Each year there is an Annual Observance, (usually 2nd Saturday in May)
held at the Boy David Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London where
Members and friends gather to remember the brave men
of the MGC during a solemn but moving service.
The Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association is lucky to have
as it's Honorary Chaplain, Colonel the Reverend John Barrie (Rtd),
formerly Chaplain to the Household Division, Senior Chaplain,
London District, now Vicar of St. Mark's Church, Hamilton Terrace
who presides over the Observance each year. We usually have
a band to accompany the hymn singing.
The RBL Horley Band has played beuatifully for us in recent years.
A wreath is laid on behalf of the OCA by our President, Lt Col
Kevin Cranston, Army Air Corps (Rtd) followed by members who lay wreaths for their relatives.
After the Observance, everyone moves on to the Annual Luncheon. (For
more information about this, see the Events page).
On the day of our Annual Grantham Lecture & Lunch, a small service of Remembrance
is held at 10.30am at the Lion Lodge Gates, Belton Park
where most men of the MGC trained.
A few local people invariably join in and
all are very welcome to do so. Occasionally we hold a service at St Wulfram's Church, as was the case in October 2008 to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of th Armistice and to dedicate a MGC kneeler for the Church.
In November, the Old Comrades' Association has a plot
at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey (held on the
Thursday morning prior to Remembrance Sunday) when we gather
to remember our men by planting poppy crosses for them.
On Remembrance Sunday, we hold only a small wreath laying
service at the Boy David Memorial since the Royal Artillery
has it's monument at Hyde Park Corner and holds a large service.
We listen to their music, observe the Two Minute Silence and
then lay our wreaths. It is usually only a small gathering,
but it is a loyal one.
Please note that if you are visiting London and wish to
participate in any of our Services of Remembrance, including
the Annual Observance, you will be most welcome. Arrival
should be by 10.45 AM at the Boy David Memorial to ensure
your being on time (earlier if you wish to be introduced to members and guests). If there is room available, and on payment
of the non members fee, you will also be welcome to attend the
Annual Luncheon. For details please contact the Honorary
Due to the large size of the memorial, it is not possible to
show the actual wording on it clearly. However, for those people
who may never be able to visit the memorial itself, the
commemoration on the panel
'Saul has slain his thousands; But David his tens of thousands'
This inscription caused controversey at the time of it's unveiling, with questions raised in the House.
It was deemed to be an attempt to glorify war, which is how many interpret this today. Whether it does or does not,
the inscription is now a matter of history and we would never attempt to have it changed.
The Boy David is on the north side of Hyde Park Corner, in the sunniest, quietest spot on this very
noisy traffic junction. English Heritage have been doing a lot of work on the island, Wellington Arch
now has a small museum, the fee includes the opportunity to see the views of London from the top of the Arch, which are magnificent.
A new Australian Memorial has been built on the south side and a New Zealand monument was built in 2006 next to the Boy David.
Apparently there are vague plans to move the Boy David so that the memorial can be more easily viewed from all sides.
Though it is near the wall, the OCA would not wish such a move to happen.
The memorial is important and though small in size compared to the
Royal Artillery monument (which is considered one of the most beautiful war memorials in existence)
we would not wish
to have it's location changed and consequently downgraded in any way.
The Boy David Memorial commemorates more men than serve in the current British Army.
You may be interested to know that the Vickers guns on each side of the Boy David (which each have a laurel wreath laid over them)
are actual bronzed Vickers Guns.