For those who were never laid to rest: 72,396 tiny shrouded figures go on display at Olympic Park to honour every British soldier who died at the Battle of the Somme but has no known grave (23 Pics)

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Thousands of shrouded figures representing soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme have been laid out for an art installation in London.
Artist Rob Heard hand stitched and bound the calico covering 72,396 figures now lying on an area about the size of a football pitch at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Each 12in figure represents a named Commonwealth soldier who died on the Somme battlefields between 1916 and 1918 but has no known grave.
The installation has been unveiled as people prepare to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War on Armistice Day, November 11.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest of the 1914 to 1918 conflict, claiming the lives of around 20,000 British soldiers on the first day alone.
 Thousands of shrouded figures representing soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme have now been laid out for an art installation at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London
The Battle of the Somme started on the July 1, 1916, and lasted until November 19, 1916. The British managed to advance seven-miles but failed to break the German defence. On the first day alone, 19,240 British soldiers were killed after 'going over the top' and more than 38,000 were wounded. Pictured: An aerial view of the exhibition
Twenty-four troops from the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian regiment began laying out the bodies on Monday, using tape measures to space them evenly
Each 12in figure represents a named Commonwealth soldier who died on the Somme battlefields between 1916 and 1918 but has no known grave
Artist Rob Heard hand stitched and bound the calico covering 72,396 figures lying on an area about the size of a football pitch
Volunteers and members of 1 Royal Anglian Regiment laid out the field of figures in hundreds of rows in the shadow of the London Stadium. (Above, Captain James Pugh of the British Army's 1 Royal Anglian Regiment at the site today)
Each figure represents a serviceman listed on the Thiepval Memorial in France - the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world
It took Mr Heard (centre) 18 months to create the shrouded figures, often working 12 to 14 hours a day on the project
As well as the Olympic Park installation (above), special tributes to fallen and injured servicemen will also include a Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. The field is being filled with small crosses, often topped with photographs of a serviceman who died in the 1914-1918 war
More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the free-to-enter art installation between November 8 and 18
The installation has been unveiled as people prepare to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War on Armistice Day, November 11
Mr Heard said the 'absolute key' to his creation was that every figure represented a named fallen soldier, many of whose bodies were never recovered from the battlefield. 'I found quite early on that I personally had quite a strong relationship with these men, in that I had huge lists of their names, photographs and physical figures themselves,' he added
Members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, The Vikings, help to lay out the figures in rows for the installation
Each one of the shrouded figures took on their own form as they were wrapped by Mr Heard, twisting and bending into their own unique shape
Sally Nicholson (pictured) is the great, great niece of Lance Corporal Sidney Nicholson who was killed at the Somme. Lasting 141 days, the Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest battle of the First World War
Armistice Day will be commemorated Sunday in Britain with a solemn ceremony at the Cenotaph in London that will be attended by Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals
Around 420,000 British soldiers, 200,000 Frenchmen and 500,000 Germans were killed in the battle. It is estimated 24,000 Canadian and 23,000 Australian servicemen also fell in the four-month fight
The British and French joined forces to fight the Germans on a 15-mile-long front, with more than 1million people killed or injured on both sides during the offensive
Mr Heard said of the fallen: 'I think the idea that they are still laying out in the fields being turned by the plough each year now, if we could bring them back and lay them on home soil just one more time in a small way, I felt that was really important'
Members of the public will be able to purchase the shrouded figures, with profits being donated to SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity and the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation
Mr Heard said he wanted to show the sheer scale of the carnage of the worst day in British military history when generals ordered Tommies into No Man's Land
Mr Heard, from Watchet in Somerset, was inspired to take on the challenge after he suffered arm and wrist injuries in a car accident in 2013. He said: 'I was in a dark place and things were not going well post-surgery. I was watching the guys coming back from Afghanistan with legs and arms missing and I thought, "Come on, get a grip, there are people worse off than me"'
Married father-of-three Mr Heard said: 'The idea is to physicalise the number - to illustrate the enormity of the horror which unfolded'

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