The men in First World War uniform appeared at major train stations, high streets, shopping centres, car parks and beaches on Friday (1 July). The soldiers appeared detached and did not speak to the public. Instead they handed out cards that were each labelled with the name and regiment of a solider that died in the bloody battle. Occasionally the men sang 'We're here because we're here' to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.
Commuters at London Waterloo train station began sharing images on social media with the hashtag #wearehere from around 8.30am. Similar images quickly followed from other UK cities and towns including Swansea, Belfast, Glasgow, Ipswich, Manchester and Liverpool.
The volunteers were aged between 16 and 52, reflecting the ages of the soldiers who would have fought in the Somme.
It was later revealed that the project had been conceived by the Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, who together trained the volunteers in preparation for the event.
The project was commissioned by 14-18 NOW, a UK arts programme that aims to connect people with the First World War, and was produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, in collaboration with 27 organisations across the UK.
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