Friday, November 09, 2018
The Shrouds of the Somme installation opened to the public in the Olympic Park yesterday morning.
All 72,396 wrapped figures are now laid out in rows across the South Lawn.
They represent all the British and Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Battle of the Somme but have no known grave.
Admission is free, but plenty of bucket-carrying stewards are available to take charitable donations.
Visitors are invited to walk around the perimeter, which includes an observation deck at one end.
Coachloads of schoolchildren are amongst those arriving to take a look.
Some of the figures are already damp and muddy, which only adds to the overall effect.
The artist, Rob Heard, was present and receiving plaudits from an appreciative audience.
A separate section, Lost Lives, includes one wrapped figure for each day of WW1 along with a daily casualty total.
For example, 14 soldiers were killed on the first day of the war in 1914, and 861 on the last day in 1918.
The total is almost more shocking when visualised this way, as relentless slaughter over such a long period of time.
The final tent includes a shop where figures can be purchased for delivery next year, as well as an individual roll call.
Shrouds of the Somme continues until Sunday 18th November. [8 photos]