An attempt at describing and dating British poppies: A ‘Work in Progress’ List.
Including a FOOTNOTE relating to other British FLOWER DAYs.
“Quotes” denote descriptions discovered, in relation to poppy emblems 1921-44.
1921: MADAME GUÉRIN. It all started with Madame Guérin’s ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ idea. After taking her idea to Field Marshal Douglas Haig and the British Legion, Madame Guérin’s poppies (made by the widows and orphans of the devastated areas of France) were distributed on British streets on 11 November 1921 – on the country’s first Poppy Day.
Shown above: one of Poppy Lady Madame Guérin’s 1921 silk poppies – preserved on a book page, along with Canadian John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ (albeit entitled here “Poppy Day”). The poppy was made by the widows and orphans of the devastated areas of France, for Great Britain’s first ‘Remembrance Day’ on 11 November 1921. This image is owned by Martin Brownett© and it is reproduced with his permission.
“There is an added value to these poppies in the fact that they are made by the women and children in the devastated areas of France.” (05.10.1921. Nottingham Evening Post); “The poppies which will be sold are being made by peasants in some of the devastated French villages. They are made in two qualities – in silk and in mercerised cotton.” (05.11.1921. Tamworth Herald).
Right from that first British Poppy Day, the British Legion had to worry about fake poppies: “Unauthorised persons are selling paper poppies in Leeds and pocketing the money.” (11.11.1921, Leeds Mercury). BUT, in Kent, paper poppies were being made and distributed with good will: “… the helpers at the Committee Room were working hard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. making poppies of scarlet paper to supply the continuous demand of the seller.” (18 November 1921, Kent & Sussex Courier).
The poppy shown above belongs to the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, North Yorkshire. This poppy and its accompanying note from Field Marshal Douglas Haig were laid at the London Cenotaph on 11 November 1921. In British newspaper reports of the time, Haig is credited with originating the term “Remembrance Day” AND the poppy idea.
1922: “HAIG’S FUND”. “the Flanders’ Poppy … bears a small paper label containing a registered number (09.11.1922. Hull Daily Mail); “poppies should only be bought from sellers appointed by Earl Haig’s Fund, who will wear the official badge”; “centres of which bear the words “Haig’s Fund.” (02.11.1922. Sheffield Independent).
Is the above an example of the first/1922 British Legion “Remembrance Day” Poppy? It has a paper label but, however, no registered number. It is reminiscent of Poppy Lady Madame Guérin’s 1921 French-made poppy. This is a delicate, smaller artificial poppy – measuring approx. 2.75 inches in total length. The ‘sliver’ of an image on the right hand side depicts the scarlet red colour both sides of the poppy would have originally been The poppy was acquired with the smaller spray of artificial forget-me-nots already entwined around its stem.
1923: “HAIG’S FUND”. “The poppies … have a green button with lettering, “Haig’s Fund.” They also have a tab, “British Legion Remembrance Day.” Two different styles of poppies will be on sale, one being a silk poppy, which is to be sold at one shilling and upwards. The other is for smaller contributions. …” (09.11.1923. Dundee Evening Telegraph); “The Haig fund poppy has a green centre on which are printed the words “Haig’s Fund,” (10.11.1923. Northern Whig, Northern Ireland); “… penny cardboard emblems …” (12.11.1923. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette).
1924: “HAIG’S FUND”. “the poppy with either a black or green centre”; “stamped with the words “Haig’s Fund.”; “… 25,000,000 poppies … silk; lawn; thin card (the latter are manufactured expressly for wearing by children.)” (07.11.1924. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer); “… 200,000 scarlet poppies a day, in lawn, silk or paper …”. (30.10.1924. Aberdeen Journal); “large silk poppies; small silk poppies; muslin poppies; children’s card poppies; wreath poppies; giant poppies; sprays” in 1924 (01.09.1925, Gloucester Citizen).
The Imperial War Museum has, within its collection: A “Handmade poppy with red fabric petals, green plastic centre and wire stem, underneath the poppy flower is a red card label printed as follows ‘EARL HAIG’S APPEAL FOR EX SERVICE MEN OF ALL RANKS’”. [No image]
The Imperial War Museum has, within its collection: A “Handmade red fabric poppy with a black plastic centre marked ‘HAIG’S FUND’, green stamens, a green fabric leaf and a green paper covered wire stem.” [No image]
1925: “HAIG’S FUND”. “Every genuine poppy had on the button in the centre of the flower the words, “Haig’s Fund.”” (16.11.1925. Derby Daily Telegraph)
1926: “HAIG’S FUND”. “new paper poppy” (04.06.1926. The Scotsman); “Each one had a black button in the centre which bore the words “Haig’s Fund.””. (03.11.1926. Dundee Evening Telegraph).
In March 1926, the Lady Haig Poppy Factory was opened in Edinburgh.
1927: “HAIG’S FUND”. “Metal centre”; “formed out of lawn, sateen, silk, and paper” (17.04.1927. Sunday Post); “EARL HAIG POPPIES. SHOULD THEY ALL BE THE SAME SIZE? … some people refused to buy because the poppies were not all alike. (15.09.1927. Hull Daily Mail); “… special metal centre on which stand out in relief the words “Haig’s Fund.” (04.11.1927. Sheffield Independent).
1928: “HAIG’S FUND”. “words “Haig’s Fund” are printed in the centre of the poppy.” (09.11.1928. Aberdeen Journal)
The first ‘Field of Remembrance’ in Great Britain: at Westminster Abbey, London, England. “A “Field of Remembrance” will be made on the grass outside Westminster Abbey …” (10.11.1928., Western Morning News); “Last year, in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, a “Field of Remembrance” was instituted … … It was thought that many people would like to purchase two poppies, one to plant in the Field and one to wear” (09.11.1929, Driffield Times)
In 1928, British Flanders Poppies were “sold in Paris along the Riviera and everywhere where a few British” were found. (10.11.1928. Hull Daily Mail)
1929: “HAIG’S FUND”. “Lady Haig warned the public against buying German and other foreign poppies” (07.10.1929. Aberdeen Journal); “The official poppy bears the inscription “Haig’s Fund” …” (18.10.1929. Western Morning News); “The silk poppies cost about 1s. to make in the factories, but there was still an inclination in some parts to sell them cheaper. Each silk poppy should be sold for 2s. 6d., or a good deal more.”; “A Garden of Remembrance” suggestion by Lady Haig. (18.10.1929. Northampton Mercury); “A new production this year from the poppy factories was in the form of a large poppy mounted as a motor mascot” (26.10.1929. The Scotsman).
1930: “HAIG’S FUND” or “HF”. “usual black metal centre bearing the words “Haig’s Fund” in the larger poppies and the letters “H.F.” in the smaller ones.” (1930.11.10. Northern Whig, Northern Ireland).
The tag attached to the poppy shown above bears the inscription ‘EARL HAIG’S APPEAL For Ex-Service Men of all Ranks and their Dependents’ on one side; and ‘BRITISH LEGION “REMEMBRANCE DAY ” (Reg. No 689 752)’ on the other. The poppy is made of two layers of different fabric: the under layer is a moulded ‘bowl’ and the upper possibly silk. It bears a green fabric leaf; faux stamens; and a metal centre bearing “HAIG’S FUND”.
“Interwar”: The Imperial War Museum has, in its collection, an “Interwar” poppy:
“Physical description: flower, stem and tag poppy (95 mm in diameter) made of cloth strengthened with wire at the stem. Embossed in the centre is the inscription ‘HAIG’S FUND’. A tag attached to the poppy bears the inscription ‘EARL HAIG’S APPEAL For Ex-Service Men of all Ranks and their Dependents BRITISH LEGION “REMEMBRANCE DAY” (Reg. No 689 752)’.
