News World War One Poppies

Published on November 11th, 2014 | by admin

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives During War And Conflict in World War One

Countries across the Commonwealth will come together today to remember members of the armed forces who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Each year the 11th November is observed as the day that the end of World War One was confirmed. It was 11th November 1918 that the armistice was signed between the allied forces and Germany. Hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The red poppy is a well recognised emblem associated with Remembrance Day, as well as Remembrance Sunday last weekend. It also appears prominently in collectibles associated with World War One including a Great War Presentation Pack available here at the Post Office Shop.

And this year a poppy memorial in London has truly captured the imagination like no other. Millions of people have visited the Tower of London to see for themselves a poignant tribute to commemorate the First World War which features the moat filled with thousands of ceramic poppies. Designer Paul Cummins has produced 888,246 ceramic hand-made poppies which each represent a soldier from the UK who was killed during World War One. The poppy installation will be completed today as the final flowers are planted in the moat.

Labeled as the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the artwork installation of poppies has proved so popular that an official online petition was launched to try and persuade the government to keep the poppies at the Tower of London beyond Armistice Day – and now it has been confirmed that a section, the wave of poppies, will remain in place until the end of the month.

It has even led to officials from the Historic Royal Palaces who manage the exhibition, dissuading people from visiting the Tower of London in recent weeks as visitor numbers have swelled causing overcrowding.

So just why has the installation of poppies caught the imagination of the public at large to such an extraordinary extent?

The popularity can be partly explained by the poignant symbol of the poppy; the deep red colour evokes the blood of wounded men while the flowers delicate petals might hint at the fragility of life itself.

A common sight in the fields of northern France and Belgium, the red poppy (Papaver rhoeas) reflects the location of where many of the deadliest conflicts of World War One occurred. One such location which saw considerable loss of life during the Great War was Flanders Fields close to the ancient town of Ypres. It was a strategic position as Germany’s invasion gathered pace.

The significance of the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance started from when Lt Col John McCrae wrote an inspirational poem titled ‘In Flanders Fields’ reflecting the loss of one of his friends in Ypres during 1915.

The remembrance poppy has been used for ninety-three years to commemorate soldiers who have died defending their country during World War One and all subsequent conflicts. The first ever ‘Poppy Appeal’ took place in 1921, the same year that the Royal British Legion were formed. 9 million poppies were sold, raising more than £106,000 at the time.

Co-ordinated by the Royal British Legion, over 40 million poppies are now distributed every year as a symbol of remembrance and hope.

The two minute silence at 11am today will be observed by millions of people who will stop what they are doing to reflect on the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty.


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