Memorial Gates (London)

Memorial Gates
United Kingdom

For soldiers from Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain in World War I and II
Unveiled 6 November 2002; 11 years ago (2002-11-06)
Location 51°30′09″N 0°08′57″W / 51.5025°N 0.1491°W / 51.5025; -0.1491Coordinates: 51°30′09″N 0°08′57″W / 51.5025°N 0.1491°W / 51.5025; -0.1491
Constitution Hill, London

Designed by Liam O’Connor


The Memorial Gates are a war memorial located at the Hyde Park Corner end of Constitution Hill in London. Also known as the Commonwealth Memorial Gates, they commemorate the armed forces of the British Empire from five regions of the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka), as well as Africa and the Caribbean, who served for Britain in the First and Second World Wars.

The memorial was inaugurated in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Inscriptions

The main inscription reads:

In memory of the five million volunteers from the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Caribbean who fought with Britain in the two World Wars.

A shorter inscription quotes the words of the Nigerian author and poet Ben Okri:

Campaign stones

On the Green Park side of the Gates there are two stone slabs, either side of the pavilion, commemorating by name several of the campaigns in which forces from the British Empire fought.

World War I
World War II

Memorial pavilion

The memorial pavilion, also on the Green Park side of Constitution Hill has a list of those from the named regions who were awarded the George Cross (GC) or Victoria Cross (VC) in the two World Wars. The 74 names are listed on the ceiling of the small domed pavilion. There are 23 VC recipients from World War I listed, 12 GC recipients from World War II, and 39 VC recipients from World War II.

World War I Victoria Crosses

World War II George Crosses

World War II Victoria Crosses

Planning, construction and inauguration

The plans for the memorial were made by the Memorial Gates Trust. As inscribed on the memorial, the inaugural patron of the Trust was Prince Charles, and the inaugural trustees were Lord Inge, Lord Sandberg, Viscount Slim, Neil Thorne, Lord Weatherill, Baroness Flather, Khalid Aziz, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, Harpinder Singh Narula (chair), Gulam Noon, and Anwar Pervez.

The architects were Liam O'Connor and Amrish Patel. Funding came from the National Lottery, provided by the Millennium Commission. Construction of the Memorial Gates began on 1 August 2001, with an inscription commemorating this event on the first stone to be laid; the inscription states that the stone was laid by the Queen Mother. The company contracted to build the memorial was Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and the stonemasons were CWO Ltd.

The Memorial Gates were inaugurated on 6 November 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II with an inscription stating that this took place in the Golden Jubilee year of her reign.

Gallery

External links

  • Memorial Gates Trust (official website)
  • World War I campaigns (Memorial Gates Trust)
  • World War II campaigns (Memorial Gates Trust)
  • List of Trustees and Vice-Patrons (Memorial Gates Trust)
  • Report on the inauguration ceremony (Memorial Gates Trust)
  • Additional information on the Memorial Gates (aftermathww1.co.uk)
  • Memorial Gates entry (United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials)
  • Images showing the George Cross and Victoria Cross recipients: 2.
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