THE iconic installation commemorating soldiers who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, which captivated millions when it was displayed in Exeter, will open in Bristol this week in time for Armistice Day.
After hundreds of requests to extend the exhibition, organisers are bringing the breathtaking display to the grounds of Bristol Cathedral where it will be on show from 11 to the 18 November this year, marking the Centenary of one of the bloodiest battles in history and remembering all 127,751 British soldiers who lost their lives.
The display was created by Somerset Artist Rob Heard who wrapped and bound each figure in a hand-stitched shroud, crossing the name of every soldier who fell on that fateful first day off a list sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
“The Shrouds, along with the Poppies at the Tower are perhaps the most memorable WWI commemorations this country has ever seen,” said Mel Bradley MBE, Project Manager. “The public response to the shrouds from around the world has far exceeded all expectations.
“We have a visitors book from Exeter with hundreds and hundreds of personal and emotional remarks from people trying to express the impact the Shrouds has had on them.
“This is reflected on our Facebook page with thousands of comments and video clip views of more than 10 million. It had a huge impact on the City of Exeter and has the potential to be even bigger in Bristol. The personal and community impact cannot be underestimated.”
Commodore Jake Moores OBE, Chairman of the Shrouds of the Somme, added: “The exhibition was one of the most powerful Acts of Remembrance I have seen throughout my military career and subsequent time as President of the Royal British Legion for Devon.”
“The raw emotion it produced in countless numbers of people, many of whom were in tears, some kneeling and praying and others stood rigidly to attention, was extremely moving. Without doubt this exhibition touches the hearts of all those who are privileged to witness it.”
Donations from the exhibition, which will be opened on Armistice Day, will be donated to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, specifically to their Bristol branch supporting servicemen, veterans and their families in the Bristol area in times of need.