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100 years on - the meaning of the Poppy

This year marks 100 years since the Red Poppy was worn as a symbol of remembrance.

Why was the Poppy chosen?

Prior to World War 1 there were very little poppies growing in the fields of Flanders, Belgium. The Poppy requires fertile, ploughed land to grow something that Flanders did not have. However, as the land was churned up with shelling & fighting the seeds that had previously lay dormant underground were pushed to the surface. The ground was fertilised by the blood & bones of soldiers & animals providing them with ideal conditions to flourish.

By 1915 accounts tell of a beautiful carpet of scarlet poppies & as the war continued the poppies thrived in abundance. As well as Flanders, there were also reports of them growing in Gallipoli & France.

Image via Unsplash (Paul Wickens)

They were the inspiration for John McCrae’s Poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ a poem written in 1915 following the death of his friend at the 2nd battle of Ypres

In Flanders fields the poppies blow