A stark reminder of lives lost in World War 1

IMG_9278I’m in London for a couple of days, on route to Switzerland. I got up before sunrise today to see the thousands of poppies surrounding the Tower of London to commemorate 100 years since World War 1 began.

IMG_9284What seemed like an infinite number of poppies, already fills the tower’s moat.

IMG_9268But what I didn’t realise, until I saw a forklift unloading pallets from a truck, is that the installation is still in progress with approximately another 250,000 poppies to be installed. They were unloading the quota of poppies for the volunteers to plant today, as if there weren’t enough already. When complete there will be 888,246 unique, handmade poppies – one flower for each soldier from Britain and the colonies who died in the war.

IMG_9288

The first of these flowers was planted on August 5, the first full day of fighting in the war. The last one will be planted on November 11, Armistice Day, when the guns fell silent. After November 11 the installation will be dismantled and the poppies sold with the proceeds going to charity.

IMG_9271

The name of the installation comes from a poem, written by an anonymous World War 1 soldier: ‘The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.’

4 thoughts on “A stark reminder of lives lost in World War 1

  1. Hi Jane. I’ve been following your blog since u started and think it’s fabulous and will follow up on your recommendations once my last child finishes his school exams and is off to uni. HOWEVER although I haven’t commented before i just have to let u know how special this blog re WW1 is and what a visceral response I had to see that sea of red hand made and placed at such an historic site. So many lives lost that they need heavy machinery on a daily basis to bring the fragile poppies in. This particular post which you describe beautifully makes a profound impact.

Hi I love to receive your emails and feedback. Jane