A) embossed in the centre b) printed on the tag
a) HAIG’S FUND b) EARL HAIG’S APPEAL For Ex-Service Men of all Ranks and their Dependents BRITISH LEGION ‘REMEMBRANCE DAY (Reg. No 689 752)”
In 1930 “… There were two novelties introduced this year. One was a mascot for motor cars … a small five poppy button-hole …” (08.11.1930. Nottingham Evening Post).
1931: “HAIG’S FUND” or “HF”. “On a metal centre in raised letters the poppies bear the words “Haig’s Fund.” (30.10.1931. Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser); H.F: “They were made up as ladies’ buttonholes” (26.11.1932. Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian).
1932: “HAIG’S FUND” or “HF”. “… some poppies had gone out with the button in the centre which did not contain the words “Haig’s Fund” and which did not comply with instructions …”; “one of the sprays which came out this year with “H.F.” on it.” (26.11.1932. Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian)
‘In Remembrance’ Crosses: This is believed to be the first year that the British Legion began distributing small wooden crosses, for the “Fields” and “Gardens” of Remembrance. No earlier reference to them has been found. “… GARDEN CEREMONY. Small wooden crosses bearing a poppy in the centre are to be sold …” (04.11.1932. Derby Daily Telegraph); “… in this “field” small wooden crosses carrying poppies and the inscription “In remembrance” may be placed to the memory of fallen Servicemen. …” (08.11.1932. Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail).
The first ‘Field of Remembrance’ in Scotland, in Edinburgh, at St. John’s Church in Princes Street and first sale of wooden poppy crosses there. “… in Edinburgh, on Friday there is to be, for the first time, a “Field of Remembrance.” … in addition to the usual poppy emblems, small wooden crosses bearing a Haig poppy in the centre will be on sale.” (08.11.1932., Edinburgh Evening News)
1933: “HAIG FUND” or “HF”. “Poppy on Every Motor-Car. Emblems of Waterproof Material”; “cluster of poppies” (01.11.1933. Lincolnshire Echo); “copyright button bearing the words “Haig Fund.”” (04.11.1933. Bury Free Press); “Purchasers should see that on Saturday next they buy no other than the Poppies marked in the centre “Haig Fund”.” (10.11.1933. Western Daily Press). N.B. There is no “’s” added to “Haig” in either of these articles.
1934: “HAIG FUND” or “HF”. “See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.” (01.11.1934. The Berwick Advertiser); buy only the Official Poppy, which contains a centre stamped “HAIG FUND” OR “H.F.” (05.11.1934. Portsmouth Evening News). N.B. There is no “’s” added to “Haig” in either of these articles.
1935: “HAIG FUND” or “HF”. “See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.” (07.11.1935. The Berwick Advertiser) N.B. There is no “’s” added to “Haig” here; “artificial silk”; “cotton”; “red crepe paper”; “cardboard”. (08.11.1935. Dover Express).
Upon acquisition, it was said that the “HAIG FUND’ poppy spray shown above dated from 1935. However, the man-made central button is similar to that under “1958?” … further research may prove or disprove either or both dates.
1936: “HAIG’S FUND” or “HF”. “buy the poppy which contains a centre stamped “HAIG’S FUND” or H.F.” (02.11.1936. Portsmouth Evening News)
It appears that it became the custom, for Great Britain (and the United States of America), to send some of their respective Remembrance Poppies to be sold in France. With regard to the Great Britain, British poppies were sold on Armistice Day, 11 November. In 1936, however, yellow poppies were sold in aid of Haig’s Fund, instead of the scarlet red ones – a decision which was politically led. (06.11.1936. Dundee Evening Telegraph).
1937: “HAIG FUND” or “HF”. See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.” (04.11.1937. The Berwick Advertiser); distinguishable by a metal centre embossed with the words “Haig Fund”. (06.11.1937. Gloucestershire Echo). N.B. There is no “’s” added to “Haig” in either of these articles.
1938: “HAIG’S FUND” or “HF”. “buy the poppy which contains a centre stamped “HAIG’S FUND” or H.F.” (02.11.1938. Portsmouth Evening News).
The above image is taken from the photograph shown below, which was featured on a page within a 1939 edition of ‘The Great War. I was there’ magazine (Amalgamated Press Ltd). The following text was featured below the image:
“HE REMEMBERED HIS COMRADES IN ARMS. The Field of Remembrance close to the North Door of Westminster Abbey has in recent years become almost as important on Armistice Day as the Cenotaph. Above, ex-Private H. E. Day, of the 15th Hussars, who lost a leg during the War, is standing in the Field of Remembrance in the early dawn of November 11, 1938, selling the little wooden crosses with a poppy attached which are planted in the grass plot by relations and friends of the dead.”
1939: “HAIG FUND” “Poppy Day is going ahead in spite of the war.”; “suggestion is made that this year British people might buy two poppies, one as a tribute to the men of 1914-18 and the other to their sons who are serving today.” (14.10.1939. Surrey Advertiser); “Many sympathisers of the Poppy Day appeal may be rather concerned because they cannot obtain certain types of emblems, such as sprays and motor-mascots.” (04.11.1939. Evening Despatch, Birmingham); “small silk poppies made up into attractive sprays for our coats, the familiar single ones of all sizes” (04.11.1939. Hull Daily Mail)
In 1939, the King gave “instructions that French cornflowers as well as Haig Fund poppies are to be used in his wreath for November 11th. …” (06.11.1939. Lancashire Evening Post). It appears there may have been a mutual agreement of sentiment between France and Great Britain, of sorts, because cardboard pins or épinglette portraying the poppy and le bleuet were distributed or “sold” in France in 1939.
1940: “HAIG’S FUND”?? “Fewer types of poppies. In case factory is bombed.” (11.10.1940. Birmingham Daily Gazette); “In other years large consignments of poppies have gone to British communities overseas, including fifty-three foreign countries. Now that, in most cases, despatch to foreign places is difficult or impossible, it is hoped that the loss of revenue will be made up by purchasers here.” (07.11.1940. Birmingham Daily Post); “Members of the public are urged to buy two poppies this year (08.11.1940. Liverpool Evening Express).
1941: “HAIG’S FUND”?? “no shortage of poppies this year”; “fewer of the more expensive types.” (01.11.1941. Cheshire Observer); “Silk is used for the 2s. 6d. motor waxed sprays and poppies retailed at 1s. and 6d. The cheaper type of poppy is made from lawn. (07.11.1941. Nottingham Evening Post)
1942: “HAIG’S FUND”. AUSTERITY. “smaller”; “fewer petals”; “Some of the small poppies have been made of printed card”; to salve as many poppies as possible”. (29.10.1942. Birmingham Daily Post). “40 million” “Austerity poppies”; “only four millions will be of the more attractive silk types. And even these will be smaller than usual.”; “The wire stalk is giving place to an ingeniously contrived cardboard stalk, while the well-known metal centre is being replaced by a painted paper centre”. (31.10.1942. Burnley Express). The ‘Austerity’ poppies were made in silk and cotton. The cotton ones may not have possessed a green leaf.
1943: “HAIG’S FUND”. AUSTERITY. “war-time “austerity” type. The one-time wire stalk has given place to an ingeniously designed cardboard stalk. The well-known “Haig Fund” metal poppy centre is now replaced by a printed paper centre. The petals are smaller, while some of the poppies which previously had two layers of petals now have one layer only”; “Poppy wreaths” – “There are six new and attractive war-time designs”. (06.11.1943. Coventry Standard).
