Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Blood swept lands and seas of red
I was working along the South Bank today, but close enough to the Tower of London to cross Tower Bridge to take a look at the newly opened World War I Commemoration in the moat outside the Tower.
It is an installation with around 190,000 ceramic poppies so far and many more are being added between now and November 11, to reach the total such that there is one poppy for every British and Commonwealth soldier killed in the First World War.
Its already a sea of red, and yet it's probably only about one quarter complete at this time.
Coincidentally, I'd recently found some of the family history of my namesake relative from World War I. He was already in the Army when war was declared and had reached the rank of Lance Corporal.
As part of the British Expeditionary Forces he set sail for Le Havre on 14 August (ten days after Britain's entry to the war) and his 1st Battalion made their way along the Marne to Aisne. That's where one of the earliest bitter trench warfare battles took place at Chemin des Dames. It appeared as quiet fields on this year's Tour de France.
Not so quiet when he was killed there aged 19 in the 6th week of the war.
One of the Missing, his name is on a memorial around 200km to the north of the battlefield, in Ypres, Belgium.