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Andrew Motion uses headstone tributes to write new war poem

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Former poet laureate drew inspiration from personal inscriptions to write Armistice

Some chose from the scriptures. Others, from literature and poetry. For families of the first world war’s fallen, finding the words for the inscriptions to adorn the headstones of their loved ones was the final tribute.

As the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) faced the global challenge of ensuring proper burial for 1 million Commonwealth men and women killed. Next-of-kin were invited to add a personal inscription, each limited to just 66 stone-engraved characters.

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