Massive ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London commemorates First World War deaths


This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday and around the world people will gather at churches, cenotaphs and other suitable sites to remember the end of the First World War and the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands who died.

This year also marks the centenary of what is called the Great War and in the United Kingdom a novel commemoration can be seen at the Tower of London.

Since May “planting” work has been underway to put 888 246 ceramic poppies into the moat to commemorate British and commonwealth fatalities during the First World War. The number of poppies planted is one for each death recorded.

The moat surrounding the Tower of London has long stood empty but now, with what may look like blood gushing from its walls it is a truly different and stirring sight.

Artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper are the creative force behind the idea, part of Historic Royal Palaces’ programme to mark the centenary.
“This will be an impressive and eye-catching work that will, I hope, really bring home to everyone the sheer scale of the sacrifice our servicemen and women made across those dark years in our history. There will be many events and programmes across the centenary and this seems set to be one of the most memorable,” said First World War Centenary Minister, Helen Grant.

Michael Day, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said of the tribute with a difference: “The First World War was a pivotal moment in our history, claiming the lives of over 16 million people across the globe; its consequences have shaped our modern society. It is important for us to ensure those who lived, fought and served during this time are remembered and we hope the Tower of London’s involvement during this centenary anniversary will serve as a fitting marker to those who lost their lives, whilst encouraging others to reflect on our past”.

The poppies will remain at the Tower of London until Tuesday (November 11) at 11h00. They will then be sold individually to raise funds for six armed forces charities.