Pages of the Sea: Weymouth

11th November 2018

Weymouth Beach 12.30pm onwards
Portrait to be completed at approximately 2.30pm - 3pm, with tides washing the artwork away from 6pm

On 11 November 2018, communities will gather on beaches across the UK to say thank you and goodbye. Film-maker Danny Boyle invites you to join him in marking 100 years since Armistice and the end of the First World War. Pages of the Sea is a unique moment to say goodbye, together, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

You’re invited to beaches across the UK where, over the course of several hours, a portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises, watch as it’s washed away as we take a moment to say a collective goodbye. Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem especially for the moment, to be read by individuals, families and communities on the day. 


The artwork

The ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) played a key role in WW1, fighting across the Western Front and notably Gallipoli.  As the wounded numbers increased, Weymouth was chosen as the base for the ANZACS to convalesce, due to its relaxing seaside location, with four camps set up in Chickerell, Westham, Littlemoor and Portland.  Between 1915 -1919 over 120,000 ANZACS passed through the town, including Stanley McDougall, however, sadly 87 never left and are buried in Melcombe Regis cemetry.   The ANZACS were warmly welcomed by the local people of Weymouth, with many soldiers marrying local women. In memory to these troops, some Westham streets are named after Australia together with the ANZAC Memorial on the esplanade.

Private Stanley Robert McDougall VC (23 July 1890 –07 July 1968)
Sergeant in Australian infantry
Won V.C. for single-handedly repulsing German attack

Stanley was born in Tasmania to Susannah and John McDougall. He became a blacksmith, but enlisted in August 1915, joining the 47th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Sent to the western front, he fought at Pozières, Messines and Broodseinde.

In March 1918 at Dernancourt, Sergeant McDougall repulsed a German attack that had breached the allied lines. Single-handed, he charged the enemy's second wave withrifle and bayonet, killing seven and capturing a machine-gun that he turned on the rest, causing more casualties and routing the advance. Then he fired on those that had already reached the allied trenches, until his ammunition ran out, when he seized a bayonet and killed three more men and an enemy officer. He then used a Lewis gun on the enemy, killing others and enabling his comrades to capture 33 prisoners.

Eight days later, at the same place, this non-commissioned officer won the Military Medal for taking over his platoon when its commander was killed. After the war became an officer with the Tasmanian Forestry Department, later performing outstanding work fighting bushfires as inspector-in-charge of forests in north-east Tasmania. He died at Scottsdale, Tasmania in 1968.

How to get involved

On the Day
Visit Weymouth Beach from 12.30pm onwards to watch the artwork take shape during the course of the day. Each event centres around the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War which will be washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating stenciled silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. 

Open Mic Sessions
1pm – 2pm and 3pm – 4pm
In addition to Carol Ann Duffy’s new poem you are invited to share your own chosen words which can be on a personal level on the beach or through the informal ‘Open Mic’ sessions available during the afternoon. Contributions to share may include existing poems, letters or pieces of writing or be a new response to the First World War you have created personally or with a group.
Register your interest in sharing your words here.

If you can spare some time to help make these events happen, then please consider joining our friendly volunteer team. Contact Andrea Frankham-Hughes on 07971 058 336 or register your interest online here.

Getting to the event

Our events are outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather and location.

We are passionate about our wonderful world and encourage everyone to travel to our events in an environmentally friendly way whenever possible. Please consider car sharing (visit, walking, cycling or using public transport to get to our events.

Advance travel information about each location is listed below, but please check our social media channels before setting out.

Weymouth Beach, DT4 8DL
Sunday 11th November 2018, 12.30pm onwards

Pages of the Sea takes place at the southern end of Weymouth Beach, opposite Alexandra Gardens.

Foot and Bike

Weymouth Esplanade forms part of the South West Coast Path and is fully accessible on foot.  Several national and local cycle routes pass through Weymouth and there is cycle parking located across the town centre.

Public Transport

Weymouth railway station is a 12 minute walk away and serviced by South Western Railway.  Weymouth Esplanade is serviced by National Express coaches and First Wessex bus routes 1, 2 & 10 on a Sunday.  Alight at King’s Statue bus stop which is a 5 minute walk away.

Car Parking

We recommend lift sharing to central Weymouth.  Pay and Display car parks are available at Pavilion Car Park DT4 8DZ (3 minute walk), Melcombe Regis Car Park DT4 8NS (8 minute walk) and Park Street Car Park DT4 7DQ (8 minute walk).  All car parks charge on a Sunday and have allocated blue badge bays.

Please note some road closures may be in place at the North end of the Esplanade from 10.30-12.30pm and local diversions will be in operation.

Access Provision for those with additional needs

Comprehensive Access Guides have been created to assist with journey planning and event enjoyment. 

Download Weymouth access guide here.

Download large print Weymouth access guide here.