2014 sees the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War One and the 75th Anniversary since the start of World War Two. I will be developing this section on my website specifically dedicated to both World Wars
THE RED POPPY
Long before the Great War, the red poppy had become a symbol of death, renewal and life. The seeds of the flower can remain dormant in the earth for years, but will blossom spectacularly when the soil is churned. Beginning in late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders became the scene of stupendous disturbances. Red Poppys soon appeared.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
John McCrae was buried in a military cemetery near Calais on the English Channel, thus becoming one with those of whom he wrote in his famous poem. Probably by the time of his internment, John McCrae's verse had forever bound the image of the Red Poppy to the memory of the Great War. The poppy was eventually adopted by the British and Canadian Legions as the symbol of remembrance of World War One and a means of raising funds for disabled veterans.
The Royal British Legion, formed on 15 May 1921, ordered 9 million poppies which were sold on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever 'Poppy Appeal' raised over £106,000, a considerable amount of money at the time, which was used to help WWI veterans with employment, housing etc. The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex- Servicemen and which today, together with the Legion's warehouse in Aylesford, produces millions of poppies each year.