The 11th November 1918 is a memorable date in everyone’s mind – it’s the date the ‘War to end all wars’ finally came to an end. As the 100-year anniversary approaches, and after a stint of reading some very moving WW1 novels recently, I felt compelled to create a mini-project to commemorate all those who were affected by the war. This not only includes the brave soldiers who fought, but also the sailors and nurses who I think can often get overlooked, and of course the wives and families that remained back at home. It’s clear that the war was a traumatic experience for everyone whether on the front line or not, and this project serves to remember everyone who was involved, but more specifically those whose identity remains unknown to this day. With the kind help of Mark Duffy at ww1photos.org I have uncovered a series of portraits of unidentified soldiers, sailors and a female nurse who all served in WW1. I’ve used these photos as a base for my project, creating collages using pressed flowers to mimic the act of laying flowers on a grave as an act of remembrance. I do not know who these people are or what happened to them, but they were real people just like you and me. Did they survive the war? What experiences did they encounter? Did they ever see their families again? Who knows – hopefully it was a happy ending for all but either way, their service and their lives must be remembered despite the fact their names are now forgotten. We will remember them.
*All quotes are taken from the books 'All Quiet on the Western Front' by Erich Maria Remarque & 'Private Peaceful' by Michael Morpurgo