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Blackpool honours fallen Lancastrian this centenary

Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright

A large scale portrait of Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright will be drawn in the sand in Blackpool.

Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright (08 September 1890 – 26 August 1914), who lost his life in the First World War, will be commemorated by a large-scale sand portrait for Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea it was announced today.

On Sunday 11 November, the public is invited to assemble at one of thirty-two beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland at low-tide for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

A large-scale portrait of Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, will be drawn into the sand on the beach and washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Each of the beaches taking part in the project will commemorate a different WW1 casualty.

John  Arkwright  was  one  of  the  first  Lancastrians  killed  during  the  war.  He  was  born  in  Lancaster  and  from  1906  to  October  1913  he  was  a  member  of  the  1st  Battalion,  King's  Own Royal  Lancaster  Regiment.

At  the outbreak  of  war,  John was  a  lance  corporal  with  his  unit  stationed  in  Dover  and  quickly mobilised,  arriving  in  France  on  23  August  1914. 

Three  days  later,  the  regiment  saw  bitter action  at  Haucourt,  during  the  battle  of  Le  Cateau,  a  vital  rearguard  action  following  the  Battle of  Mons,  itself  the  first  major  action  the  British  Expeditionary  Force  (BEF)  saw  in  France. Although  the  Germans  were  victorious,  the  battle  allowed  the  bulk  of  the  BEF  to  fall  back  to Saint  Quentin. 

The regiment suffered many casualties and men taken prisoner. John himself was killed in action.       

The Wound in Time, written by Carol Ann Duffy, will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches on 11 November.

A series of community-led events will also be taking place at each beach.

People who can’t make it on the day will be able to watch the activities and portraits from most of the beaches on social media.

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