Tower of London to remember WWI dead with 880,000 ceramic poppies

One of Britain’s most historic landmarks is to transform into a giant artwork, with the moat at the Tower of London to be filled with more than 800,000 ceramic poppies in an installation by artist Paul Cummins and theatre designer Tom Piper.

It will take place on 5 August, to mark the centenary of the First World War. The hundreds of thousands of poppies, 888,246 in total, will represent the number of British and Colonial soldiers who died, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation will be on display until Armistice Day, 11 November, and is set to raise more than £15 million for military charities. The ceramic poppies will be sold for £25 each and the profits shared among Combat Stress, Coming Home, the Confederation of Service Charities, Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion and SSAFA [Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association].

General the Lord Dannatt, constable of the Tower of London, said: “The significance of the vital work that these charities provide is one we must not forget and is especially poignant as we mark the anniversary of the First World War and remember all those who lived and fought during this time.”

And Bryn Parry, co-founder of Help for Heroes, said: “The visual impact of a sea of poppies representing the dead will be extraordinarily moving and will remind us all of the terrible impact of war.” He added: “It is almost impossible to imagine each poppy as a young, enthusiastic young person, now dead. We must remember them.”

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