Sefton: Commemorating a heroic horse

Thirty years ago today, on 20 July 1982 at 10.40am, an IRA nail bomb exploded in London’s Hyde Park killing four soldiers and seven horses.

Sefton, a Household Cavalry horse en route to the Changing of the Guard ceremony, was wounded in the attack. Despite horrific injuries he survived and became a symbol of the indomitable spirit and courage of the regiment.

Treated at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Sefton attracted significant attention from the general public, who were touched by the horse’s heroism. Donations poured in and were used by the RVC to build the Sefton Equine Hospital.

Camilla Le May working on her statue of Sefton

In 2010 the RVC commissioned a new life-size statue of Sefton. The sculpture commemorates the extraordinary service given by animals in our nation’s armed forces. It also celebrates the RVC’s long history of educating veterinary surgeons who care for military animals.

Sculptor and artist Camilla Le May was asked to create this impressive bronze statue. She has documented the two-year intensive process on her blog. Her creation is set to be unveiled in spring 2013.

Posted in Blog

4 Comments

  1. Graham Bandy
    Posted 20 July 2012 at 11.46am | Permalink

    Also in memory of the seven members of the Band of the 1st bn The Royal Green Jackets killed on that day…31 yrs ago today..

    WO2 (BSM) Graham Barker, Sgt Robert Livingstone, Cpl John R McKnight and Bandsmen John Heritage, George J Mesure, Keith Powell and Laurence Smith. All others were wounded, some very seriously, and when the Band regrouped five weeks later just nine men were present, headed by Bandmaster David Little.

    Gone, but sadly almost forgotten

  2. Camilla
    Posted 20 July 2012 at 4.29pm | Permalink

    Graham,
    I was painfully aware when starting to sculpt Sefton that some might see it as disproportionate to remember a horse after all the men and bystanders killed and injured that day at Hyde Park and the Band stand. I also note that the band stand bomb hardly features in the press about what happened that awful day. I suspect in part because it was so shocking for our generation to see horses blown apart in central London when we had not seen animals suffer this way since they were last used in war and we as a country are such horse lovers. I was too young to remember and probably did not even hear about it as we had no TV and parents did not discuss news…I hope the Sefton bronze will serve as a memorial to all who were devastated by the bombs that day 30 years ago and who are still suffering their loss of loved ones. Camilla Le May http://www.camillalemay.com/blog

  3. bob mills
    Posted 2 October 2012 at 5.24am | Permalink

    sefton was one of the two reasons i joined up in the army in 1983. little did i realise my way would take me into the army horse world, of which i was very proud to be in.
    however i find it very saddening to be reminded of sefton now some 7 years after my leaving the armed forces by the sad ev ents of his rider sgt Mick Pederson. anyone in the armed forces who goes through something as he and sefton did, as did their mates at the time will carry scares inside. it would be wrong for us to judge such actions as are his now because most of us who have never lived through this type of horror will never understand it. dont judge, just remeber the two of them as they were.

  4. Pam Gotham
    Posted 2 October 2012 at 11.51am | Permalink

    Amen to that, Bob.

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