“HAIG’S FUND”. DECORATED CROSSES. “A new feature of the British Legion’s Armistice Day Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey will be miniature wooden crosses decorated with the emblems …” (27 October 1943. Lincolnshire Echo)
1944: “HAIG’S FUND”. AUSTERITY. “majority will be the same austerity poppies as last year, some are of better quality than on former wartime Poppy Days”. (20.10.1944. Derby Daily Telegraph); “the shilling silk poppies on sale this year will be an improvement on those available hitherto, though some of last year’s will be in circulation. (07.11.1944. Hull Daily Mail).
1945: MOTORISTS. CYCLISTS. BETTER QUALITY POPPIES. It was the 25 Anniversary of Poppy Day. “Nearly 1,000,000 poppy emblems for motorists alone have been made … the emblem is now a large single poppy instead of the former three small ones.” (1.11.1945, Manchester Evening News); it the new large car poppies were not available, “… smaller waxed ones intended for cycles, and these, one of the workers told me, can be made into sprays for motorists if required.” and “… poppies seem to me to be of a much better quality than they were during the late war years.” (19.10.1945, Liverpool Echo).
1958?: “HAIG FUND”. Documents accompanying the “Haig Fund” Remembrance Poppy, shown below, are dated 1958. They all once belonged to “Flight Officer Peter Walter Clark (906757)”. The poppy is made from two layers of scarlet red felt. However, the man-made central button is similar to that under “1935” … further research may prove or disprove either or both dates.
1994: The Royal British Legion Remembrance Poppy’s centre changed from ‘Haig Fund’ to ‘Poppy Appeal’.
2006: The ‘Earl Haig Fund Scotland’ organisation changed its trading name to that of ‘Poppyscotland’.
05.10.1921. Nottingham Evening Post [sic]:
“THE FLANDERS POPPY. EARL HAIG AND REMEMBRANCE DAY – NOV. 11TH. Field-Marshal Earl Haig, President of the British Legion, desires that Armistice Day (November 11th) should be a “real remembrance day” and proposed to launch several schemes in aid of his appeal for ex-service men of all ranks. One of these is the wearing of the Flanders Poppy to the memory of the men who rest beneath the flower on the fields of Flanders.
This symbol has been accepted in Australia, Canada, and the United States of America as the National Memorial flower to be worn on “Remembrance Day.” There is an added value to these poppies in the fact that they are made by the women and children in the devastated areas of France.
The profits derived from the sale of these flowers will be used by the British Legion to alleviate distress among our ex-service men. Those interested in the project are invited to communicate with Captain W.G. Willcox, organising secretary, Earl Haig’s Appeal, 1, Regent-street, London, S.W.1.”
05.11.1921. Tamworth Herald [sic]:
““Poppy Day.” ARMISTICE CELEBRATION.
The British Legion is making elaborate arrangements to ensure that “Poppy Day,” which will be celebrated on Armistice Day, shall be a function worthy of its surroundings.
The Tamworth Rural District Council have decided to take a number of poppies, and have appointed a committee to organize the sale of them in the various villages in their area.
The poppies which will be sold are being made by peasants in some of the devastated French villages. They are made in two qualities – in silk and in mercerised cotton. It is intended to make “Poppy Day” an annual function.
REMEMBRANCE DAY, November 11, 1921.
To the Editor of the Herald. Sir,–The Kingsbury and District Branch of the British Legion earnestly appeals to the inhabitants of Kingsbury and district to loyally respond to the efforts of the Ladies’ Committee re the sale of poppies on Armistice day, November 11, 1921, which will be sold in the villages and towns of Great Britain and the Allied Countries.
We sincerely trust, in the words of Field Marshal Earl Haig, that every member of the community will wear a poppy on that day, as a token of remembrance and respect for the fallen, and a sign that the memory of those heroes is and always will be with us.
These poppies will be made by women and children of the devastated areas of France, by which those sorely stricken people will benefit, and the profits made on the sale will alleviate a large amount of distress amongst our own ex-service men and their dependants, and the widows and orphans of those who died. In conjunction with the Rural District Council, we, the undersigned, most earnestly appeal for your loyal support.—We are, yours etc.,
W. TATE. REG. H. STICKLAND. Hon. Secretary, British Legion. THOS. PRINCE, Hon. Treasurer. J. J. CARTER, British Legion. ENOCH FOSTER, jun., British Legion. SYDNEY RADFORD, British Legion.”
11.11.1921. Leeds Mercury
“POPPY PROFITEERS. The British Legion in Leeds wish to draw the attention of the public to the fact that
Unauthorised persons are selling paper poppies in Leeds and pocketing the money. The official poppies are made in silk and cotton.
A statement was issued yesterday by Earl Haig from Poppy Day H.Q. “It seems inconceivable,” says Earl Haig, “that private individuals should thus fragrantly attempt to profiteer by trying to foist upon the public these imitations of the sacred emblems which are issued exclusively by ‘Earl Haig’s Appeal.””
18.11.1921. Kent & Sussex Courier
“… Unfortunately the British Legion Headquarters had not sent sufficient poppies to meet the demand and of the 10,000 asked for by Tunbridge Wells only 6,000 supplied. These were all sold early in the day, and the helpers at the Committee Room were working hard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. making poppies of scarlet paper to supply the continuous demand of the seller.”
02.11.1922. Sheffield Independent [sic]:
“OUR LETTER BAG. FLANDERS POPPIES.
Sir.—In reference to the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, I am instructed by Field-Marshal Earl Haig to ask you if you will assist him in his effort to raise funds to cope with the great distress which exists among ex-Servicemen of all ranks and their dependents, and the widows and orphans of the fallen.
In order to sell 30,000000 of Flanders Poppies a very large number of sellers will be required, and we appeal to those ladies who so freely gave their services at home while our men were fighting overseas, to come forward again to help these men by volunteering to sell the sacred Flanders Poppy emblems.
Ladies who desire to sell Flanders Poppies are asked to communicate with Capt. W. G. Willcox, organising secretary of Earl Haig’s (British Legion) Appeal, 1, Regent street, London, S.W.1. The addresses of local committees will be gladly given by Capt. Willcox.
A very large number of Flanders Poppy wreaths will again this year be placed upon the Cenotaph in London and War memorials throughout the country, as well as memorials erected by institutions, public companies, and private firms. Already many orders have been received.
Flanders Poppy wreaths are obtainable from Earl Haig’s Fund, 33, St. James Square (temporary Poppy Day headquarters), from which address an illustrated leaflet showing sizes and prices will be sent on application.
As far as practicable, this year Flanders Poppies have been made by our own severely disabled ex-Servicemen to a special design. Purchasers are warned that on “Remembrance Day” poppies should only be bought from sellers appointed by Earl Haig’s Fund, who will wear the official badge and sell poppies the centres of which bear the words “Haig’s Fund.”
G. Willcox, Capt., Organising Secretary, Appeal and Publicity Dept., British Legion.”
09.11.1922. Hull Daily Mail
““REMEMBRANCE DAY,” 1922.
It is understood that certain retail shops in Hull have obtained supplies of artificial Poppies for sale for private gain. The public are informed that the Flanders’ Poppy, which is being sold in the streets on Saturday next for the benefit of distressed ex-Service men, bears a small paper label containing a registered number.
These Flanders’ Poppies are now on sale at various stalls in the Market Hall, etc., and at the British Legion Headquarters, Anlaby-road, and in each case the vendor has an official badge and the moneys received are handed over to the Fund.
Anyone wishing to purchase supplies before Saturday, and who are desirous that their remittance shall be handed over to the “Remembrance Day” Fund, should take particular care to purchase Flanders’ Poppies only. There are ample supplies this year to meet all demands.”
09.11.1923. Dundee Evening Telegraph [sic]:
“DUNDEE’S “POPPY” WEEK-END. Over 1200 Collectors to be on Duty. The Remembrance Day Services.
This week-end will be a period of patriotic thanksgiving and remembrance of the glorious dead of the Great War.
