Why the Poppy?

Since Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae first drafted his poem In Flanders Fields, written in memory of a comrade cut down on the Western Front, the red poppy has become symbol of remembrance and hope.But why the poppy?

At the end of the First World War poppies were the only plants to grow on the barren battlefields in Northern France and Flanders.

The significance of the poppy was brought to the public's attention in Canadian surgeon John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields which he wrote whilst serving in Ypres in 1915.

The first Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921 and the following year Major George Howsen, an infantry officer, suggested to the British Legion that members should make artificial poppies to distribute to the public.

The poppy was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.



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