Appeal for family stories of those killed in the Somme

By Rosemary Collins, 14 November 2017 - 10:37am

The pictures and stories will be displayed online as part of the Shrouds of the Somme project to commemorate the end of the First World War


Shrouds of the Somme will go on display at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Credit: Shrouds of the Somme

Family members of soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme are being urged to share their pictures and lives to mark the end of the First World War commemorations next year.

Ahead of Remembrance Day this year, it was announced that the Shrouds of the Somme art installation will go on display at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the run-up to Armistice Day 2018.

To create the installation, Somerset artist Rob Heard made 72,396 hand-stitched shrouds, each wrapped around a 12-inch figure - one for each of the servicemen who were killed on the Somme but have no known grave.

Instead, they are named on the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world – The CWGC Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France.

To go alongside the installation, Shrouds of the Somme is inviting descendants and other relatives of the missing men to upload family pictures and descriptions of their lives online, creating a permanent digital archive.
 


Rob Heard with pictures of the missing of the Somme

Cdre Jake Moores OBE DL, Shrouds of the Somme project chair, said: “We are calling out to the nation.

"Asking them to send us photos and stories of these remarkable men - these fathers, husbands, brothers.

“Tell us who they were, where they were from, what they did – make them real, give them dignity.

“Bringing the individual to the forefront of these unimaginable numbers will help the nation to truly understand the scale of the loss of those who gave their all.”

The Shrouds of the Somme project to commemorate those missing in the battle follows on from Rob Heard’s 2016 Shrouds of the Somme project, in which he marked the 100th anniversary of the battle by stitching 19,240 shrouds to commemorate those killed on the first day.

The Battle of the Somme took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in France.

It was one of the bloodiest in human history, with more than one million men on all sides wounded or killed.

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