Five fallen Great War soldiers from Cornwall and Devon to be commemorated with beach portraits for Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission
Five men from Cornwall and Devon who lost their lives in the First World War will be commemorated by a large-scale sand portrait for Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea.
The Eden Project, with support from The Lost Gardens of Heligan, will be leading commemorative events at Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, East Looe Beach, Perranporth Beach and Saunton Sands in Devon to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Great War. There will also be events at Porthcurno Beach near Land’s End.
On Sunday November 11, the public is invited to assemble at one of 32 beaches around the UK at low-tide for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during WW1.
Large-scale portraits of five casualties of the war from Cornwall and Devon will be drawn into the sand on the five beaches by sand artists Sand In Your Eye. As the tide comes in the portraits will be washed away and everyone can take a moment to say a collective goodbye.
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 casualty:
• Porthmeor, Cornwall
Captain Edward 'Teddy' Hain (15 August 1887 – 11 November 1915)
Edward Hain was the son and heir of Lady Catherine and Sir Edward Hain, a prosperous Cornish shipping and land owner. Edward was born in St Ives, living in Treloyhan Manor (now a hotel) overlooking Carbis Bay.
He was head of his house at Winchester College, Hampshire, and went up to New College, Oxford, in 1906. In 1912, while working for his father, Edward joined the Cornish Squadron of the 1st Devon Yeomanry and the next year married Judith Wogan-Browne of Naas, Kildare. At the outbreak of war, he rejoined his regiment and was promoted to captain a fortnight later.
• East Looe, Cornwall
Captain Kenneth Walton Grigson (29 June 1895 – 20 July 1918)
Much of what we know about Kenneth Walton Grigson comes from his youngest brother, Geoffrey, who became a poet in the period between the First and Second World Wars.
Kenneth was born in Pelynt, Cornwall, to Mary and Reverend Canon William Grigson. As a second son with six brothers, he would have been expected to join the priesthood himself, until the outbreak of war intervened. Kenneth became a sergeant in the 7th Company, Reserve Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, later gaining the rank of captain.
• Perranporth, Cornwall
Archie Jewell (04 December 1888 – 17 April 1917)
Archibald 'Archie' Jewell survived the sinking of the Titanic, only to perish in the sinking of a hospital ship in 1917. He was born at 34 King Street, Bude, Cornwall, the son of John – also a sailor - and Elizabeth Jewell, the youngest brother of Clara, John Henry, Ernest W., Albert Richard, Elizabeth and Orlando.
His mother died in childbirth on 9 April 1891. He first went to sea aged around 15 and married Bessie Heard, also a Bude native, living with her in Southampton, Hampshire. He signed on with the Titanic in 1912 as a lookout and was in his berth when the liner struck an iceberg and was one of the first people to evacuate the ship in lifeboats.
• Saunton Sands, Devon
Captain Ralph George Griffiths Cumine-Robson (13 August 1888 – 23 December 1914)
Ralph Cumine-Robson was born in Chinsura, Bengal, India, to Ellen Frances Cumine and Samuel Robson, principal of the Prince of Wales College, Jammu (they later retired to Bradiford House, Barnstaple, Devon). Ralph was educated at Eton, where he excelled at the public school's wall game, enjoying a reputation for fearlessness that carried on into his military career.
After Eton, Ralph joined the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before in 1908 gaining a commission in the Royal Engineers and returning to India. At the outbreak of war, he volunteered for active service, joining the 3rd Company, 1st King George's Own Sappers and Miners, attached to the Meerut Division, Indian Expeditionary Force, which quickly sailed from Bombay.
• Porthcurno, Cornwall
Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle (1888 – 02 November 14)
Richard Charles Graves-Sawle was the only son of Lady Constance Mary and Rear Admiral Sir Charles John Graves-Sawle, a baronet, so Richard was heir to the family estate. Richard was born in Kensington, London then raised in Penrice House (now a care home) in Porthpean, St Austell, Cornwall.
Richard trained at Sandhurst and in 1908 enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards. On 6 August 1914, he married Muriel Heaton-Ellis, but six days later left for France. His diary from that year gives an insight into the hardships faced by soldiers on the western front.
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 a just 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 www.pagesofthesea.org.uk.
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. www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org
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 November 11 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 November 11. The work is the culmination of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
Peter Stewart, Executive Director of the Eden Project, said: “We are honoured to be part of Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea commemoration. The Eden Project is all about bringing people and communities together and there cannot be a more poignant day for the country to come together than Sunday November 11, the centenary of Armistice Day.
“We hope that as many people as possible can gather on the beaches of the South West and across the UK to mark this very special day in a way that none of us will ever forget.”
Pages of the Sea is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, and is the culmination of the five-year programme of arts commissions marking the First World War centenary. It is delivered with partner organisations across the UK: National Trust; Activate Performing Arts; Creative Foundation; Eden Project; National Theatre Scotland; Nerve Centre; Sunderland Culture; Taliesin.
The work is in association with Aberystwyth Arts Centre; The Grand Theatre of Lemmings; Magna Vitae; MOSTYN; SeaChange Arts; Swansea Council; Swansea University; Theatre Orchard; and Visit Blackpool. Each has been invited to create their own event centering around the sand art on the beach and reading of the poem, tailored to reflect the sacrifices of their local community.
Supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.
The public can see which beaches are taking part by visiting www.pagesofthesea.org.uk