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Visiting the Battle of Britain Memorial, Thames Embankment

By February 12, 2014Blog

Although its official name is the Battle of Britain Monument, many people refer to the commemorative statue on the Thames Embankment as the Battle of Britain memorial. Whatever name you give to it, there is no denying that this memorial is one of the most beautiful out there and is the perfect way to commemorate the British military personnel who took part in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War.

Battle of Britain Monument

The Battle of Britain monument is situated on the Victoria Embankment.

History of the monument

The Battle of Britain monument was revealed to the public on the 18th September 2005. This date was specifically chosen as it coincided with the sixty fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The monument was unveiled by Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The Prince of Wales said that the monument would provide a lasting tribute to the bravery of the Battle of Britain pilots for generations to come.

The event was attended by the surviving airman of World War II, known collectively as ‘The Few.’ Since 1943 an annual service has been held to give thanks to those who gave their lives during the war. This service takes place at Westminster Abbey.

The design of the Battle of Britain monument

The beautifully designed monument is made from panelled granite and bronze. It spans twenty five metres long and features bronze plaques that list the names of the two thousand, nine hundred and thirty six airman and ground crew from the fourteen allied countries who took part in the battle. The centrepiece of the monument features a life sized sculpture of the airman scrambling for their aircraft during the battle. It is praised for its intricate detail, particularly on the faces of the airman. The faces depict a wide range of emotions from fear and anxiety to determination and fortitude. The monument also displays a quote from Winston Churchill which reads ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

Statues of airmen

The monument features statues of the airman, whose faces depict an array of emotions from fear to fortitude.

 

The monument was sculptured by Paul Day and cast by Morris Singer, which is the oldest established fine art foundry in the world. Morris Singer has cast many famous statues and sculptures in London including the lions and fountains in Trafalgar Square.

An educational experience

Although many older generations know all about World War II, the younger generations are less aware of what went on. The monument is a great place to take children to teach them about World War II and raise awareness of the people that gave their lives so we can live the way we do today.

Directions and transport to the monument

The Battle of Britain monument can be found on the Victoria Embankment, which is the north bank of the Thames. It is situated about two hundred metres from Westminster Bridge and lies pretty much opposite the London Eye which is found on the south bank of the Thames.

The easiest way to get to the monument is by getting off the tube at Westminster and following the signposts to the embankment. There are also buses that stop close by. If you are driving, the nearest parking is probably on the south bank close to the London Eye, though keep in mind there will be very little space available.

Conclusion

If you have never visited the Battle of Britain monument before then make sure you add it to your lists of sights to see next time you visit the capital. Not only is the sculpture stunning to look at, but it is also found in such a beautiful location. Be aware that it is easy to miss if you are in a hurry. Make sure you look out for it and take the time to study it, whilst paying your respects to the military personnel who gave their lives.

Image credits: gadgetdude & bobaliciouslondon

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