Whilst the hustle and bustle of city life carried on in London, a crowd of representatives (both two-legged and four-legged) from animal charities gathered at the Animals in War monument in Park Lane on Friday to remember all the animals that have fallen during wartime and other conflicts.
With the crisp autumnal colours laying at the feet of the animal statues, Giles Webber, Operations Director of the Dogs Trust, welcomed everyone before the event started with a two minute silence followed by the reading of The Soldier's Kiss by Major Nicola Housby-Skeggs.
This year's speakers were:
- Jeremy Hulme, Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad - Animals in War Zones
- Garry Botterill, Service Dogs UK - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dogs
- Clare and Christy Campbell - Remembering the Pets that Went to War
- Poem by Callum Bailey, St Mary's Royal Catholic School – War Hero Dogs
- Poem by Cerys Adam, St Mary's Royal Catholic School – Canine Hero
- Jan McLoughlin, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals - The Dickin Medal
Flanked on all sides by a constant stream of traffic, a triangle of green space is home to the Animals in War monument which was unveiled by HRH The Princess Royal on 24 November 2004.
As you approach the monument, you see a life-size donkey and mule struggling to walk towards a gap in the large wall symbolising the war experience. On the other side of the wall, a dog and a horse face towards the gardens bearing witness to the loss of animal lives.
The wall itself is covered on one side with many different animals that went to war with silhouettes carved representing the animals lost. There are also inscriptions on both sides of the wall with information about theatres of war and the numbers of animals lost.
If you find yourself in London, this monument is a very moving place to visit. Look closely and you will see our Founder's name among the many names who gave their support to enable the monument to be completed.
We can't turn the clock back, but this monument acts as a lasting tribute to the millions of animals lost.