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Visiting Lower Grosvenor Gardens, London: A Statue of Marshal Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies, WW1

Updated on April 15, 2019
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Statue of Ferdinand Foch, Grosvenor Gardens, London
Statue of Ferdinand Foch, Grosvenor Gardens, London | Source

Symbolizing Allied cooperation and victory in World War One

Dating from 1930, the statue of French Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) stands in Lower Grosvenor Gardens, London, close to Victoria Station. The work of sculptor Georges Malissard, it is executed in bronze and has a height of 3.2 metres.

The statue rests on a plinth made of Portland stone by Paul Lebret, which has a height of 3.8 metres.

Interestingly, the sculptor based his work on his existing statue of Marshal Foch which had already been sculpted for display at Cassel, France.

The location of the statue at Lower Grosvenor Gardens — thus, close to Victoria Station — was not without significance. In days before significant air travel, Victoria Station was the main arrival point in London of visitors from France who travelled there via cross-channel shipping. This was recorded as a particular desire of Sculptor Malissard himself, of French nationality, who was thus desirous of his fellow citizens to have the opportunity to see his work honouring a great recent historical figure on their arrival in London; and while plans had originally been made for the statue to rest in another part of Grosvenor Gardens, the sculptor's wishes were thus accommodated.

The statue shows Marshal Foch mounted, wearing the uniform to which he was entitled; it was unveiled by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII and Duke of Windsor (1894-1972). An inscription reads the words of Marshal Foch himself: 'I am conscious of having served England as I served my own country' (1).

I have linked, below, a hubpage on the statue of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Grosvenor Square, London, who, as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe in the approach to and beyond the Normandy Landings, occupied a military position in World War Two, which Marshal Foch, as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe , occupied towards the end of World War One.

Interestingly also, it was Marshal Foch who accepted the surrender of the German High Command in Compiègne, France, in November, 1918, just as it was General Eisenhower who accepted the surrender of General Jodl, representing Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler's designated successor, Grand Admiral Doenitz, in Rheims, in May, 1945.

I have also linked, below, a hubpage about Mont Cassel, France, which was where Marshal Foch had his military headquarters earlier in World War One.

April 16, 2019

Note

(1) In spite of the spirit of this quotation from the great French military leader, voices were raised in artistic circles in Great Britain in criticism of the nationality of the sculptor. (The phrase 'sour grapes' comes to mind...) Since, in fact, a pivotal military collaboration for the victorious Allies in World War One had also come through military cooperation with American forces from 1917 onwards, I have supplied a photo (see below) of Marshal Foch with American General John J. Pershing.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

General Pershing and Marshall Foch's final handshake, Brest, France, 1919 Photoprint copyrighted by W.L.Mann
General Pershing and Marshall Foch's final handshake, Brest, France, 1919 Photoprint copyrighted by W.L.Mann | Source

Also worth seeing

London has such huge numbers of visitor attractions that I will refer to only a small fraction of the principal ones; these include: Trafalgar Square; the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey; St. Paul's Cathedral; the Royal Albert Hall; and many others.

...

How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. Lower Grosvenor Gardens, SW1 is close to London Victoria Railroad and Victoria Underground Stations. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Map location of London, England
Map location of London, England | Source

Comments

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    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR

      MJFenn 

      21 months ago

      Liz Westwood: Life is often so rushed; but, if we stop and consider some of the sights we maybe see regularly, these can be very instructive, especially in their historical context. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      21 months ago from UK

      I am enjoying your articles on some of the London statues as, so often I pass by without giving much thought to the history behind them.

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