About - Pages of the Sea


Today on 11 November 2018, communities will gather on beaches across the UK to say goodbye and thank you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

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 then, as the tide rises, be washed away as we take a moment to say a collective goodbye.


Find your nearest beach


Poet Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem especially for Pages of the Sea, to be read by individuals, families and communities on the day. You can also get involved in creating artwork in the sand using stencils of portraits at the beaches.


Read the poem online Download the poem in English Download the poem in Welsh Download the poem in Gaelic


You can also take part online. Browse the images of some who left their shores in our gallery. See their faces and find out who they were. Those from your community, those who shared your name. You can even add your own image of someone from the First World War from your family or community and say a personal goodbye. Share who you are saying goodbye to on social media and invite others to get involved.


Find someone and
make your goodbye personal


14-18 NOW has been working with regional partners to deliver workshops and events across the country in the lead up to Armistice. You can find out more about the people and stories of the First World War in your area; explore the story of the face being drawn in the sand on your local beach; create material including poetry and music to be shared on beaches today and work with artists and writers to explore the themes of the First World War through poetry and art.


Pages of the Sea is commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. It is delivered with partner organisations across the UK: National Trust, Activate Performing Arts, Creative Foundation, Eden Project, National Theatre Scotland, Nerve Centre, Sunderland Culture & Taliesin in association with Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The Grand Theatre of Lemmings, Magna Vitae, MOSTYN, SeaChange Arts, Swansea Council, Swansea University, Theatre Orchard, and Visit Blackpool who are working with their local communities to create the event on the 11th. Sand portraits designed by Sand in your Eye.

Supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Big Lottery Fund, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.