Animals in War Memorial

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Coordinates: 51°30′40″N 0°09′26″W / 51.51111°N 0.15722°W / 51.51111; -0.15722

Animals in War Memorial
United Kingdom
Animals in War memorial.jpg
For all of the animals that served and died under British military command throughout history
Unveiled24 December 2004; 14 years ago (2004-12-24)
Designed byDavid Backhouse
They had no choice

The Animals in War Memorial is a war memorial in Hyde Park, London. It is located on Park Lane, at the junction with Upper Brook Street, on the eastern edge of the park.

The memorial was designed by English sculptor David Backhouse to commemorate the countless animals that have served and died under British military command throughout history. It was unveiled in November 2004 by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.[1]


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.[2] The memorial consists of a 55 ft by 58 ft (16.8 m by 17.7 m) curved Portland stone wall: the symbolic arena of war,[3] 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 Animals in War Memorial was officially opened on 24 November 2004 by Anne, Princess Royal.

In May 2013 it was one of two London war memorials vandalised on the same night. The word 'Islam' was spray-painted on it causing £2,766 in damage, and the nearby RAF Bomber Command Memorial suffered £6,500 in damage.[4] A 31-year-old man later admitted to vandalising the memorials and was charged for a total of 94 vandalism and destruction of property offences carried out over several weeks against homes, cars, memorials and a church, causing over £50,000 in damage.[5]


Beneath the main header, "Animals in War", the memorial has two separate inscriptions; the first and larger reads:

"This monument is dedicated to all the animals
that served and died alongside British and allied forces
in wars and campaigns throughout time."

The second, shorter but larger in font inscription simply reads:
"They had no choice."

Upon the rear or outside of the memorial are these words:

"Many and various 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."



  1. ^ "Somerset sculptor designs Animals in War memorial", BBC, 25/11/04
  2. ^ IndieLondon, [ Animals in War Memorial], retrieved 2008-01-27
  3. ^ IndieLondon, Animals in War Memorial, retrieved 2008-01-27
  4. ^ "Vandals deface war memorials in London parks". BBC News. 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  5. ^ Robson, Steve (30 April 2014). "Vandal admits painting 'Islam' on war memorial days after murder of Lee Rigby". mirror.

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