To-morrow (Saturday) is Poppy Day—in Flanders Field the poppies grow—and over 1200 helpers of the British Legion will endeavour to sell 105,000 poppies in Dundee and suburbs.
Sunday is Remembrance Day, and the national two minutes’ silence in memory of the gallant dead will be observed in all the churches in Dundee, followed in the afternoon by a mass memorial service in Caird Hall, organised by the British Legion.
Everybody will wear a poppy to-morrow in token of the great anniversary, and arrangements in Dundee are being made with a view to this ideal being achieved.
A total of 105,000 poppies are in stock, and are to be distributed to sixteen centres, headquarters being at Albert Institute. … … …
In various centres announcements are being made to the effect that large quantities of German-made poppies have been sent to this country, and may be on sale. Inquiries made in Dundee to-day show that so far there has been no indication of the presence of German-made “pirate poppies” in the city. The poppies to be sold on behalf of the British Legion to-morrow are made by ex-service men, and have a green button with lettering, “Haig’s Fund.” They also have a tab, “British Legion Remembrance Day.” Two different styles of poppies will be on sale, one being a silk poppy, which is to be sold at one shilling and upwards. The other is for smaller contributions.
The collectors for the Haig Fund will each carry a permit as required by the city bye-laws.
Lord Haig has issued a warning against buying the tokens from any but collectors who have in their possession a box labelled “Earl Haig’s Fund,” as there is reason to believe that large supplies have been dumped from Germany, from the sale of which the fund will earn no benefit. … …”
10.11.1923. Northern Whig [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Today a great appeal will go out to the British public to support Earl Haig’s fund for ex-service men who are in necessitous circumstances. Thousands—one might safely say millions—of little red poppies, the emblem of the fund, will be sold in all the cities of the kingdom, and, as in previous years, the sale is expected to exceed the supplies.
A grave warning has been issued by the promoters of the fund to the public to be careful that they do not buy faked flowers from sellers who are acting for their own personal gain. In this respect it is not without irony to lean that a considerable number of cheap-manufactured poppies somewhat similar to the official ones have been send over from Germany for the purpose of providing would be defrauders with the where-withal to defraud. When one remembers why we have a remembrance day such action is typically German. That greatly used and muchly abused request “Don’t rub it in” seems particularly appropriate in this instance. Anyway, the promoters of the Earl Haig’s appeal give the public a guide in getting hold of the genuine article.
The Haig fund poppy has a green centre on which are printed the words “Haig’s Fund,” and they are sold by ladies wearing a poppy badge marked “Official seller.” In addition they carry the official collecting-box, with “Earl Haig’s Fund” clearly shown.”
12.11.1923. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette [sic]:
“EXMOUTH. The Remembrance Day sale of Flanders poppies was conducted in Exmouth on Saturday by the ladies of the Cosmos Club, who found a cordial response from the townspeople. Over 8,000 poppies, about five-eighths of which were penny cardboard emblems were ordered, and most of the stock was cleared by mid-day. … …”
07.11.1924. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer [sic]:
“BRITISH LEGION APPEAL FUND. THE OFFICIAL POPPY.
Sir,–May I be permitted to issue a serious warning in connection with the sale of Flanders Poppies for Field-Marshall Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund? There is only one kind of poppy that will assist the cause of distressed ex-servicemen, their dependents, and the widows and children of the fallen—the poppy with either a green or black centre of registered design, stamped with the words “Haig’s Fund.” In the past other types of poppies have been on sale—poppies made for commercial gain, and yielding no profit to the Field-Marshal’s fund. I respectfully ask the public to pay particular attention to this—otherwise they may be deceived into paying generously for a poppy thinking that they were contributing to Lord Haig’s fund. The genuine poppy is greatly recognised, and all authorised sellers have been instructed to give purchasers the opportunity of satisfying themselves that the genuine article is being offered them.
The Flanders Poppies are made in the British Legion factory by nearly 200 severely disabled ex-servicemen, who are employed all the year round on this work. Some 25,000,000 poppies will be on sale this year—made of silk, lawn, or thin cardboard (the latter are manufactured expressly for wearing by children). The amount of material used is approximately 22 miles of silk and 42 miles of lawn, while over 200 miles of green fringe (for the stems and foliage) have been used. … …
Yours, etc., W. G. Willcox, Captain, Secretary Appeals Dept., British Legion, 143, Piccadilly, W.1, Nov. 5.”
30.10.1924. Aberdeen Journal [sic]:
“MAKING THE POPPIES. DISABLED MEN PREPARE FOR NOVEMBER 11.
A big push is being made in the poppy workshops in Old Kent Road, London, in preparation for November 11.
Two hundred workers, all seriously disabled ex-service men, are skilfully fashioning something like 200,000 scarlet poppies a day, in lawn, silk, or paper. … …”
01.09.1925. Gloucester Citizen – reference 1924 [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Result of British Legion’s 1924 Appeal.
At the time when Poppy Day Committees throughout the country are about to be formed in readiness for next Poppy Day, the full report by the British Legion of last year’s great appeal on behalf of ex-Service men of all ranks makes appropriate and interesting reading. … …
That the organisation of Poppy Day was a work of great magnitude was proved by the following figures, showing the number of Flanders Poppies actually despatched from the poppy warehouse, as well as quantities of publicity and other literature issued for use on the day:–1,938,524 large silk poppies; 3,905,267 small silk poppies; 10,521,993 muslin poppies; 5,171,103 children’s card poppies; 46,700 wreath poppies; 11,418 giant poppies; 26,973 sprays; 22,109 large posters; 120,391 small posters; 163,785 window bills; 117,852 motor car bills; 772,052 leaflets; 147,306 sellers’ badges; 195,944 collecting box labels; 56,278 collecting boxes; 4,397 lantern slides. … …”
16.11.1925. Derby Daily Telegraph [sic]:
“SPURIOUS POPPIES. USED IN DERBY CORPORATION WREATH. BRITISH LEGION PROTEST.
Poppies which had not been made by disabled men employed under Earl Haig’s fund, entered into the composition of the wreath placed on the Derby war memorial last week for the Mayor and Corporation. The fact was revealed at the annual dinner of the British Legion at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday evening, when a protest was entered and an assurance given that those who had charge of the matter acted quite innocently. … …
Commercialism had entered into the making of poppies, and it was damnable and wicked that the wreath placed on the Cenotaph should have contained spurious flowers. This must never occur again and the matter would be fully enquired into. … … Every genuine poppy had on the button in the centre of the flower the words, “Haig’s Fund.” … …”
04.06.1926. The Scotsman [sic]:
“Poppy Day Plans.
It is early days to be thinking of Poppy Day, but not too early for Lady Haig, to whose energy much of its success in former years is due.
Yesterday being a Ladies’ Day at the Edinburgh Rotary Club luncheon, Lady Haig was the honoured guest, and at an informal meeting held at the North British Station Hotel in the afternoon she took occasion to discuss some of the plans for next Remembrance Day with the ladies connected with the Club.
Rotarians are full of ideas as to how their help can best be given. It is evident, for one thing, that there will be an intensive campaign among shopkeepers to prevent the sale this year of poppies other than those made in the factories by disabled British soldiers. Owing to the demand last year being greater than the home supply, there was a good deal of foreign competition, which it is hoped in future to avoid. Lady Haig mentioned that she herself saw in one shop a poppy offered for sale which had been made in Germany. While there is no wish at this time of day to continue old animosities, this does seem, to say the least of it, contrary to the intention of the promoters and the public, which is entirely to commemorate the fallen in the most practical manner by providing work for our own surviving, disabled soldiers.
Songs in the Factory.
