‘Boy David’ memorial

In the island at Hyde Park Corner amidst the constant swirl of traffic, stands a nude statue of David (Fig. 6). Having despatched Goliath with a sling shot, he leans nonchalantly on the giant’s sword. This bronze was fashioned in 1925 by Francis Derwent Wood (1871-1926) who had enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1915. Its grace and beauty are deceptive and it is a visual shock to realize that the youth is flanked below by two heavy Vickers machine guns. The statue commemorates the 13,000 members of the Machine Gun Corps6 who died in the First World War: its central inscription, chillingly appropriate, is taken from the Bible and reads ‘Saul hath slain in his thousands but David his tens of thousands.

Fig. 6 – Machine Gun Corps memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London.

  1. The Machine Gun Corps existed from 1915 until 1922. []