An ‘amazing’ tribute to all the soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War will see Tower of London lit up by flames over the coming days.
Around 10,000 flames have filled the empty moat encircling the historic castle in the capital to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
A ceremonial Beefeater guard began the lighting ceremony last night by bringing a flame down from the tower into the moat, which had been submerged in smoke.
Dozens of representatives from the armed forces and volunteers then used the flame to ignite thousands of other torches staked into or placed on the ground underneath the tower, bathing the barren moat in light.
Midshipman Balraj Dhanda of the Royal Navy, a volunteer who helped light the flames, described the spectacle as ‘really, really powerful’.
He added: ‘I think it creates the right atmosphere for people to have their own personal reflections and gives people time with their own thoughts.’
It took around 45 minutes to light the flames, which then burn for roughly four hours.
The ceremony was accompanied by a specially commissioned sound installation featuring choral music, as well as words from war poet Mary Borden's Sonnets To A Soldier.
The ceremony was ‘amazing’, according to Dick Harrold, governor of the Tower of London.
He added: ‘What is so special about it is it means many different things.
‘The message with the sound is not focused so much on those that were lost, but those that were left behind, the bereaved and others who were affected by war.’
The success of the 2014 display of poppies at the tower meant Historic Royal Palaces, who maintain the landmark, were keen to mark the centenary of Armistice.
He added: ‘But, of course, we couldn't do poppies again.’
Spectators gathered on vantage points around the tower to witness the spectacle.
A minute's silence was also observed.
How can you see it?
The ceremony, named Beyond The Deepening Shadow, will be repeated each night this week until the final showing on Remembrance Sunday.
Members of the public can watch the spectacle for free.
How to get to Tower of London from Portsmouth
South Western Railway runs trains from Portsmouth to London Waterloo – and from there you can take the tube.
With Tower of London saying on its website that between November 5 and November 11 you are advised to use Aldgate, Aldgate East, Tower Gateway, Monument and London Bridge stations.
While Tower Hill station is expected to be busy during Beyond The Deepening Shadow daily ceremony.
If you would prefer to drive – the address is:
Tower of London
And it is a 75.2 mile journey – according to Google Maps – which will take 2 hours without traffic.