6th October 2014 • Published by

“The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”

We felt very pleased and excited to have the opportunity to see the poppy display at the tower of London last weekend.

Fortunately the sun was shining and the impact on first seeing the sea of poppies sparkling in the sunlight was breathtaking.

The title of the installation perfectly describes the sight that meets the eye as you approach the Tower where the poppies are displayed in wave like undulating shapes around the magnificent stone walls.

There will be 888,246 poppies displayed when the installation is complete in November, one for each British or Colonial military fatality during W.W.1

On the day that we attended, the volunteers were hard at work assembling the individual flowers by adding stems of wire and fastening these in place with a black plastic cap. When five were completed they planted them in their designated place. There were about fifty volunteers of all ages and the atmosphere was friendly although the task was arduous.

We spent some time reflecting on the sheer number of lives lost and the irrevocable damage that the loss of so many lives caused to families all over the world.

The Ceramic artist, Paul Cummins, who designed the poppies was inspired by a line in the will of a Derbyshire man who joined up in the earliest days of the war and died in Flanders. Knowing that everyone was dead and he was surrounded by blood, the man wrote, “The Blood Swept lands and seas of red where angels fear to tread.”

The Installation is at the Tower of London until Remembrance Day on 11th November and is well worth seeing. After then each poppy will be uprooted, packed and sent off to those individuals who have purchased them from the website (, with a proportion of the proceeds going to six service charities.

Patricia & Howard Satchell

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