Armistice Day Centenary: Pages of the Sea

View to the Mourne Mountains from Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland
Published : 02 Oct 2018 Last update : 08 Nov 2018

11 November 2018 marks 100 years since Armistice and the end of the First World War. To mark the occasion we're working in partnership with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary on 'Pages of the Sea'.

Today filmmaker Danny Boyle invited communities around the UK to gather on beaches, on the 100th anniversary of Armistice to say thank you and goodbye.

Millions contributed to the First World War, many of them departing from these shores.  At low tide, on selected beaches around the UK, over the course of several hours, a portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand and be washed away as the tide comes in. The sand art designs will be created by Sand in Your Eye.

Anyone who wants to join in can help create silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Individuals, families and communities will also be invited to read a new poem by poet Carol Ann Duffy.

Sand in Your Eye will create sand art on selected beaches to commemorate 100 years since the Armistice
Aerial shot of a beach featuring sand art of a soldier
Sand in Your Eye will create sand art on selected beaches to commemorate 100 years since the Armistice

Danny Boyle said: “Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I'm inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”

With the help of our members and supporters, the National Trust cares for nearly 780 miles of the UK’s coastline. John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Culture and Engagement, said: “Our coastline and its beaches are special places which give us the space, freedom and opportunity for refreshment in our busy lives. They demonstrate the power of nature but they are often also places with deep connections to history and compelling stories, the perfect places to pause and reflect. 

We know people will want space to mark the Armistice centenary in their own way and we are delighted to make our beaches accessible for those who wish to take the opportunity to join with this remarkable project.”

Those who wish to are also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, in order to choose an individual to say a personal goodbye to while gathering on the beaches. You can visit to add portraits of family or community members who contributed to the First World War effort.

Join in with an event on 11 November


Other ways to commemorate the centenary

Exhibitions and events

Across the country places in our care will be hosting exhibitions and events to commemorate the Armistice, allowing you to discover the stories of those whose lives were affected by the conflict.