Yesterday we went to the Tower of London, not to see the Tower itself, but to see the installation commemorating the centenary of World War 1 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies will progressively fill the Tower's famous moat.
I feel a deep personal connection to the First World War. Not only did both my grandfathers serve in the British Army (and survive, so that I knew them both well) but my maternal grandfather's family had lived in Belgium for many years and my great grandmother came over with my Aunty Bessie ( my mothers cousin) as refugees at the beginning of the war and lived with my grandparents. My mother remembered hiding under the kitchen table from the Zeppelin attacks, and Aunt Rose told be the story of her escape from Belgium at the beginning of the war ( see previous post). For me the First World War is not just something to read about in history books but also a collection of family stories
By the end of November the moat will be full of poppies, one for each of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth forces who died. Every evening at sunset the last post will be sounded and a roll will be called of some of the fallen. You can nominate a friend or relative's name to be read out on a certain evening here.
The roll of Honour is read out by one of the Yeoman Warders of the Tower (AKA Beefeaters) and we were lucky to see this one walking through the poppies to check that the set up for the evening was all OK
I very much hope to visit again in November when all the poppies are in place which will be a truly awesome sight both in terms of the visual impact and what it represents.