The corten steel statue weighs 1.2 tonnes (1.2 long tons; 1.3 short tons) and is 9 feet 5 inches (2.87 m) tall, with a rusty red patina. It depicts a First World War soldier, wearing boots, puttees, greatcoat and tin hat, sitting on an ammunition box, with downcast eyes, holding the barrel of his grounded rifle in his right hand. It is officially named 1101 (or Eleven-O-One), referring to the first minute of peace as the armistice came into force at 11am on 11 November 1918, but is more popularly known as Tommy, referring to the archetype private soldier Tommy Atkins.
It was displayed temporarily in Seaham from May 2014, but became a permanent fixture after a committee of local residents raised £102,000 needed to buy it. The price was handed over on 4 August 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The statue was relocated onto a paved platform in 2015, under which was buried a time capsule containing donated items, including a letter from Ray Lonsdale, a T-shirt, children's artworks, war remembrances, and a Victory Medal.
The word Tommy also refers to any other statue representing a Great War soldier, usually made of bronze, steel or concrete.
- Seaham Tommy 1101: Town raises funds to buy sculpture, BBC News, 26 July 2014
- Sculptor Ray Lonsdale reveals the story behind the Tommy statue at Seaham, The Journal, 4 July 2014
- First World War hero Tommy is at Seaham to stay, Sunderland Echo, 27 May 2015