The obvious way out of the difficulty is to produce so many poppies at home that there is no need to have recourse to foreign countries. In this connection, Colonel McLean gave the ladies a graphic account of the efforts which are being made in the Canongate factory, where 29 disabled Scottish soldiers are hard at it, turning out as many poppies as they can against the great day, and “singing at their work.” The number they have made to date is upwards of 120,000. All the men were unemployed before the factory stated, and the average disablement is 76 per cent,–in some cases it is 100. Lady Haig says it is a pleasure to see them at work, and she thinks they specially enjoy a new paper poppy which she has herself designed, because it gives them an opportunity of bringing out their own individuality. It is suggested that probably one type of poppy—this new paper one—may be adopted universally for selling in the streets this year, the more expensive larger flowers being reserved for table or shop window decorations. Shops will probably be asked to exhibit a card stating that they show none but the genuine Earl Haig poppies.
The part assigned to the ladies of the Rotary Club yesterday was a house-to-house visitation in the capital. Conveners for the various wards were elected, and it is proposed to keep this collection separate this year from the usual collection in the streets.”
03.11.1926. Dundee Evening Telegraph [sic]:
“COUNTESS HAIG AND POPPY DAY. Appeal To Dundee To Help Disabled Ex-Service Men.
Countess Haig of Bemersyde paid a special visit to Dundee to-day for the purpose of stirring up interest in Poppy Day, which is to be held in the city on Saturday, and to appeal for workers on behalf of the Earl Haig Fund for Disabled Ex-Service Men. Lady Haig addressed a meeting of ladies in the Guild Hall. … …
Great difficulty was experienced in getting collectors, and she appealed for more workers. … …”
Reference was made to the poppy factory in Edinburgh: “There were at present 30 men employed and there was a waiting list of many hundreds. People should be careful that they were buying the genuine Haig poppy. Each one had a black button in the centre which bore the words “Haig’s Fund.” … …
Poppy Cuttings Sold
A quantity of poppy cuttings suitable for Christmas decoration were exhibited, and the ex-Lord Provost created great hilarity by selling them by auction. He sold them all in a few minutes, and realised the sum of £4 7s 6d in bids of 10s to 7s 6d, and the whole concern was worth about 3d. … …”
9.11.1926. Western Daily Press [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. “The slogan for Armistice Day is, “Be sure it is a Haig Poppy.” People desiring to help the British Legion should see that the centre-piece is a button bearing the words, “Haig’s Fund,” and should refuse to buy others manufactured for private gain.”
17.04.1927. Sunday Post [sic]:
“POPPY MAKING IN EDINBURGH. SPLENDID PROGRESS OF NEW INDUSTRY.
Started little more than a year ago by Colonel A. C. H. Maclean, C.B.E., late of the Royal Scots and the R.A.F., so successful has been the Scottish Poppy Factory in Edinburgh that it is to be trebled in size. … …
In addition to poppies, Colonel Maclean’s staff of disabled soldiers are producing up to a thousand wreaths of various pleasing designs for Armistice Day.
“The unique feature of these wreaths,” remarked the Colonel in a talk with a “Sunday Post” representative, “is that the leaves are grown in Edinburgh and preserved in the poppy factory. This is the first time this has been successfully done in Scotland.
The leaves are laurel and ivy, and the staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens has been very helpful, while the dyers have been equally kind in assisting us in regard to the preserving and dyeing.
As Scottish As Possible
“The making of the poppy centres bearing the inscription “Haig’s Fund,” necessitated one of the staff going to Germany to study their manufacture. The poppies are formed out of lawn, sateen, silk, and paper, and all the materials are made in Britain. One firm has done a great deal of experimenting to find a suitable silk, which they are now supplying to us at cost price.
The policy of the factory is to buy all our goods in Scotland so far as possible. In former years a lot of material for Flanders’ poppies had to be obtained from France and the Continent, but now it is entirely British.
“Another unique feature in our poppies is that the wax, of which the seeds are made, is made in Edinburgh on an idea evolved by the staff in the factory.
“There are quite a number of different processes to be gone through in the production of a single poppy. The silk flower has to be stamped out by a cutter, dyed, put through a machine to give it the crinkles, and then made up into the flower. The centre has to be cut and stamped, cocoanut fibre put in, and the tips dipped in boiling wax to make the seed. The process, allowing for the drying after dyeing, takes forty-eight hours.
Work for Disabled Men.
“We are at present employing thirty-seven disabled men who were all out of work and largely unemployable in ordinary commercial life. The men are paid on a bonus of production, the average wage of the factory being £2 15s a week.
“The factory is one of the only two in existence for the production of the Haig’s poppies. The other factory at Richmond, started in 1920, employs two hundred men. It has been supplying not only England, but the whole world, with poppies.* … …” [*Observation: rather an exaggeration].
15.09.1927. Hull Daily Mail [sic]:
“EARL HAIG POPPIES. SHOULD THEY ALL BE THE SAME SIZE? QUESTION RAISED IN HULL.
The complaint in some quarters about the practice of selling, on Armistice Day, poppies of different sizes at varying prices—ventilated from time to time in the correspondence columns of the “Mail”—was raised in the form of a question at a Group Conference attended by delegates representing various branches of the Women’s Section of the British Legion in Yorkshire and the North of England, and held on Wednesday afternoon in Hull Unity Hall, Waltham-street.
Miss I M. Jermyn, O.B.E., chairman of the Hull Branch of the Women’s Section presided.
BRITISH LEGION DISCUSSION.
The Chairman said when they were selling poppies some people refused to buy because the poppies were not all alike. For the benefit of the conference she asked why they were not all alike.
Mr. Wilce Taylor, of London, an official of the British Legion Poppy Factory, in reply, said the chief reason against the standard sized poppy was that it would result in the services of a large number of employes at the factory being dispensed with, because if they were all of one size they could all be made by a special type of machine. Further, he did not think there would be as much interest for the seller if all the poppies were alike. The saleswoman was naturally anxious to dispose of so many shilling flowers as possible.
People were not so ready to give a larger sum for a small article as might be imagined, and the section leaders decided to have various types of poppies, because they were satisfied they would get better returns by that means. Particularly in places where there was great wealth alongside great poverty, it suited their purpose better to have different grades of poppies.
Mrs. Gray, representative for Yorkshire on the Central Committee, appealed to the delegates to put their heart and soul into the great national work of the British Legion. The Women’s Section grew daily, yet there were only 63 branches with a women’s section in Yorkshire out of 250 men’s branches. This was not a good percentage, but they were working hard to improve it.
TRY AND BREAK RECORD.
She appealed to them to try and break the record of last year on Poppy Day. They must look after the 262,000 fatherless children and the 16,000 orphans, the result of the war. If these were brought up with the right ideals England would still fly the free flag.
Miss Margaret Scott, one of the organisers from headquarters, gave an address on the general work of the Legion. On September 30th, 1926, she said, there were 511 women’s branches in the country, whereas now there were 680, which was a good increase. Yorkshire had 46 women’s branches last September, and now had 63.
In the coming year 60,000 of the fatherless children would come off the books of the Ministry of Pensions, as they would begin to earn their own livings. What were they going to do about them? The matter of setting up War Orphan Advisory Committees locally had been suggested, but she did not know of any committees being yet set up.
Mr. Wilce Taylor dealt with the post-war problems, and said the man who had became unemployed quickly became unemployable. There were instances where the British Legion had got jobs for men who had quickly lost them again because they had not the stamina left to keep the jobs, as they had been out of work so long.
Vote of thanks followed.”
04.11.1927. Sheffield Independent [sic]:
“Readers’ Views. REMEMBRANCE DAY.
Sir.—With the approach of Remembrance Day, 11 November, may I once again ask the hospitality of your columns to repeat our warning to members of the public with regard to spurious poppies?
