Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Shrouds of the Somme project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$33,700
pledged of $194,545 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Shrouds of the Somme
$33,700
pledged of $194,545 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Shrouds of the Somme

If you've got this far, we're pretty sure you know what an incredible project this is.  To ensure it's success though, we do need funding.  

Please don't leave it to others, support us now. You can pledge anything from £10 to remember one of the Fallen up to £8,000. You can have your name added to our supporters list or remain anonymous. 

This is an all or nothing campaign. If we don't reach our target we don't get a penny - so please do back this project and encourage others to do the same. 

Shrouds of the Somme story

Shrouds laid out in Bristol
Shrouds laid out in Bristol

To mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, artist Rob Heard will stitch 72,396 shrouded figures to physically represent each of the British servicemen (+ 829 South African infantrymen) killed at the Battle of the Somme, whose bodies were never recovered from the battlefield.

Planned for London in November 2018, the display is set to rival the Poppies at the Tower in impact and recognition of those who gave their lives. The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, over a million men were killed or seriously wounded. It is hard to comprehend the scale of this individual and collective sacrifice. 

Rob's aim in creating this installation is to give a better understanding of the scale of the losses; what those vast numbers mean, and to individually honour each man who gave his life, but who to this day has no known grave. He wants in a small way to 'bring the boys home'.

Each body to a name

During the creation process Rob refers to a list of names of the British servicemen (and 829 South African infantrymen) whose bodies were never recovered and who are listed on the Thiepval Memorial in France, with data sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Each figure he creates is associated with a name; each soldier individually acknowledged and remembered.

Rob cuts and hand-stitches their calico shrouds, then covers and binds the figures in the shrouds in a ritual of creation, remembrance and personal introspection. The figures have been specially made so that they are flexible enough to move into an individual shape as they are bound. Rob allows each one to take on their own form, twisting and bending into their own unique shape.

The sight of the shrouded figures laid out in rows presents a powerfully moving experience, provoking reflection on the physical reality of the war and remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Rob has already created 19,240 shrouds which were exhibited in Bristol and Exeter in 2016. The public impact was enormous with over 145,000 people visiting the shrouds, trying to comprehend the scale of the loss on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Now Rob needs to make around 60,000 more shrouds to represent each of the 72,396 British servicemen whose bodies were never recovered from the Somme.  This involves hand-stitching 15 hours a day for another 18 months to enable the shrouds to go on display in London in November 2018 to mark the Centenary of Armistice Day.  It will be like nothing else, a quarter of a kilometer of bodies laid out in rows, where they will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, reminding us of those who never returned home.

The difference this will make

One Hundred years since the end of the First World War is a major international landmark. There is a danger that the unspeakable bravery of those that died for our freedom in WW1 will never be remembered again in such a way. This incredible project, alongside others that will mark the centenary, means that we can tell our children why we must never forget. This project allows them to properly understand what these unimaginably large numbers of men who died really looks like.

Shrouds of the Somme remembers those that died at the Battle of the Somme, but it's meaning is wider than that.  It is about making enormous numbers personal and intimate, so that we can relate back to events happening today. By understanding our past, we have a better chance of forging a stronger future.

Shrouds of the Somme also helps to connect families together, many people do not know if their distant relative fought in the Battle of the Somme, or if they were one of the 72,396 whose bodies were not recovered from the battlefields.

It is possible that your relatives could have been involved in the Battle of the Somme. If you would like to search for relatives or someone special from the 72,396 Fallen of the Somme, you can find their records here: http://shroudsofthesomme.com/database/ 

Shrouds of the Somme is a member of the Centenary Partnership.

Serjeant Duncan Currie. “In addition to being a good soldier he had a most lovable nature; his death has been a heavy blow to the Battalion, for he was universally popular.”
Serjeant Duncan Currie. “In addition to being a good soldier he had a most lovable nature; his death has been a heavy blow to the Battalion, for he was universally popular.”

Memory and loss

Read our blog about why it is important to remember our distant relatives here: http://shroudsofthesomme.com/news/memory-loss-important-remember-distant-relatives/

We must never forget
We must never forget

Costs

The minimum we need to raise is £150k. This pays for basic materials, some money for Rob’s time and some project costs.

Once the project is funded and the exhibition takes place we will then be raising money for SSAFA the Armed Forces charity who have supported servicemen, veterans and their families in times of need for over 100 years. At the exhibitions in Bristol and Exeter we raised over £52,000 for SSAFA and Exeter Foundation.

Your contribution is vital and this project cannot take place without you. Help make this vision a reality and be part of an extraordinary and internationally important piece of remembrance. 

Thank you. 

Risks and challenges

It is an extraordinary feat that Rob is taking on single-handedly. Part of the importance in the challenge is that one person (Rob) hand-stitches each and every shroud, with no help. It is also relevant that the project currently has no other financial support, because by crowdfunding we collectively become part of the project, across borders and social divides. Once this money is raised, many of the other challenges with putting on this exhibition in London will more easily fall into place, the venue and location in central London (currently on hold) can be confirmed and the additional investment needed to pay for items such as venue hire, security etc. can be made. (Pls see breakdown of costs above).

