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Pages of the Sea


Driver Stephen Hewitt, who lost his life in the First World War, will be commemorated by a large-scale sand portrait on Brancaster beach for Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea.

On Sunday 11 November, the public is invited to assemble at one of thirty-two beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland at low-tide for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

A large-scale portrait of Stephen Hewitt designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, will be drawn into the sand on the beach and washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Each of the beaches taking part in the project will commemorate a different WW1 casualty.

Another Pages of the Sea event is taking place at Gorleston on Sunday, November 11 - silhouettes on the sand.

Victoria Egan, the National Trust’s General Manager for the Norfolk Coast, said:
“As we mark Armistice Day this year, the centenary of the end of the First World War will very much be at the forefront of our minds. As we come together as a nation and a local community, we wanted to remember and honour those that sacrificed their lives.

“Driver Stephen Hewitt was born in Norfolk, served with the Royal Field Artillery and died of his wounds in 1916, aged 38. He was buried in Greece, never to return to Norfolk’s shores. Many of us have ancestors that we will want to remember and if Brancaster Beach can act as a space for people to come together on 11 November, we hope the waves lapping along the shoreline as the sun goes down, will add a sense of peace on such a poignant day.”

Brancaster Beach (c) National Trust Images-Justin Minns

The portraits commemorate men and women who served or who were casualties of the First World War, most of whom died in active service. They were chosen by Danny Boyle to represent a range of interesting stories – ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants and Majors. A number were also notable war poets who translated the experience of war to those back at home. Many are from the regions or communities they will be featured in, others are from towns and cities not featured, or from international communities to show the scale of loss. These individuals are just a small selection of the millions who gave their lives to the war.

The public is invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to thank and say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11 November at The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ which aims to tell 8 million stories of those who served from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add their own portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches on 11 November. The Wound in Time will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches on 11 November and is also available online. A series of community-led events will also be taking place at each beach. People who can’t make it on the day will be able to watch the activities and portraits from most of the beaches on social media on Sunday 11 November. The work is the culmination of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Pages of the Sea