The red-flowered corn poppy became the symbol of wartime remembrance for the First World War – being immortalised by John McCrae, the Canadian Surgeon and Soldier, in his famous poem of 1915 “In Flanders Fields”.
The wonder of nature reminding us each year as the red poppies rise again amongst the corn to remember all who have suffered through War – the dead and their relatives, those injured and those around the world who suffer and die for the good of all, who desire to live freely.
Illustrated page by Ernest Clegg.
Note that the first line ends with “grow”
– perhaps a memory slip after the War.
Published in 1921, with a preface by
William Thomas Manning
(US Episcopal Bishop of New York).
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We Lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
|Len Smith's illustrated War Diary
Dusty recesses keep providing us with historical records bringing back the toils of those times; in 2009 one of the oldest surviving First World War poppies – plucked from the killing fields of Flanders in 1915 – has been found in the diary of a former soldier.
Len Smith was 24 when he picked the delicate flower from the ground in no man’s land while serving with the 7th City of London Regiment in Belgium. Mr Smith, a sniper and battlefield artist, pressed the poppy in his diary for safe keeping – perfectly preserved for over 90 years.
|The book: Drawing Fire
The illustrated war diary compiled by the infantryman during his service until 1919, has been published as a book – Drawing Fire – complete with the pictures he drew while on the front line.
Another actual poppy picked from the trenches in Arras has been preserved in acrylic and is on show at The Montague Inn’s art exhibition. Private Cecil Roughton was just 17 when he preserved the flower during a bloody battle in France in May 1916 or perhaps May 1917.
|Private Cecil Roughton's Poppy:
Welsh experts have preserved it
The soldier from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, kept it in his notebook before sending it home to Moseley, Birmingham. It lay forgotten for nearly a century until it was donated to the Royal British Legion.
The Art Exhibition being held during October and November at The Montague Inn is to mark the opening of Tedworth House – the Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre.
|Personnel at Tedworth House -
the Recovery and Assessment Unit
for injured servicemen and women
Two remarkable artists have initiated this art exhibition. Two men passionate in their work span generations: Ted Milligan, a POW in Stalag Luft 7, Bankau and one of the service men who trudged 240 km (150 miles) on the forced march to Stalag 3A at Luckenwalde, collaborated with Jon England, more than 60 years his junior to hold the exhibition.
The Montague Inn is putting on various events – talks, dinners, suppers with eminent speakers where participants may mix with all, including the artists – to mark the opening of nearby Tedworth Recovery and Assessment Centre for service personnel.
Be at peace, hold your head up, be the best you can, let your soul sing for all on earth and beyond to the heavens – Lest We Forget – Remember Them.
Dear Mr Postman – my mother is communicating a bit more now – the brain is amazing, and her ability to remain with us is wonderful. I will sit with her during our Remembrance Day Cenotaph Service on Sunday ... which, should she be awake, she will appreciate.
The Guardian: Woodford Green - Poppy from Flanders Fields ... preserved
The book: Drawing Fire (Flanders)
The Express: Poppy Plucked from the Trenches (Arras)
Antiquarian's Attic: World War One poppies go on show (Arras)
Tedworth House - Ministry of Defence: The army's recovery centre
The Montague Inn - art exhibition
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