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How the Poppy Appeal began - courtesy of the Royal British Legion / The Ceramic Poppy Initiative

Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote these verses:

Field Cross

In Flanders' Fields
John McCrae, 1915

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.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War ended. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae's poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.

Poppy Coin

Ghostly Tommies rise up in remembrance

Silhouettes of 6ft tall WWI soldiers emerge to mark 100 years since the end of the war

Six-foot metal outlines of First World War soldiers have appeared at iconic locations like the Tower of London
Part of campaign led by former British Army head to raise £15m for armed forces and mental health charities
Community installations of Tommies will honour the 888,246 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died

By Larisa Brown Defence And Security Editor For The Daily Mail | Published: 28th February 2018 | Updated: 00:07 28th February 2018

Rising like a ghost from the earth, the Tommy stands with head bowed and rifle in hand, a poppy adorning his chest.

This silhouette of a First World War soldier, 6ft tall and made from aluminium, has appeared in the village of Penshurst, Kent. It is one of many that will be displayed across the country to mark 100 years since the end of the war and its overwhelming human cost.  The art installation, officially unveiled yesterday and called There But Not There, has seen the silhouettes appear in sentry boxes usually manned by Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London, and on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. 

The figures have also been displayed at Hearts Football Club in Edinburgh, seven of whose players lost their lives in the conflict, and the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales, to reflect the Welsh miners who enlisted. Charities want community groups to buy similar scale silhouettes for local war memorials. The public will be able to buy ten-inch versions to remember their own relatives. A poignant reminder of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died and of those who survived but suffered physical and mental scars, the silhouettes will tour the nation until Armistice Day to raise funds for a new charity called Remembered. The aim is to raise £15million for Armed Forces and mental health charities. All the money raised will be shared evenly between The Royal Foundation: Heads Together, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes: Hidden Wounds, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Project Equinox: Housing Veterans. 

The inspiration was photographer Martin Barraud’s installation of 51 clear perspex silhouettes to honour dead servicemen at the village church in Penshurst in 2016. Former British Army chief Lord Dannatt, who is leading the campaign, said: 'The poppies at the Tower of London captured the start of the national WWI commemoration – There But Not There will be the abiding concluding image. 'In buying the Tommies and silhouettes, people are not only commemorating the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers, they are also supporting the veterans of today, with all profits going to charities supporting the armed forces community.'

Remembrance Silhouette Soldier in the Snow

Sculptures of First World War soldiers are popping up all over the UK as part of a campaign to raise £15million for armed forces and mental health charities (Pictured: Tommy statue in Penhurst, Kent)

Remembrance Silhouette Soldier among the Rocks

The public can buy their own 10-inch versions made by military veterans to remember their fallen family members (Pictured: Sculpture at Giants Causeway in Bushmills, County Antrim) - images sourced from the Daily Mail courtesy & © of Brian Thompson

For more information about getting involved in the campaign, visit the There But Not There website here

Classic Mini with Poppy Livery for fund raising

Image courtesy of the British Mini Club

"Lucky enough to have the Mini in the Merryhill shopping centre again ,there till Wednesday 11/11/15 paying respect to our servicemen and woman who have given and are prepared to give their ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our great country. Wear your poppy with pride. Lest we forget."

Nottinghamshire Police Poppy

Nottinghamshire Police shows support for the Poppy initiative

2015 Poppy Coin

2015 Coin Close up

Thanks to the Press Association and the Daily Mail for the images of the 2015 coin

Competition Winning Poster

The winning poster by Forest Crescent Primary School in 2011 - wonderful simplicity and so evocative I decided to include this clever artwork as a tribute.

 

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