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The Boy David Memorial at Hyde Park Corner


Each year there is an Annual Observance, (usually 2nd Saturday in May) held at the Boy David Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London where Members and friends gather to remember the brave men of the MGC during a solemn but moving service.

The Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association is lucky to have as it's Honorary Chaplain, Colonel the Reverend John Barrie (Rtd), formerly Chaplain to the Household Division, Senior Chaplain, London District, now Vicar of St. Mark's Church, Hamilton Terrace who presides over the Observance each year.  We usually have a band to accompany the hymn singing.  The Horsham RBL Band ( also known as The Sussex Band of The Royal British Legion (Horsham)) has played beautifully for us in recent years.

A wreath is laid on behalf of the OCA by our President, Lt Col Kevin Cranston, Army Air Corps (Rtd) followed by members who lay wreaths for their relatives.

After the Observance, everyone moves on to the Annual Luncheon. (For more information about this, see the Events page).

On the day of our Annual Grantham Lecture & Lunch, a service of Remembrance is held at 10.30am at St Wulfram's Church, Grantham, where many men worshipped while training at nearby Belton Park. A few local people invariably join in and all are very welcome to do so.

In November, the Old Comrades' Association has a plot at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey (held on the Thursday morning prior to Remembrance Sunday) when we gather to remember our men by planting poppy crosses for them. Entrance is by ticket only nowadays.

On Remembrance Sunday, we hold only a small wreath laying service at the Boy David Memorial since the Royal Artillery has it's monument at Hyde Park Corner and holds a large service. We listen to their music, observe the Two Minute Silence and then lay our wreaths. It is usually only a small gathering, but it is a loyal one.

Please note that if you are visiting London and wish to participate in any of our Services of Remembrance, including the Annual Observance, you will be most welcome.  Arrival should be by 10.45 AM at the Boy David Memorial to ensure your being on time (earlier if you wish to be introduced to members and guests).  If there is room available, and on payment of the non members fee, you will also be welcome to attend the Annual Luncheon.  For details please contact the Honorary Secretary.

Due to the large size of the memorial, it is not possible to show the actual wording on it clearly. However, for those people who may never be able to visit the memorial itself, the commemoration on the panel reads:
'Saul has slain his thousands; But David his tens of thousands'

This inscription caused controversey at the time of it's unveiling, with questions raised in the House. It was deemed to be an attempt to glorify war, which is how many interpret this today. Whether it does or does not, the inscription is now a matter of history and we would never attempt to have it changed.
The Boy David is on the north side of Hyde Park Corner, in the sunniest, quietest spot on this very noisy traffic junction. English Heritage have been doing a lot of work on the island, Wellington Arch now has a small museum, the fee includes the opportunity to see the views of London from the top of the Arch, which are magnificent. A new Australian Memorial has been built on the south side and a New Zealand monument was built in 2006 next to the Boy David.

The memorial is important and though small in size compared to the Royal Artillery monument (which is considered one of the most beautiful war memorials in existence) we honour it, it represents more men than in most regiments.
The Boy David Memorial commemorates more men than serve in the current British Army.

You may be interested to know that the Vickers guns on each side of the Boy David (which each have a laurel wreath laid over them) are actual bronzed Vickers Guns.


Services are very expensive to hold and we are grateful for any and all donations for this purpose. If you wish to sponsor a service, please contact the Honorary Secretary 01646 682753.

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Copyright Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association.

Articles written by Judith Lappin and Keith Stephenson.
These photographs of the Boy David were taken by OCA member John Cooper.