The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, together with HRH Prince Harry, today launched an art installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War and raise funds for Service charities including Combat Stress.
Their Royal Highnesses spent an hour at the Tower of London walking among the ceramic poppies that form the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Approximately 200,000 poppies have so far been planted - in total 888,246 will be placed in the famous dry moat to represent every British and Colonial fatality in the war.
Each poppy will be available to buy for £25 (+p&p) from today https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/buy-a-poppy/. If all poppies are sold, millions of pounds in net proceeds will be raised to be shared equally among six Service charities – Combat Stress, COBSEO, Coming Home, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA.
General The Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London, showed TRH around the poppies before introducing them to one beneficiary from each of the six charities. TRH then planted a poppy each.
A symbol of remembrance in the UK, the poppies will encircle the Tower of London creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also an inspiring setting for learning activities and personal reflection.
Andrew Cameron, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said today:
“Combat Stress is honoured to be a charity partner in the Tower’s thought-provoking programme marking the centenary of the First World War.
“World War One is synonymous with shellshock, now termed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which accounted for one in seven military disabilities. The Army dealt with some 80,000 cases of shell shock during the War. Society then was very different, with little understanding of, or compassion for, Servicemen with mental injuries. Those returning home were often shunned from society or confined to mental asylums.
“Formed in the aftermath of World War One, and one of the UK’s oldest military charities, Combat Stress has supported over 100,000 Veterans affected by psychological wounds. Our specialist work is as vital today as it was then: more than 5,400 Veterans are currently supported by the charity.
“This spectacular installation at the Tower, with its long military history, will be a powerful reminder of the commitment of those who bravely serve their country and the mental and physical sacrifices they make.
“The generosity and support of the general public, and events like this, are vital for us to continue providing the life-changing treatment and support programmes that ex-Service men and women deserve.
“We also commend Paul Cummins and Tom Piper for their visionary work on this project, and thank the Tower of London for selecting Combat Stress as a beneficiary.”