Northern Ireland news

Art installation remembers the grave unknowns from the Battle of the Somme

Shrouds of the Somme at Belfast City Hall the exhibition will run to September 16. Picture by Hugh Russell

AN art installation, commemorating soldiers from the Ulster and Irish Regiments who died at the Battle of the Somme with no known grave, has opened at Belfast's City Hall Garden of Remembrance.

The 3,775 figures, 12 inches long, have been individually shaped and shrouded by artist, Rob Heard.

It is part of a UK-wide commemorative project remembering Commonwealth Servicemen killed at the battle and will be in place until Sunday September 16 and can be viewed between 7am-9pm.

"This is an astonishing and moving art installation and as we mark the centenary year of the end of World War One a timely reminder of the cost of war," lord mayor Deirdre Hargey said.

"Rob, who handstitched each of the shrouded figures on display is to be congratulated for his dedication and vision to help people realise the unimaginable numbers who died during the Battle of the Somme."

Mr Heard said it was difficult for many people to imagine the horrors that the soldiers went through as they lived and died in the Battle of the Somme.

Thousands upon thousands of men perished together and are buried in unknown graves - now we can remember each of them individually and pay tribute to their sacrifice," he said.

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