Remembrance Service At The Animals’ War Memorial In London
A year long promise by my husband to Cynthia O’Neill
culminated at the Animals War Memorial, Brooke Gate, Park Lane, London,
on Sunday 9th November 2008.
Last year Cynthia had kept a vigil in her wheelchair for over an hour at
the memorial when only one man and his dog passed by, laying a bunch of
flowers on the memorial steps. Last year she mentioned this fact
to James on the phone, and he said, God willing he would join her in
November 2008 at the memorial and they could have a little service
As we approached the memorial about 10.15a.m. we could
see a few people in the distance. As we got nearer we were
surprised to see a crowd of about fifty to sixty people waiting for us
with Cynthia. She had made it! So had we! Wonderful!
The morning was bright, a hazy sun and cool breeze, the russet leaves
blowing all around us against the huge semi-circular off- white concrete
memorial behind us. Two black horses in front are laden with
ammunition and seem to be galloping through a two foot gap in the
monument to the other side where there are two black dogs. There
are carvings of many animals on the front left side and on the right
ANIMALS IN WAR and THEY HAD NO CHOICE are inscribed.
The service, to remember animals maimed and killed as the Victims of
War, began promptly at 10.30 a.m. and was conducted by my husband James.
We. had travelled up from our home in Holywell, North Wales the previous
The service started with a Call to Worship. This was followed by a
short address by Cynthia (left on photo above).. She was a Queen’s
Nurse, and all her life has campaigned tirelessly to improve the lives
A new hymn written for such an occasion by Linda J. Bodicoat was sung
next, to the rousing tune (Thaxted - we know it as I Vow to thee my
Country). Then a passage of scripture from the Holy Bible (parts
from Isaiah Chapter 2 and Chapter 11) was read by myself. Another
hymn – ‘Behold the Mountain of the Lord’, to the tune Glasgow, followed
by prayers, and a quiet time reflecting on the animals. This
brought us up to the two minutes silence, which was observed at exactly
11.00a.m, when we remembered all the people and animals affected by war.
A third new hymn written by James was sung to the tune (St. Anne).
Flowers, wreaths and posies. were placed on the steps of the memorial.
by individuals; some representing the Anglicans, Roman Catholic and
Quaker animal welfare associations. The Christian Vegetarian
association; The Order Of The Cross; and The Fellowship Of Life were
also represented; and it was most heartening to find several prominent
members of. the TV and theatrical world gracing us with their presence.
The ceremony came to a close with the singing of the Doxology to the
tune (Old 100th) and the Blessing. Afterwards many people mingled
and renewed old acquaintances. Some were reading the inscriptions
on the memorial. Amongst the crowd I noticed Jenny Seagrove with
her large brown and white very well behaved dog, and Miranda Richardson.
After seeing many people we had not seen for many years, we were
whisked away by our very kind hosts in their car to a Vegan Restaurant
in Fulham where we had a lovely meal and a time to relax, before joining
our train at Euston for the journey home.
- Doreen Thompson.
Go on to Next Topic
Return to Winter 2008 Issue