Ten thousand flames illuminated the moat at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters, who have all served in the military, and representatives from the armed forces, began lighting the flames last night as part of a trial run ahead of a ceremony today.
The display is to remember the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives during the First World War.
Volunteers will take between 40 and 50 minutes to manually light the remaining flames, gradually illuminating both the Tower of London and its empty moat.
The flames, each emanating from an individual canister, will burn for about four hours before needing to be replenished with fuel by volunteers before the next night’s display.
The spectacle, named Beyond the Deepening Shadow, will be accompanied by a specially commissioned sound installation featuring choral music and words from war poet Mary Borden’s Sonnets to a Soldier.
Many of the volunteers for the installation also helped with the display of poppies at the landmark in 2014, according to a spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces, the organisation responsible for maintaining the Tower of London.
The display saw 888,246 ceramic poppies placed outside the Tower of London, with each flower representing a life lost by a soldier from Britain or its colonies.
Many of the volunteers have a family connection to the First World War, the spokeswoman added.
General the Lord Houghton, Constable of the Tower, said: “The First World War claimed the lives of over 18 million people across the globe.
“We remembered them at the Tower on the anniversary of the start of the war, and it feels equally appropriate that we should again commemorate their sacrifice 100 years after hostilities came to an end.
“Many of the Tower community have served in the Armed Forces, and it is important for us to ensure that those who lived, served, fought and died during this time continue to be remembered, and that the lessons from these conflicts continue to be shared.”
The ceremony, which will take place between 5pm and 9pm, will be repeated each night until Sunday, November 11.
Members of the public can view the installation for free and there is also ticketed access to the moat, where the installation can be viewed up close.
Theresa May is due to take part in a series of events this week as the centenary of the end of the bloody four-year battle draws near.
Mrs May said: “Next week will mark one of the most significant moments in our nation’s history.
“One hundred years after the guns fell silent on the Western Front, each and every one of us can pause to reflect on the immense sacrifices that were made by so many.
“The killing fields of France and Belgium are scarred by the horrors of war, but the strength and closeness of our relationship today is a testament to the journey our countries have travelled together.
“I’m proud to represent the immense gratitude of our nation at these commemorations and share these moments of reflection with our friends and partners in Europe.”
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