THOUSANDS of commuters have been reflecting on the horrors of war, following the installation of a flagship First World War monument outside a Hampshire railway station.

A huge stone monolith bearing iconic poppy designs has been installed outside Romsey Station just weeks before the county unites for annual Remembrance Day services in memory of thousands of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The World War One Centenary Poppy Memorial was created by distinguished sculpture artist Caroline Dear, who this week watched it being eased into place by workers with a crane.

Dignitaries are due to officially unveil it at a memorial service on Thursday, November 10, but until then it is a poignant reminder to residents and commuters arriving in Station Road.

It follows the unveiling by Princess Anne of the iconic Romsey War Horse in Romsey Memorial Park as part of events marking the war’s centenary.

That monument is a tribute to horses that died on the battlefield in the First World War, some who were among the 120,000 steeds and troops trained in Romsey Remount depot.

The new Poppy Memorial stands at 5ft 6ins high and is carved from Welsh slate with a design featuring 10 poppies, one for each decade that has passed since the war, which lasted from 1914-1918.

The biggest poppy has a design of a 50 pence piece with the Queen’s image on it.

Mrs Dear, from Rownhams, carved the design as a gift for the Romsey British Legion after they had initially purchased the stone for £400.

Great Western Railway sponsored the installation of the monolith and the landscaping around it, while Romsey volunteers of the Three Rivers Community Rail Project have also spearheaded the project.

Hampshire chairman of the British Legion, Brigadier David Harrison, will unveil the monument while the ceremony will be conducted by Romsey vicar Reverend Canon Tim Sledge.

Nick Farthing, chairman of the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership will also be there and two pupils from Romsey School will be reading excerpts from two soldiers from the area who gave their lives in the War. Their fellow pupils will also plant poppies around the memorial.

Mrs Dear, 71, who also created a sculpture for the Queen’s 90th birthday that was shown at the Chelsea Flower Show, said: “My idea for the stone was a way of drawing the significance of poppies and the centenary together.

"The design evolved as I was carving it.

“It’s in a place where everyone can see it and we’ve already had lots of people passing it since it has been installed and giving feedback.”

She added: “Hopefully it will make people think about what happened during the war and the sacrifices made.”

The unveiling service starts at 11am and is followed by a buffet reception in the British Legion Club in Love Lane.