WW1 – World War One Centenary London

2014 is the year of the start of the World War One centenary celebrations led by the Imperial War Museum. Over the next four years countries, communities and people will be coming together to remember and celebrate the lives of the people who fought in the Great War and its impact then and now. London has led the celebrations with the glorious ceramic poppy memorial at Tower Bridge.

The beautiful and poignant sea of ceramic poppies that currently adorn Tower Bridge have already attracted over four million visitors. This weekend is the last opportunity people will have to see the display; this has caused a surge of visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the poppies before they begin to remove them on the 12th November. On Armistice day on November 11th the 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower Bridge will be a poignant reminder of each of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who died in world war one. The penultimate weekend of the art installation has brought London to a standstill, organisers have asked people to cancel their visit to London because of overcrowding.

Queues of people stretching from the tower bridge to as far as the eye can see remind us that the Great War of 1914-18 is something still very close to our hearts, and we give great thanks to the men and women who lost their lives to ensure we as a country and a nation had a secure future.

Ceramic Poppies

Along with celebrations in London and around the UK, there are also a number of TV programmes telling the stories of World War One. On the day of the Centenary 11th November on BBC 1, Jeremy Paxman will be telling the story of the famous war poet Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen was a solider that battled in the fields of France and sadly lost his life in the conflict. Before he died he wrote many honest and poignant poems about the brutality of war, his writings are powerful and sobering and bring home the realities of war. His poem ‘Anthem for the Doomed Youth’ is a dark poem about death on the battlefield.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Also in London this week are a number of exhibitions, one you could call a light in the darkness. At Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road Blackheath, SE3 9RQ, is the Tom Butler Art Exhibition: Chateau d’Oigny Landscapes. During the Great War there were a number of battles that took place along the Chemin des Dames and nearby are where the Armistice was signed in 1918. Tom Butler over a number of years has painted a series of beautiful landscapes of the area that show the beauty of this once bloody battlefield and are a symbol of the progression we have made since the war.

Poetry has proven to be one of the most popular forms of remembrance during Armistice week. At the Southbank centre there is an exhibition titled An Unknown Soldier: An Exhibition by Henningham Family Press. The exhibition is a response to the legacy of World War One using printed poem’s that were written in reaction to remembrance and World War One propaganda. It also uses DNA technology to identify war casualties from the Saliva on the postage stamps on the letters they wrote to home, giving an identity to the once unknown soldiers.

Armistice week is already proving to be an extremely poignant event in London; the whole country is coming together remember the courageous men and women of the Great War. This centenary is also coming at a time when a new and completely different war is waging, the war against terrorism. As we look back this week in remembrance we will also be looking forward in uncertainty of what the future holds. Technologies have advance and so have the methods of war, but the realities are still the same. The reality is the death and suffering of innocent people.

Written By Exclusive Company London Escorts