Service For Remembrance Sunday: report By Doreen
The Animals at War Memorial was unveiled by the Princess Royal in
November 2004. The semi-circular 12ft. high light stone memorial
stretches across the central reservation at Brook Gate, in Park Lane,
London. In 2007 on Remembrance Sunday Cynthia O’Neill 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. She later mentioned this fact to my husband on the phone. He
said that God willing he would join her in November 2008 at the
memorial at 10.30a.m. and they could have a little service for the
animals to complement the one at the Cenotaph for humans in Whitehall.
In 2008 this came to fruition and about fifty people from all
persuasions joined us.
This lovely service to remember
animals maimed and killed as Victims of War has continued each year
since and each year has taken place on Remembrance Sunday at 10.30a.m.
This year Remembrance Day, 11th November 2012, turned out to be a
sunny and bright day, with no wind at all. The golden leaves were
crisp under our feet as we walked along the road, and the trees were
in their Autumn glory. About seventy people had assembled in front of
the memorial, and a few passers by looked on with interest. The
service was taken by the Revd. George O’chola, an Anglican Hospital
Chaplain from Watford and was assisted by my husband.
service again included hymns specially written for the occasion sung
to traditional tunes, a reading was given by myself, followed by a
short address from my husband leading up to the two minutes silence.
Later, prayers and the laying of wreaths and flowers took place,
Father George O’chola officiating throughout, and the procedure
ended with the singing of the Doxology, and the Blessing.
After the service people were able to re-new acquaintances and also
to look at the amazing inscriptions and carvings of the animals on the
monument. I was very surprised to see so many animals at this years
service, and they seemed to understand the significance of the
occasion as they stood on the steps looking intelligently on.
A Post Script by James
Doreen took several photographs of the above event: three of which
are on this Newsletter. The second (the one showing Fr O’Chola and
myself) truly intrigues me. This was snapped just after I’d said
the following: “The departed animals for whom we’ve gathered are
all around us, looking down ‘so to speak’ from the battlements of
They include the dear war horses and mules - along with past human
sympathisers of them who’ve this year crossed the Jordan of death
ahead of us!*” Indeed, I very much felt their presence.
Consequently, those shadowy outlines behind my fellow priest and ones
self, speak far more to me than would any shadowy reflections a
sceptic may view as cast off by rays of the sun.
*Keith Coello, Carol Stevens, Maurice Swift, George Russell, Pearl
Merrett, Emily Margaret Hunter & Hau lwyn Jones, are now
amongst ‘that unseen cloud of witnesses’,(Hebrews Chp.12:1) spurring
us on as we remain in the arena of this earths fleeting life .
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Return to Winter 2012 Issue