-man-who-mended-faces/ (for more on the wartime role of Francis Derwent Wood, who scuplted it.
This record comprises all information held by IWM’s War Memorials Register for this memorial. Where we hold a names list for the memorial, this information will be displayed on the memorial record. Please check back as we are adding more names to the database.
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