The day is set aside each year for the sale of Flanders Poppies in aid of Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund for distressed ex-Service men, their dependents and the widows and children of the fallen, but it is a lamentable fact that both on and before that day each year poppies are sold, for the commercial gain, by certain firms and individuals who choose to ignore the fact that the public demand for the Poppy was created by Lord Haig in 1921, when he instituted his appeal for ex-Service men. … …
The true Haig poppy may be distinguished by the special metal centre on which stand out in relief the words “Haig’s Fund.” Further proof may be obtained by the purchaser observing that the seller is using one of the official collecting boxes and is also displaying in a prominent position one of the official sellers’ badges issued by the Fund.
The sale of spurious poppies cannot be regarded too seriously, as we are sure that each year a very great deal of badly needed money has been lost to the Fund, and consequently to distressed ex-Service men, by the ungenerous action of those who have sold them.
G. WILLCOX, Captain, Organising Secretary, Appeal Department, British Legion.”
The above image is taken from the Dundee Courier, 14 November 1927: “Cupar Poppy Day Helpers” (Cupar in Fife, Scotland): “Mrs. Kerr, and her little son Billy, home from India, did good business for the Earl Haig Fund by selling poppies on Saturday.”
09.11.1928. Aberdeen Journal [sic]:
“CITY POPPY DAY. Final arrangements have been made by the local branch of the British Legion for Poppy Day to be held in Aberdeen tomorrow. Depots have been established in all the wards of the city and at the station, and most of the leading shops are selling poppies.
Collections on behalf of Earl Haig’s Fund are to be made in all churches in the city on Sunday. The public are advised to see when purchasing poppies that the words “Haig’s Fund” are printed in the centre of the poppy.”
10.11.1928. Western Morning News [sic]:
“AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
A special service will be held at Westminster Abbey from 10.15 a.m. until 11.10 a.m., at which the Services will be represented. The doors of the Abbey will remain open after 11.20 a.m. until 8 p.m. A “Field of Remembrance” will be made on the grass outside Westminster Abbey in order that the relatives of the fallen and others may give their poppies to make a poppy field.”
10.11.1928. Hull Daily Mail [sic]:
“SELLERS IN FRANCE.
PARIS, Saturday.—Flanders Poppies are being sold in Paris along the Riviera and everywhere where a few British may be found to-day to-morrow and on Monday. The flowers will be offered in hotels, restaurants, churches, and British banks and business houses, and it is hoped to dispose of 25,000 and to raise a record sum.”
09.11.1929. Driffield Times [sic]:
“The “Field of Remembrance.”
Last year, in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, a “Field of Remembrance” was instituted, when a small plot of grass was marked off, and upon this plot poppies were placed by the general public as an act of “Remembrance.”
Throughout the country this year “Fields of Remembrance” are being arranged in order to give everyone an opportunity to pay their act of silent homage to the fallen.
In Driffield the “Field” will be placed in the Market Place, and everyone is invited to plant their poppy in the “Field.”
It was thought that many people would like to purchase two poppies, one to plant in the Field and one to wear, so the Committee have arranged for a larger number of poppies to be on sale than in previous years.”
07.10.1929. Aberdeen Journal [sic]:
“LADY HAIG’S POPPIES WARNING.
Lady Haig warned the public against buying German and other foreign poppies when addressing a thousand poppy workers at Bristol on Saturday.
Afterwards a small curly-headed boy presented her with a bunch of French poppies in memory of his three brothers killed in the war. Lady Haig affectionately kissed the boy, and thanked his mother. She then repeated her warning, passing the French poppies and real Haig poppies among the audience.”
18.10.1929. Western Morning News [sic]:
“171,050 POPPIES. PLYMOUTH LEGION PREPARES FOR ARMISTICE-DAY. Plymouth branch of the British Legion are actively preparing for the sale of Flanders poppies on Armistice-day.
When a “Western Morning News” representative visited the headquarters of the branch in Whimple-street yesterday it was to find the place literally filled with boxes of poppies and collecting boxes.
No fewer than 171,050 poppies have been received at Plymouth from London for disposal in the city and district, and for the last fortnight six workers have given voluntary assistance in preparing them for sale, and they are likely to be engaged continually until November 11.
Last year Plymouth branch of the British Legion realized £1,435, and it is hoped to exceed that figure this year.
The Commander-in-Chief, the Hon. Sir Hubert Brand, as consented to the formation of a committee of ladies who will sell poppies in H.M. ships and establishments.
The official poppy bears the inscription “Haig’s Fund” and the public are warned against purchasing poppies which do not have that inscription.
Anyone wishing to assist in selling the poppies should communicate with the secretary of the Plymouth Branch of the British Legion.”
18.10.1929. Northampton Mercury [sic]:
“LADY HAIG’S Visit to Northampton British Legion. “A GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE” Suggested by her Ladyship for Poppy Day.
Countess Haig came to Northampton on Saturday to inspire Poppy Day workers and to emphasise the value of the British Legion, of which her husband was the founder.
Her visit ended a week’s hard work in the East Midland area, and she was tired and weary of speaking. She addressed two meetings, and the one in the evening made the tenth for the week.
Lady Haig was the guest of Earl and Countess Spencer, and she arrived at Althorp about one o’clock on Saturday, after travelling from Derby.
Her first act on reaching Northampton, just about half-past two, was to visit the War Memorial. Accompanied by Lord Spencer, she was met at the gates by Mrs. Dover, M.B.E. (chairman of the Women’s Section of the British Legion), who was presented to her. Mrs. Dover carried a wreath of poppies. This was handed to Lady Haig, who walked with Mrs. Dover to the memorial and placed it reverently against the stonework. … …
As is her custom, Lady Haig wore a deep red Flanders poppy. Her example was followed by all who were assembled in the enclosure. Mrs. Dover, the ex-Mayoress (Mrs. Joseph Rogers), the Mayoress-elect (Mrs. Ralph Smith—who were also presented to Lady Haig—and the members of the committee of the Women’s Section of the Northampton British Legion, who were lined up by the Memorial—every one of them wore a red poppy. … …
The silk poppies cost about 1s. to make in the factories, but there was still an inclination in some parts to sell them cheaper. Each silk poppy should be sold for 2s. 6d., or a good deal more.
Lady Haig went on to suggest a thorough house-to-house collection on Poppy Day. So many better-class houses were usually left out. … …
A GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE.
Another suggestion was the establishment of a Garden of Remembrance somewhere in the town on Poppy Day. People could buy an extra poppy and place it in the garden. “
26.10.1929. The Scotsman [sic]:
“LORD JELLICOE. Amazed at Armistice Day Curtailment Proposal.
THAT he had read with amazement that the national observance of Armistice Day should be curtailed, was a statement made to a gathering of Pressmen by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe, President of the British Legion, yesterday.
“I cannot believe that the sentiment of the community inclines in this direction,” he added. Such a suggestion was contrary to the spirit which inspired the British Legion in doing its utmost for the thousands of ex-Servicemen, who looked to it, and to it alone, for assistance and advice.
There was nothing militaristic about the attitude of the Legion. They wanted peace with the sincerity of men who knew exactly what war meant, but they also knew that it was the celebration of the national day of remembrance, which kept alive the memory of the great sacrifices made by the people of this country.
Many ex-Servicemen were in distress through unemployment, and the selling of poppies on Armistice Day was what the Legion depended on to be able to assist them. The need was greater on the eleventh anniversary than ever before, and they hoped to get a greater response than they had yet done.
A new production this year from the poppy factories was in the form of a large poppy mounted as a motor mascot, which would be sold at 2s. 6d.”
