#WeAreHere Battle of the Somme tribute
Friday 1st July 2016 saw me in London on business. I was well aware of the importance of this date after the well publicised build up to the centenary of the start of the battle of the Somme. I travelled on the early Hull Trains service from Hull to London Kings Cross and the morning paper had pictures of the young Royals at the Thiepval Memorial in France. I was watching some live coverage on the Ipad when the ticket collector arrived. We had a brief discussion on the memoriam and she explained the train would be honouring the two minutes silence at 0728am. The time came and the silence was honoured impeccably.
I arrived in London, went through the ticket barriers and was immediately met with the sight of world war 1 soldiers. I put two and two together and realised this was a moving tribute to those that gave their life in the bloody battle 100 years before. I had a little pocket camera with me and snapped a few pictures as I weaved my way through the commuters and tourists to the London Underground. It was on route I noticed it wasn't just the 10 or so re-enactment men I originally thought and in actual fact there were 30 - 40 or so dotted around and mixed in with people going about their business. Some stopped and clapped, others took pictures and some just carried on oblivious to the stunning tribute.
I took 5 minutes out to wander the station, view the fitting work of these men and pause for a moment to appreciate the scale of the sacrifice that those before us had given. The soldiers had little cards, each bearing the name of a soldier who died in the battle all those years ago. In the short 5 minutes I was there I witnessed two things that sat uncomfortable with me. Those of you who know Kings Cross station will know it's the home of platform 9 and three quarters (Made famous in the Harry Potter films) and the first thing that struck me was when I meandered over to the upper walkway and noticed the scores of people queuing for a selfie at the trolley in the wall yet these soldiers were posed all along the upper walkway with very little attention. It saddened me slightly, these guys deserved more, more selfies, more opportunity to give out their cards and honour those brave souls that gave so much.
The second striking moment was as the men marched through the upper food court, a single lady of a mature age stood and clapped. I half expected others around to follow suit however she stood there alone. Her clap wasn't sporadic applause but a rhythmic beat, almost in time to clicking of the soldiers boots hitting the modern ceramic floor covering.
The UK do this stuff fantastically well. I have seen coverage on social media but I wanted to do my bit, spreading this tasteful tribute to those that went 'over the top' and never returned.
becausewearehere.co.uk is the official website behind this, be sure to check it out
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