Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Memorial day - 13

Walking up Northumberland Avenue from the Victoria Embankment London, instead of continuing to Trafalgar Square turn left into Whitehall Place, towards the Old War Office. At the junction with Whitehall Court there is a shady group of trees, on sunny days you do not see, until you are nearly upon them, a group of figures in the deep shadow. The five figures are turned away looking towards Whitehall as if expecting to see something or someone coming towards them. Their body language clearly says they are friends and comrades, they are the members of a tank crew.



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The Royal Tank Regiment Memorial statue was originally designed by G.H. Paulin and reworked in bronze by Vivien Mallock. It was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 13 June 2000. It commemorates all ranks of the Machine Gun Corps, Tank Corps and Royal Tank Regiment. The figures look towards Whitehall and the building in which the first tank was designed. The trees were brought from Canada to signify the country’s relationship with the regiment.


Though the figures are 1.2 life size, set at ground level the statue is one of the most realistic, “friendly” and “at ease with its surroundings” statues in London.

Two bronze plaques are set in the pavement before the statue. One reads:
In tribute to the Crewmen who have served in the Heavy Section and Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps the Tank Corps Royal Tank Corps and Royal Tank Regiment since tanks were first in combat at Flers on 15th September 1916.

The other:

Royal Tank Regiment Memorial Statue.

This memorial statue depicts the crew of a World War 2 Comet Tank which was issued to the Royal Tank Regiment in 1945. The Comet had a crew of five: Commander, Gunner, Loader, Hull Machine Gunner. Driver. It was equipped with a 77mm high velocity gun and powered by a 600 horse power Rolls Royce engine. The Comet proved to be highly effective against enemy tanks of the day.

At the other end of Whitehall Court stands the memorial to the Gurkha Soldier the subject of 27th June 2007 blog.

Click here to see YesBut’s Image of the day, and leave your suggested caption.

2 comments:

Helena said...

THanks! I didn't know about this statue.

I read somewhere that "tanks" were so called after the factories in which the first ones were built: the factories originally made water-tanks, in peace time. Being top-secret, these new machines were referred to as "tanks" whilst being built and designed and tested, etc.

Another war statue I like is in South Africa, and commemerates all the animals used and killed in war. It's of a horse, and a man is kneeling down to it, holding a bowl of food. I like the way that the man is therefore made lower than the horse....

YesBut said...

Hi Helena

In the last couple of years they’ve put up some nice memorials, including the one in Park Lane to Animals in War.