I already wrote about the Women of World War II Memorial and Malta Memorial here. There are so so so many memorials here in London that it reminds me of New Delhi. An unusual factor here in London is that everything comes to a standstill on Christmas Day much to the dismay of any visitor. No buses, trains, no modes of public transport happens. That's way too unusual for me! In India on Christmas, Hindus & Muslims work, on Diwali, Christians & Muslims work and on Ramadan, Hindus & Christians work and public transport never ever comes to a standstill.... This was just shocking for me!!!!
Anyways, the next day, on Boxing day, the public transport in Central London alone resumes. So I decided to see the Princess Diana Memorial and the other places close to it. I started with the Bomber Command Memorial. Even before reaching there all over the path where these seals that said its the path to Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
The Bomber Command Royal Air Force Memorial is dedicated to the 55573 airmen who lost their lives in the World War I serving the British Royal Air Force as well as from the Allied Nations which ofcourse includes India! This was laid by Duke Gloucester in May 2011 and was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth in June 2012.
Very close that are the Memorial Gates which comprises of 5 structures of which are dedicated to the armed forces from the British colonies in Africa, Caribbean & Indian Subcontinent who served in the world wars (almost 4 million) and was inaugurated in 2002. One structure in particular has the entire list of Indian soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross which is the British equivalent to Indian Param Vir Chakra.
Close to it was the Wellington Arch, a huge structure. This was designed in 1825 by Desimus Burton under King George IV. The sculpture atop, which is the biggest bronze sculpture in Europe, depicting Angel of peace on a 4 horse chariot, was designed by Adrian Jones in 1907 under Edward VII. This was originally built to be the entrance of Buckingham palace and later became a victory arch dedicated to Wellington's defeat of Napoleon. The green warp iron gates were just spectacular.
Another memorial here is the Royal Artillery Memorial. This is the memorial for the 49076 soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery who lost their lives in World War I. A huge gun on a platform with warriors all around it, make the design. The platform is in 3 section. Inscribed on the top section are the names of all the allied countries which served with Britain. The broad mid section has a shallow relief of the brutal truth of how the soldiers fought in the war field. The lower section was plain. Designed by Charles Sergeant Jagger, the gun was a imagery of Howitzer. 4 soldiers around depict an officer, a driver, a shell carrier and a dead soldier, all made in bronze. In 1949, a bronze panel was added in the memory of the 29924 soldiers who died in WWII.
On another side was the Australian War Memorial opened in Nov 2003. Australia was one of the Allied nations that served alongside Britain in WW I & II. Depicted here are the names of the 23844 towns where the soldiers were born and in superimposed (by carving wider) on them are the names of the 47 battles in which they were a part of.
A portion of Hyde Park is called the Holocaust Memorial garden. Its a garden of boulders surrounded by birch trees, constructed in 1983.
Finally I reached my destination, Diana, The Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain. This was constructed in July 2004. Its an irregular oval shaped channel, built with 545 pieces of cornish granite. The main fountain is at the highest point and water flows on both directions to the calming pool opposite. There are a few mini fountains enroute and deep textured stones as well that makes the water tumble and bubble, and the final pool is deeper and still.
TO GET THERE:
Nearest Tube Stations: Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge
Dedicated to Venkat