On 1 July 2016, 1,400 volunteers took part in a national memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. ‘We’re here because we’re here’ saw soldiers in First World War uniform appear unexpectedly in locations across the UK. Commissioned by 14-18 NOW, conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre and 27 other organisations including Lyric Theatre Belfast, Manchester Royal Exchange, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre Wales.
The soldiers congregated without ceremony in public places up and down the country. Like ghosts, the soldiers remained silent throughout the day and when approached simply handed out a white card displaying the name, rank, battalion and regiment of a real soldier who had died at the Somme on July 1 2016. All the volunteers carried the details of a different soldier.
19,240 British soliders were killed on the first day alone of the Battle of the Somme.