On Saturday 10th November 2018, we visited this site in east London as part of our own personal remembrance weekend.
Nothing can prepare you for the sight of 72,396 shroud covered figures laid out in rows of 198 and covering an area the size of one and a half football fields. The figures are not all identical as the movable joints had allowed Rob Heard the Artist, to arrange them in different poses before covering them in calico fabric.
The 72,396 Shrouds represents each name at the Thiepval Memorial in France on which is inscribed all of the names of the missing British and South African Forces who died in the Somme Sector. The majority died during the Somme Offensive of 1916 and all have no known grave.
The experience of walking around this Remembrance event was profoundly moving. In a separate area, there is a Field of Remembrance with British Legion crosses, each one marks a day in the Great War and commemorates one single casualty of that particular day.
There is also a continuous broadcast of the names being read out by volunteers. It is a sombre and poignant Roll Call.
Before leaving the exhibition, there is an area which displays a complete listing by name and regiment for every single one of the casualties commemorated by Shrouds of the Somme, making it possible for visitors to find and photograph the name(s) of any ancestors who died on the Somme.
This exhibition runs from 10am to 7pm daily until next Sunday, 18th November. If at all possible, it is something that everyone should try to see for themselves.
Rob Heard – Artist