If you were to able to speak to the unknown soldier now, a man who served and was killed during World War One…

With all we’ve learned since 1914, with all your own experience of life and death to hand, what would you say?

Unknown Soldier, Paddington

Unknown Soldier, Paddington

Created by Neil Bartlett and Kate Pullinger – WW1 Centenary Art Commissions,

LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER is a new kind of war memorial, one made only of words.

The inspiration for the project is the Charles Jagger war memorial on Platform One of Paddington Station, which features a statue of an ordinary soldier in battle dress, reading a letter.

LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER invites everyone to contribute to this collaborative war memorial by writing that letter.

From 28 June, throughout the 37 days leading up to the declaration of war on 4 August, the letters received will be published on the website to create a completely different kind of war memorial, one created by everyone.

LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER will create a snapshot of how twenty-first century Britain views the First World War, one hundred years on. It will be added to the British Library online archive at the end of the project, and kept in perpetuity for generations to come.

Writers from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have already pledged to write letters to the soldier. These include writers as distinguished and different as Alan Hollinghurst, A L Kennedy, Andrew Motion, Bonnie Greer, Caryl Churchill, Daljit Nagra, Esther Freud, Glenn Patterson, Kamila Shamsie, Liz Lochhead, Malorie Blackman, Owen Sheers, Sheila Hancock and Stephen Fry. 

Everyone can contribute their LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER at 1418NOW.org.uk/letter or send a letter by Royal Mail to LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER, PO Box 73102, London EC1P 1TY.

Find out more


Twitter @letter1418

Facebook  /letter1418


The BTPHG is pleased to support this project.

Photo © Matthew Andrews

Comments are closed.