WW1 poppies

Poppy plucked from the trenches goes on show

BRITAIN’S oldest remembrance day poppy was on show for the first time yesterday.
Private Cecil Roughton was just 17 when he picked the flower during a bloody battle in  Arras, France, in May 1916 [1917?].
The soldier, from the  Royal Warwickshire Regiment, kept it in his notebook before sending it home to Moseley, Birmingham.
It lay forgotten for almost a century until it was donated to the  Royal British Legion.
Welsh experts have preserved the poppy in acrylic and it is on show at the  Montague Inn, Shepton Montague, Somerset.

Poppy from no man’s land found in soldier’s diary

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, of Woodford Green, 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 to his diary for safe keeping – perfectly preserving it for over 90 years.
The plant, and the illustrated war diary compiled by the infantryman during his service until 1919, have since been published as a book – Drawing Fire – complete with the pictures he drew while on the front line.


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 amidst 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 falling 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.

by John McCrae, May 1915

WW1 ‘poppy’ letter


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