Every Man Remembered: The Somme 100 Years Later

During the course of World War One, millions of men and women lost their lives. Poignant among the battles is the Somme; from July to November of 1916, European forces carved their places in history into the fields where over a million people perished. It has been recorded as one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. To this day, the shell fuses that litter the fields surrounding the Somme river in France are being ploughed to the surface. The Royal British Legion decided to put that metal to good use for the 100th anniversary of the battle, remembering each and every soldier that died there.

Projectiles to Poppies

Every Man Remembered was inspired by a message that the Legion received from a young girl that visited a war cemetery in Belgium. She wrote:

“I know that not everyone can be remembered as individuals, but I felt it was a shame for some people to have dozens of poppies and crosses while others had no one left to remember them.”

Participants that choose to honor a fallen soldier through the Every Man Remembered project receive a brass pin in the shape of the poppy flower, with a red enamel center. The brass comes from repurposed shell fuses found in the Somme fields, and the enamel also contains a small portion of soil from the battlefield.  Along with the pin comes a card, containing the name of a soldier who lost his life.

Each pin contains infomation on the soldier commemorated, including date of death and cemetary where they are commemorated. (Sylvia Gaenzle)

 

every man remembered
The center of the pin contains red enamel, mixed with soil from the historic battlefield. (Sylvia Gaenzle)

The Card also notes the nationality, date of death, and the cemetery where they are commemorated. Many of these names are randomly assigned, but some are specifically requested in memory of late family members who perished in the slaughter.

A Worldwide Effort

People from all over the world have chosen to commemorate a soldier – so far, over a quarter of a million names have been represented.  As incredible as that number is, it still leaves nearly 800 thousand of the 1.1 million men that died unrecognized by the movement, so many stories that have been yet untold.

If you wish to participate in this movement, you can search the database or select at random a name to commemorate, and make a donation to the Royal British Legion. The Legion’s mission is to assist veterans with housing, jobs, and other immediate support for servicemen and women, and their families.

Know what we're sayin fam?

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