Rob has the track record to show that he is more than capable of achieving this significant challenge. In 2016, Rob exhibited 19,240 shrouds in Exeter and Bristol representing every British soldier who died on the first day of battle. The installation was breathtaking and the public impact was enormous. There were 145,000 visitors over the two weeks it was on display in Exeter (July) and Bristol (November). It was top of the BBC news nationally on Armistice Day and British Forces Broadcasting reported their highest levels of engagement ever. We had 13million+ views of one film clip on Facebook.

Kickstarter supporters can be confident that their money will be well invested into helping to make an awe-inspiring and ground-breaking art remembrance installation a reality.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Remember one of the Fallen

    Remember one of the Fallen and have your name added to the online Shrouds of the Somme supporters list, or remain anonymous.

    You can add a message or a specific soldier's name to the comments section at the next stage.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    44 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $32

    Become part of the Shrouds installation

    Have your name etched on our Supporters Board which will form part of the shrouds installation along with the names of the Fallen.

    You will also be added to the online supporters list.

    You can add a message or a specific soldier's name to the comments section at the next stage.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    32 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    Commemorative Photo Book

    You will receive a special commemorative photo book of the exhibition, with previously unseen photos, stories and personal accounts, signed by artist Rob Heard. (A £50 pledge is either a book or an unframed shroud).

    You will also have your name etched onto the Supporters Board forming part of the exhibition and be included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    24 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    Individually named shroud - unframed

    You will receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted on a board representing one of the Fallen of the Somme. It will come with a certificate of authenticity including the name and regiment of the soldier represented by the shroud. (A £50 pledge is either an unframed shroud or commemorative book).

    Please be aware that the shrouds will have been out in the open for some time and will not be in pristine condition.

    You will also have your name etched on the Supporters Board forming part of the installation and be included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    41 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $130

    Individually named shroud - framed

    You will receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted in a hand-made wooden frame representing one of the Fallen of the Somme. A certificate of authenticity including the name and regiment of the soldier will be framed with the shroud.

    If there is a specific soldier you would like to choose, please see the list of the Fallen at www.shroudsofthesomme.com/database and add your chosen name along with their service number to identify them, in the comments section in the next stage. If the shroud for this soldier has already been chosen, we will let you know.

    Please be aware that the shrouds will have been out in the open for some time and will not be in pristine condition.

    You will also have your name etched on the Supporters Board forming part of the installation and included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    28 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $324

    Private Viewing

    You will be invited to the private viewing of the installation in London in November 2018 with a guided tour from artist Rob Heard and with honoured guests. Details of this unique opportunity will be sent to you in a personal invitation.

    You will also receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted on a board representing one of the Fallen of the Somme.

    You will also have your name etched on the Supporters Board forming part of the installation and included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $648

    Read out names of the Fallen

    An opportunity to take a major role in the Shrouds of the Somme event.

    You will help us read the roll of 72,396 names of the Fallen of the Somme who are being commemorated over a 2 hour period during the exhibition. This contribution is a powerfully moving and meaningful experience. You will be offered a guided tour from one of the team.

    You will also receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted in a hand-made wooden frame representing one of the Fallen of the Somme.

    You will also have your name etched on the Supporters Board forming part of the installation and be included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,295

    VIP tour of HMS Courageous

    A very special opportunity to explore decommissioned nuclear submarine HMS Courageous with former Royal Navy commander Commodore Jake Moores OBE who is Chairman of Shrouds of the Somme.

    Tour dates: 21st or 23rd September 2017
    Location: Plymouth, UK

    HMS Courageous is a Churchill-class nuclear fleet submarine in service with the Royal Navy between 1971-1992.

    Commodore Jake Moores retired in 2013 as head of the Royal Navy's fleet in the South West.

    You will also receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted in a hand-made wooden frame representing one of the Fallen of the Somme.

    You will also have your name etched on the Supporters Board forming part of the installation and be included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited (39 left of 40) 1 backer
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £3,000 or more About $3,885

    An afternoon with artist Rob Heard

    Spend the afternoon one-to-one with artist Rob Heard in his extraordinary house which he built himself in Somerset. Stitch a shroud with Rob to better understand his process and enjoy talking with him about this extraordinary project. This is an exclusive offer, limited to 10 places only.

    You will also receive a professional, signed photograph of you with the artist - a keepsake from this very unique experience.

    You will also have your name etched on our supporters board as part of the installation, and be included on the online supporters list, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited (10 left of 10) 0 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £7,000 or more About $9,065

    Become an official sponsor

    Become an official Sponsor of Shrouds of the Somme. Your name (or that of your company) will be displayed on our Sponsors board at the installation. Your outstanding support will be recognized on the Shrouds website, in publicity material relating to the installation and through social media channels. The Shrouds exhibition in Exeter reached over 14 million people worldwide.

    You will receive a personal invitation for two to the private viewing of the installation in London in November 2018 with a guided tour from artist Rob Heard and with honoured guests.

    You will receive one of the 72,396 shrouds mounted in a hand-made wooden frame representing one of the Fallen of the Somme. A certificate of authenticity including the name and regiment of the soldier will be framed with the shroud.

    You will receive a signed copy of a special commemorative photo book of the Shrouds of the Somme exhibition, with previously unseen photos, stories and personal accounts.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Help Wanted Labs

Help out
Help out
Help out