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News Report Page 13 of 24
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Danny Boyle 'Pages of the Sea' on Formby Beach
Photographs by L Trollope.

IN addition to the many services at local war memorials, in local churches and other gatherings, there was a special and very evocative Armistige extra to commemorate this, the 100th Anniversary of the ending of World War 1 when, as part of a nationwide event:- 'Pages of the Sea,' 32 British beaches were chosen by film maker, Danny Boyle for his concept to say Thank You and Goodbye to all who sailed from these shores into action, never to return. Formby was 1 of the the beaches selected.

After careful planning over the preceding week, portraits of one of the local fallen were etched into the sand between high and low tide lines. For Formby, the chosen person was Captain John Basil Armitage, who was part of the 5th Battalion Cheshire Regiment who saw action at various theatres of war including the Somme. He was killed during the battle of Arras in1917, just short of his 41st birthday, leaving behind a family including 3 children. He was interred in Tilloy British cemetery, in Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines in France.

On Sunday, 11 November 2018, he was remembered in Formby when the image of his face was raked into the sand, alongside other smaller carved, stencilled figures representing the many others lost. This task was done by the willing hands of members of the public, adults and young children, who were a poignant reminder of those children deprived of their parent by that horrific conflict. This was a very moving and meaningful way to teach later generations the lesson of war.

At the 11th hour the hundreds of people gathered heard a bugler sound the Last Post and Reveille and all attendees had been given a card with a picture and brief details which was 1 from a set representing all those being commemorated throughout the country. On the reverse was printed a poem which Danny Boyle had invited the Poet Laureate to produce; entitled:- “The Wound in Time,” which, simultaneously, people were asked to read silently. As they stood the flowing tide was inexorably sweeping the images in the sand away, a very apt and moving symbolism, underlining the tragic loss and suffering, in its relentless destruction.

This was not glorifying war nor simply wallowing, but an innovative attempt to honour the sacrifices of those passed but also to give those of today and tomorrow a chance to ponder its consequences and to learn from them: Lest we Forget!

To skip these photos and go on to see our coverage of the Formby Royal British Legion Remembrance Parade click on here now.

Readers Photos:- "Danny Boyle 'Pages of the Sea' on Formby Beach"
Photographs by Vivienne Hilbert.

THESE photos were taken at Formby Point by Vivienne Hilbert, at the 'Pages of the Sea' event. She told us that:- "This was a very poignant reminder of the many lives lost during the 1914 to 1918 war, the 1st World War. As Danny Boyle said:- 'the soldiers left these shores by boat so it was very appropriate to say farewell to them on the beaches.' Many people wrote their own tributes in the sand and children created images of soldiers with templates and rakes. At 11 o'clock a bugler played 'The Last Post' and all was silent save for the sound of the sea, until the notes of the bugle were heard once more, followed by a spontaneous round of applause. Slowly people started to move away, but many waited until the water began to lap at the edge of the picture and around a solitary bunch of red roses. This was a very emotional and fitting goodbye to so many brave people."

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