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Photographed May 2002
The memorial to the Cavalry of the Empire in Hyde Park, a gloriousvwarrior in armor astride a horse about to rear over a dragon.
Just across from Hyde Park is Jagger's Royal Artillery memorial, the architect's best-known work, created for the Royal Artillery's memorial committee. On the four sides of this immense work warriors are positioned, only one of them a casualty; the others are armed and at attention. The memorial merits attention because of its fidelity to the material conditions of soldering: on the bare branches visible over dead man's head one sees a spoon and and a tea kettle. Beneath the fallen man, anonymous and hidden by his coat, Jagger put the words, "Here was a royal fellowship," not a "noble" fellowship, but a "royal" one: it must recall King Arthur. Both these memorials are celebrated and conspicuous works. Chivalry is as important to Jagger's work as to Doe's. The cavalry memorial is utterly triumphant; Sargeant's memorial uncommonly, finely balanced.
The memorial dedicated to the dead men of Limehouse, an east London borough, takes a different view. In the yard of St. Anne's of the East Church stands a memorial to the 158 men of Limehouse who died in the war. The memorial was designed by Arthur Walker and was dedicated in 1921. Christ, head bowed but hand raised in blessing, overlooks a bronze relief and, below it and covering three sides of the monument, a long list of the dead.
The bronze relief, which also appears in a memorial in Shrewsbury, shows three soldiers in the moments after a shell has struck their dugout, itself clearly visible below a horizon of devastated trees. One soldier has survived and sits, dazed, holding himself up; behind him are two dead comrades, one lying face down, the other face up. This is how the people of Limehouse remembered the last moments of their dead and the experience of those who came back from the war--as a desolate, deadly struggle, without a trace of hope.
But the inscription (you can see the opening word above) insists otherwise: "To the Greater Glory of God. And In Grateful Memory of the Men of Limehouse who Fell in The Great War, 1914-1918. Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That He Lay Down His Life for His Friends."There is no chivalry in the Limehouse memorial, not a trace of the triumphalism found in the large works on display in the parks, and no work for the Middle Ages to do.