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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

Ghost sculptures of WW1 soldiers erected in cemetery

BBC 9th November 2018

"Ghostlike" sculptures of soldiers who died in World War One have been erected next to their graves in a village cemetery.

- The life-size figures of 11 men have been placed in Slimbridge churchyard in Gloucestershire.
- Sculptor Jackie Lantelli created them out of chicken wire to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
- Ms Lantelli said she had always been "passionate about remembering on Remembrance Day".
- "It's 100 years and I thought we ought to do something special," she said.

Image of Wire Ghost Soldiers 2018

Image sourced from the BBC website

"I make wire sculptures of fairies, and I had the idea that I could make some wire soldiers that look ghostlike with a very thin layer of chicken wire." She said the sculptures represent the 11 fallen soldiers from the village and have been placed at the foot of the men's graves.
She added the display had caused people who have seen them to get "very emotional". "It's not just a name on a grave any more. You've got an actual physical thing, and it makes you think this was actually a person." The sculptures were on public display at St John the Evangelist Church in Slimbridge from Saturday morning until Monday evening.

Ghostly World War One soldiers beside graves remind us why we must not forget

By Robyn Darbyshire Audience Writer, Daily Mirror - 10th November 2018

Thousands of people have been moved by this poignant tribute to World War One soldiers

Description of the Wire Soldiers exhibition at St John the Evangelist Church

The Wire Soldiers
The Wire Soldiers are the creation of local artist, Jackie Lantelli
They stand at the foot of each grave where a soldier, sailor or airman of WWI or WWII
from this parish is either buried of commemorated on a family grave.
Please treat the soldiers with respect.
They represent the men from this village who fell in both wars.

Remembrance Day is tomorrow - and we'll all be stopping to silently think about the enormous sacrifices our forefathers made for us. Sculptor Jackie Lantelli has created a stunning tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, by putting wire soldiers beside graves to look like their ghosts. The sculptures represent the 11 fallen soldiers from the village in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and have been placed at the foot of the men's actual graves as a stark reminder of the war's human impact. Photographer Nikki Phillips posted her pictures of the art on Facebook, where it's since gone viral - and thousands of people have commented to say how moved they are.

A pair of Ghost Soldiers by a headstone

People called the ghostly figures "spine-tingling", "eerie" and "haunting" - with many saying the sculptures moved them "to tears", took their "breath away" and gave them "goosebumps".

- One person said: "Absolutely stunning, what a tribute to the fallen, bless them all for the lives they gave, for the life they lost. Their future they missed out on. Forever grateful. We will remember them until our dying breath....."
- Another wrote: "This has brought a tear to my eye. Lest we forget, those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom".
- "Wow just amazing. The closest I've ever seen to the soldiers actually being there to oversee their own memorial," a third commented.
- Sculptor Jackie Lantelli created them out of chicken wire to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

Speaking to BBC Gloucestershire, she said: "It's 100 years and I thought we ought to do something special". Jackie added that the display had caused people who have seen them to get "very emotional". "It's not just a name on a grave any more. You've got an actual physical thing, and it makes you think this was actually a person. The village's local history society worked on the project.

Wire soldiers tribute in St John the Evangelist Churchyard

All images sourced from the Daily Mirror article are © of Nikki Phillips and reproduced with thanks

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: 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

Tin Tommy's ready for a scrap! 20ft metal soldier is a haunting reminder of the First World War

- The ghostly figure - known as the haunting - stands at more than six metres
- It is made from items including spanners, car jacks, brake discs and horse shoes
- Blacksmith and artist Martin Galbavy took three months to create the soldier
- Its corroded complexion reflects the weathered look of a soldier weary from war
- The artwork is a commission for private clients who plan to display it next year

By Belinda Robinson For Mail Online | Published: 4th January 2017 | Updated: 5th January 2017

An imposing figure of a First World War soldier has been created from scrap metal to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

(L) Imposing: The ghostly figure - known as the haunting - stands at more than six metres and is made entirely of scrap metal - image © Mark Passmore / Apex | (R) Measurement: Chris Hannam stands on a ladder with his tape measure to take a more detailed look at the giant soldier - image © PA

The ghostly figure - known as the haunting - stands at more than six metres and is made from items including spanners, car jacks, brake discs and horse shoes. It is the brainchild of blacksmith and artist Martin Galbavy, who took three months to create the soldier at Dorset Forge and Fabrication, near Sherborne in Dorset. The artwork is a commission for private clients who plan to display him next year, the centenary of the end of the First World War. Chris Hannam, owner of the forge, said: 'The head and the hands are purposely made from sheet metal but everything else is from scrap.

Close up of the detailed work comprising a foot

Detailed: Another of the soldier's shoes show the incredible attention to detail that went into this stunning masterpiece - image © PA

'He has been in our yard and we are having a steady stream of people coming to have a look, and they are amazed. 'It is causing a lot of interest. Within 12 months people should be able to see him in his new location.' Mr Hannam said the clients who commissioned the soldier wanted him to have the look of a ghost.

(L) Ghostly: Mr Hannam said the clients who commissioned the giant soldier wanted him to have the look of a ghost and (R) Height difference: Standing at 20-feet high the soldier dwarfs Chris Hannam who is pictured here at its feet - images © Mark Passmore / Apex

'Part of the story behind this figure is that it is a ghost of a soldier, and I think Martin has captured that look very well,' he added.

Peeking out from behind a hedge

Peekaboo: 'The Haunting' towers over a fence in the courtyard of Dorset Forge and Fabrication in North Wootton, Dorset - image © PA

A benign look from the finished product

Craftmanship: Each piece of metal has a corroded complexion reflecting the weathered look of a soldier weary from war - image © PA

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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