The End of Reason Part 3: Over The Top
The image for 'Over The Top' by designer Ceri Townsend used a body density map from the area around the Somme. The map was produced by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Messer the Assistant Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries in France, who recorded the crosses of the fallen on the battlefield and register their location, and then to re-inter the bodies together in larger cemeteries. The largest squares you see in the grid are 1000 yards by 1000 yards. The smallest squares are around 83 yards by 83 yards. The blue numbers indicate the soldiers killed so even in the smaller squares there were up to 1000 casualties. This is hard to imagine but perhaps not surprising when you consider that the British Army lost over 57,000 men on the first day of the battle. The floor cloth became a constant reminder of the mechanised slaughter of the Somme, and formed an important part of the Theatre in Education programme. It was a brave decision for the set which worked very well functionally and aesthetically.