10.11.1930. Northern Whig, Northern Ireland [sic]:
“BEWARE OF SPURIOUS POPPIES: In view of rumours regarding the sale of spurious poppies the British Legion ask the public to see that the emblems they buy have the usual black metal centre bearing the words “Haig’s Fund” in the larger poppies and the letters “H.F.” in the smaller ones. … …”
08.11.1930. Nottingham Evening Post [sic]:
“… There were two novelties introduced this year. One was a mascot for motor cars, a waxed poppy which would stand the weather, and sold at 2s. 6d., and the other was a small five poppy button-hole. The latter sold so readily that although a second supply was requisitioned they went so quickly that all available supplies were disposed of quite early in the day. … …”
30.10.1931. Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Nearly 300 men, badly disabled from injuries received in the Great War, have been working for the past year making Haig Poppies for Remembrance Day, November 11th. These Poppies are a replica of the Flanders poppies seen, by our troops, growing in profusion in the cornfields of Belgium, when the British Army arrived in Flanders in 1914. On a metal centre in raised letters the poppies bear the words “Haig’s Fund.” The Haig Poppies are offered for sale on Remembrance Day on behalf of Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund, and are sold to the public to be worn for a two-fold purpose: (1) As a tribute of remembrance to those who died in the Great War; (2) to provide funds to enable the British Legion to help the survivors who are in need. To be very generous on Remembrance Day is the plea of the many thousands of beneficiaries of the Fund who are in distressed circumstances.”
26.11.1932. Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian [sic]:
“A POPPY PROBLEM. Danger of New Kind Being Issued. EXPLANATION DEMANDED.
The matter of alleged bogus poppies was mentioned by Capt. H. Bettison, Vice-President of the Boston British Legion.
Mr. H. E. Strickland, the Boston delegate to the meeting, asked that Capt. Bettison be allowed to speak on “a matter of first-hand importance” regarding Poppy Day, and the Chairman, Sir Ernest Sleight, Bart., of Grimsby, gave permission for the Captain to speak. “I must thank you for allowing me to speak to-day, because I am not a delegate,” said Capt. Bettison. “if you look at the back of your Poppy Day report, you will see the official poppy described there and it is stated ‘None other is genuine.’ I want you to bear that in mind. One day last week a member of ours from the Wrangle district produced in my office a certain poppy which I have here. He said, ‘Our people are very upset about this. We think somebody has been selling bogus poppies in our district.’
“NEVER SEEN ONE LIKE IT.”
“I had a look at this poppy and had never seen one like it before. We got out a genuine one and compared them and it is not like this. I said, “I don’t think that is a genuine poppy.’ I submitted it to various other people in our branch, as I have done this afternoon here, and it does not comply with the specifications given here by the Poppy Day Organiser.
“Therefore, as a ‘Lincolnshire Standard’ reporter happened to be handy, I told him about it. He very kindly—to help us, of course—decided to give publicity to this matter, the idea being that then we could get out at once and bag the person selling these bogus poppies. I rang up the Poppy Day Organiser at Alford, who said he had distributed these poppies to his sellers in the Mumby district. We mentioned no names at all, we simply wanted information, wanted to find out where the poppy had come from, so that we could investigate the matter.”
He rang up London that morning and, after three calls, got through to the Poppy Day Organiser and asked him if any poppies had been distributed without the proper Legion button in the centre.
After a little bit of back-chat the Organiser admitted that some poppies had gone out with a button in the centre which did not contain the words “Haig’s Fund” and which did not comply with instructions issued to Legion branches to turn down any that had not a particular centre button.
“I asked him,” continued Capt. Bettison, “if the branches had been informed that a poppy other than the regulation one had been issued. He said, ‘No,’ but that the Poppy Day Organisers had. I then got hold of our (the Boston) Poppy Day Organiser, who had no information that anything was going out that was not regular.”
Capt. Bettison added that they in Boston took strong action when people some years ago started selling poppies made in Germany and, naturally, when their suspicions were aroused this time, they got busy to find out where the apparently bogus poppy had come from.
“BADLY LET DOWN.”
“I am going to pass round an official poppy and this other thing which does not comply with regulations. I say, I contend at any rate that we have been badly let down, and that, if any alteration is to be made in future in the poppies, we ought to be informed beforehand, otherwise we shall be hitting the wrong man in the ear. I want your support if you will give it me.”
The Spalding delegate remarked that, evidently, Capt. Bettison had got one of the sprays which came out this year with “H.F.” on it.
BOSTON ORGANISER’S SUPPORT.
The Rev. J. Beanland, Vicar of Holy Trinity, and Poppy Day Organiser for Boston and District, said he could tell them emphatically that last year no official poppy came into the Boston District with the letters “H.F.” on the button.
The Chairman (Sir E. Sleight, Bart.): I am almost certain that these poppies came under my notice last year. They were made up as ladies’ buttonholes, and they certainly came to us from the right source. But, of course, the whole trouble is that we were never advised that these poppies were coming out with the letters “H.F.” on instead of “Haig’s Fund.” They were issued at 1s. 6d. as button-holes, but we were never advised.
“OPEN TO SWINDLING.”
Capt. Bettison: Mr. Chairman, as you say, we were never advised. If they are going to issue all sorts of things like this, they are laying themselves open to a good deal of swindling next year.
The County Secretary (Capt. Entwistle, of Gedney) suggested that a resolution be sent to the Area Conference stressing the point that they, as Poppy Day organisers, strongly resented the fact that they were sent poppies not in accordance with the regulations and description of the official poppy as sent from headquarters.
The Chairman said that Capt. Bettison was right in taking this matter up with headquarters and threshing it out. It was one of those things one was sorry to know, but the best of us made mistakes at times.
Mr. Strickland said he was strongly in support of, and would second, Mr. Entwistle’s resolution that a letter be sent to headquarters in this matter.
Mr. Reeves supported the motion. “I think we ought to support Capt. Bettison in some practical way by having an apology made.” he said.
Capt. Richardson (Spilsby) said he thought that, if Mr. Entwistle wrote to Capt. Wilcox and put the case before him, it would be better done by correspondence than by resolution.
In further discussion, Capt. Bettison said that all he wanted was a letter from the Poppy Day Organiser admitting the mistake.
Mr. Strickland proposed that the resolution moved and seconded be now put to the meeting.
The following resolution was then carried.—“Capt. Bettison having brought to the notice of this Council the fact that poppies have been sold at Mumby which are not of official pattern, and he having brought this to the notice of Capt. Wilcox, we desire to be informed why these poppies were put into circulation without proper notification from Appeal Headquarters, as their sale has been question by Capt. Bettison, and in the opinion of this Council rightly so.””
04.11.1932. Derby Daily Telegraph:
“… GARDEN CEREMONY. Small wooden crosses bearing a poppy in the centre are to be sold for planting there, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Derby are to place their crosses in the garden at 11.30 a.m. on Friday, immediately after the service in the Market Place. …”
08.11.1932. Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail:
“… On Remembrance Day itself a “Field of Remembrance” will be found in the grounds of Christ Church (by kind permission of Canon R. H. J. Poole, M. A.), and in this “field” small wooden crosses carrying poppies and the inscription “In remembrance” may be placed to the memory of fallen Servicemen. The “Field of Remembrance” will eventually be placed at the foot of the War Memorial, Victory Square. The small wooden crosses will be on sale in Church Square on November 11, price 6d. each.”
08.11.1932. Edinburgh Evening News [sic]:
“EDINBURGH POPPY DAY. A “FIELD OF REMEMBRANCE”. SALE OF WOODEN CROSSES.
