Shrouds of the Somme is a poignant art installation created by Rob Heard. He is hand stitching 72396 calico figures representing the Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme in World War One, for which there is no known grave. These are the names engraved on the Thiepval Memorial in France.
During 2018 the display is travelling around Britain with displays in Exeter, Belfast, and will culminate in an exhibition in November at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London to mark the end of the First World War.
Recently Salisbury Cathedral hosted a beautiful display of 1561 shrouds in the sacred garth of the ancient cloister. Each of the shrouds represented one day of the First World War. They stretched across the garth in the morning sunlight and looked so poignant. My eyes were drawn to the list of the days in that four year long war. 18744 men killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. But of course there were others. What was happening on 31st May 1916 when 5865 men lost their life, or on the 25 September 1915 when 10,282 men died in a single day?
The exhibition in London during November will be extraordinary and a fitting way to commemorate the final year of World War One.