Shrouds of the Somme, a powerful emotive art project depicting the massive loss of life at the Battle of the Somme was launched yesterday in London at the Honourable Artillery Company.
A total of 72,396 shrouded figures will be displayed in London in November 2018. Each figure represents a British serviceman* who died at the Battle of the Somme but whose body was never recovered. Every 12 inch figure is bound by one artist Rob Heard, into a hand-stitched calico shroud and made to a name identified by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Rob will spend a total of 15,000 hours to achieve this staggering feat. He must work for 15 hours every day to get the memorial done in time for the centenary of Armistice Day.
It is highly likely that we all have an ancestor who died at the Somme, it was the largest and most devastating battle of the First World War; over a million men were killed or seriously wounded. The exhibition helps to keep those lives lost in the minds of those living today.
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Mr Kenneth Olisa OBE says:
“Shrouds of the Somme is a very imaginative and special piece of commemorative art. We are delighted and honoured that this installation is coming to London to mark the Centenary of the end of the Great War. The Shrouds will be of huge significance, allowing everyone to fully understand for the first time the true scale of loss and sacrifice suffered by our country. ”
Colonel John Clark MBE, Military Assistant to the Prime Minister said:
“The exhibition will be an extraordinary work of art and a poignant memorial to British lives lost during the Battle of the Somme, it is right that we remember all those who bravely sacrificed their lives to defend our country.”
* This also includes 829 South African soldiers