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The story of the Poppy for Remembrance Sunday 

          and Remembrance Day, 11th November.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing 

of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918,  to signal the end of World War One.

The red Remembrance Poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who was a soldier, physician and poet. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

The red poppies we wear with pride are in remembrance, not of war, but of those who gave their lives to defend our liberties and freedom. It was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.

(For more information about The British Legion click the Remembrance graphic at the foot of this page.)

“In Flanders Fields”.

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.

“For the Fallen”.

A poem called 'For the Fallen' is often read aloud during the ceremony;  the most famous stanza of which reads:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Fourth stanza of 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)

Click the photo above for a poignant YouTube 

          video of Flanders Fields, then and now.

Click the photo above for the true story

      of Christmas in the trenches 1914.

       Click the photo above for more information about Kohima Cemetery.

Another quote often read out at the ceremony is the Epitaph carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the Kohima Cemetery of 1,420 Allied War Dead maintained by the Commonwealth war Graves Commission in North Eastern India of the borders of Burma. The Cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner’s tennis court which was the scene of the Battle of the Tennis Court. originally built by the 2nd Division it was adapted for all that served in the Burma Campaign during the 2nd World War. It has become famous as the Kohima Epitaph. It reads....

“When you go home, tell them of us and say, For their tomorrow, we gave our today.”

The verse is attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875 - 1958), and it is thought to have been inspired by the epitaph written by Simonides to honour the Spartans who fell at the battle of Thermopylae in 480BC.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One.

At 11 am on 11th November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare.

Remembrance Day is on 11th November. It is a special day set aside to remember all those men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts since then. At one time the day was known as Armistice Day and was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War.

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is usually the Sunday nearest to 11th November. Special services are held at war memorials and churches all over Britain. At 11am on each Remembrance Sunday a two minute silence is observed at war memorials and other public spaces across the UK.

Life in a trench: Thousands of miles of trenches were built during World War I and, for the soldiers living in them, their day-to-day life was nothing short of horrific. Click the video above to find out what is was like!

CASUALTIES AND DEATHS DURING THE TWO WORLD WARS:

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.

The total number of deaths includes about 10 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 6 million soldiers while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead.

About two-thirds of military deaths in World War I were in battle, unlike the conflicts that took place in the 19th century when the majority of deaths were due to disease. Improvements in medicine as well as the increased lethality of military weaponry were both factors in this development. Nevertheless disease, including the Spanish flu, still caused about one third of total military deaths for all belligerents.

World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total dead ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million, making it the deadliest war in world history in absolute terms of total dead but not in terms of deaths relative to the world population. The higher figure of 85 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians killed totaled from 38 to 55 million, including 13 to 20 million from war-related disease and famine. Total military dead: from 22 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war.

Click the photo above for more information about

     the British Legion and Remembrance Sunday.

As the volunteers reached the front line, they discovered the harsh realities of trench warfare. Click the graphic above for a short video of a group of veteran Tommies remembering life in the trenches during the First World War; with original film footage.

 


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