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Machine Gun Corps - Figure Of David

WM reference
2129
Memorial type
Lost
No
Town
County
District
Subject/Period
Creator
Ceremony
  • Unveiled : 10th May 1925
  • Dedicated : 10th May 1925
Current location

Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park
City Of Westminster
Greater London
W1J 7NS
England
OS Grid Ref.: TQ 28485 79877
Denomination: Undefined

Description

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:

Inscription

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.

Inscription legible?

Yes

Names on memorial

None recorded

Subject/Period

First World War (1914-1918)
Total names on memorial: 0
Served and returned: 0
Died: 0
Exact count: no
Information shown: Undefined
Order of information: Undefined

Component

Sculpture
Condition: Good
Measurements: Undefined
Materials: Bronze
Listed?: No

Component

Pedestal
Condition: Good
Measurements: Undefined
Materials: Portland Stone
Listed?: No

Ceremony

Unveiled
Date: 10th May 1925
Attended by: FM HRH Prince Arthur Duke of Connaught KG

Ceremony

Dedicated
Date: 10th May 1925
Attended by: Chaplain General to the Forces

Costs

Site: Unknown or N/A
Memorial: Unknown or N/A
Comments: None

Trust fund/Scholarship

No
Purpose: Unknown or N/A

Sponsorship

Public
Details: REGIMENT

Responsibility of

1999: English Heritage.

Notes

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.

Reference

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

Reference

LONDON STATUES: A GUIDE TO LONDONS OUTDOOR STATUES AND SCULPTURE by BYRON, A 361,362 Source: Image Library NIWM Published:CONSTABLE 1981 LONDON

Reference

The Times 11 May 1925 p.1 col.b, p.18

Reference

Local Publication/Booklet Tancred Borenius:' Forty London Statues and Public Monuments' (London 1926) Photo

Reference

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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© IWM (WMR-2129)

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