In connection with the Poppy Day arrangements in Edinburgh, on Friday there is to be, for the first time, a “Field of Remembrance.” For this scheme, which will be similar to that in London, the vestry of St. John’s Church in Princes Street have kindly granted the use of a grass plot at the east end of the church, and, in addition to the usual poppy emblems, small wooden crosses bearing a Haig poppy in the centre will be on sale. Before being placed in the ground the cross may be inscribed with the name of any soldier who lost his life in the war and to the memory of whom the purchaser of the cross wishes to pay homage. Some 4000 crosses have been made in the Haig workshops, and they will only be on sale outside the “Field of Remembrance.” From seven o’clock on Friday morning till about 10 o’clock at night there will be lady attendants outside St. John’s Church, and arrangements have been made for the “Field of Remembrance” to be illuminated by floodlights during the week-end. … ”
01.11.1933. Lincolnshire Echo [sic]:
“Poppy on Every Motor-Car. Emblems of Waterproof Material.
Every motor-car should be wearing on Armistice Day the cluster of poppies made especially for cars by the disabled men at the poppy factory at Richmond.
Great skill and care have been spent in the manufacture of this distinctive emblem, which it is hoped all motorists will use as a mascot for the day.
The poppies are made of waterproof material, and are provided with a clip for fastening the cluster to any type of radiator.
Nearly all of the 40,000,000 poppies, which have given continuous work for 360 men since last November, have already been distributed to the centres where they will be offered for sale by 300,000 voluntary saleswomen.
More than 50 designs are being used in the construction of poppy wreaths, on which the factory is now working. These will be supplied to the Royal Family, Old Comrades’ Associations, and other organisations of ex-Servicemen.
The Dominions provide their own supplies of poppies, but many thousands have been sent from Richmond to Kenya, the West Indies, and smaller British possessions in all parts of the world.
Every country, large and small, where the Union Jack is flown, is always anxious to get supplies, and this year the demand has been greater than ever.”
04.11.1933. Bury Free Press [sic]:
“Sir, — May we again appeal through your columns to employers in Bury St. Edmund’s to grant time for ex-Service men in their employ to attend the services on Armistice Day at the War Mrmorial?
May we also appeal to the public to buy only British Legion poppies? These may easily be recognised by the copyright button bearing the words “Haig Fund.” … …
Yours faithfully, On behalf of the Committee, A. E. MARLOW, Chairman. 65, Guildhall Street, Bury St. Edmund’s. 30th October, 1933.”
10.11.1933. Western Daily Press [sic]:
“POPPY DAY APPEAL. SIR.—The distress of Bristol ex-Service men and their dependants, due to unemployment and disablement, appeals to the continued generosity of their fellow-citizens, and it is hoped that all who have any gratitude for the self-sacrifice of these men will take this opportunity for its expression.
During the past year, after careful investigation assistance has been given by means of grocery and coal tickets, and board and lodging notes in 4,976 cases.
Purchasers should see that on Saturday next they buy no other than the Poppies marked in the centre “Haig Fund”.”
01.11.1934. The Berwick Advertiser [sic]:
“Remembrance Day SALE OF POPPIES in Borough streets, Sat., NOVEMBER. 10th. REMEMBER HOUSE-TO-HOUSE COLLECTORS WILL CALL UPON YOU DURING THIS WEEKEND. KINDLY HAVE YOUR CONTRIBUTION. HOWEVER SMALL, READY. Your generous help is needed on behalf of local ex-Service men, their widows and dependants. See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.”
05.11.1934. Portsmouth Evening News [sic]:
“EARL HAIG’S BRITISH LEGION APPEAL FUND.
By kind permission of the City of Portsmouth Watch Committee a sale of POPPIES will be held in the streets of PORTSMOUTH on SATURDAY, 10th NOVEMBER, 1934, in order of the above Fund, which exists to help Ex-Service men of all ranks (and their dependants) who may be in distress. Please give generously for your Poppy and wear it “IN REMEMBRANCE.”
All authorised sellers will wear the Official badge and you are asked to buy only the Official Poppy, which contains a centre stamped “HAIG FUND” OR “H.F.”
The assistance of ladies and gentlemen to sell poppies in all parts of the City of Portsmouth on the above date is very urgently needed. Would those willing to help please communicate with the Hon. Secretary, Poppy Day Committee (Portsmouth), 318a, Commercial Road, Portsmouth.”
07.11.1935. The Berwick Advertiser [sic]:
“Remembrance Day SALE OF POPPIES in Borough streets, Mon., NOVEMBER 11th. REMEMBER HOUSE-TO-HOUSE COLLECTORS WILL CALL UPON YOU DURING THIS WEEKEND. KINDLY HAVE YOUR CONTRIBUTION. HOWEVER SMALL, READY. Your generous help is needed on behalf of local ex-Service men, their widows and dependants. See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.”
08.11.1935. Dover Express [sic]:
“… The following are some of the materials used for the this year’s Poppies and other Poppy Day material made in the Legion’s factory:- 42 miles of artificial silk, 24 miles of cotton materials, 77,000 sheets of red crepe material, 136 tons of card-board, 42 tons of metal plate for poppy centres, 6 tons of glue and paste, 1½ tons of flour. Apparently, a quarter of a million Poppy motor mascots have been distributed to local Poppy Day Committees. … …”
02.11.1936. Portsmouth Evening News [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund.
A sale of POPPIES will be held (by kind permission) in the streets of Portsmouth on WEDNESDAY, 11 NOVEMBER, 1936, in aid of the above Fund which exists to aid Ex-Service Men (Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force) of all ranks and their families who may be in distress. Please give generously for your Poppy and wear it. “IN REMEMBRANCE”
Authorised sellers will wear the official badge, and you are asked to buy the poppy which contains a centre stamped “HAIG’S FUND” or H.F.”
Sellers are urgently needed. Will those ladies and gentlemen willing to sell poppies please communicate with the Hon. Secretary, Poppy Day Committee, 318a, Commercial Road, Portsmouth.
Poppy Wreaths will be on sale (or order) at No. 73, Osborne Road, Southsea, and at the British Legion Disabled Ex-Service men’s staff at the Industries Exhibition, Connaught Drill Hall from the 4th to 11th November.”
06.11.1936. Dundee Evening Telegraph:
“YELLOW POPPIES FOR ARMISTICE. Paris.
The Flanders poppies which will be sold in France on Armistice Day in aid of Lord Haig’s Fund will be yellow this year instead of red.
The change is due to a suggestion that those who wear a red flower may be taken for Communists.—Times.
04.11.1937. The Berwick Advertiser [sic]:
“Remembrance Day SALE OF POPPIES in Borough streets, Thurs., NOVEMBER 11. REMEMBER HOUSE-TO-HOUSE COLLECTORS WILL CALL UPON YOU DURING THIS WEEKEND. KINDLY HAVE YOUR CONTRIBUTION. HOWEVER SMALL, READY. Your generous help is needed on behalf of local ex-Service men, their widows and dependants. See that the words “Haig Fund” or letters “H.F.” are on the poppy.”
06.11.1937. Gloucestershire Echo [sic]:
“Letters To The Editor. WHITE POPPIES. To the Editor of the “Echo”.
Sir.—I have been informed that White Poppies will again be on sale this year in parts of the County of Gloucestershire on or about November 11th.
I do not think it is generally understood that the proceeds from the sale of these poppies do not in any way help Earl Haig’s Fund, which holds its one and only public appeal of the year on that day, for the relief and assistance of ex-Service men who fought in the Great War. Owing to their increasing age and the strain of war years telling more and more on their constitutions, the calls on Earl Haig’s Fund are increasing every year.
May I add that the genuine Haig Fund Poppy is distinguishable by a metal centre embossed with the words “Haig Fund”.
CHARLES F. THORP (Admiral), Chairman, Gloucestershire Legion.”
02.11.1938. Portsmouth Evening News [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund.
A sale of POPPIES will be held (by kind permission) in the streets of Portsmouth on FRIDAY, 11 NOVEMBER, 1938, in aid of the above Fund which exists to aid Ex-Service Men (Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force) of all ranks and their dependants who may be in distress and need.
PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY FOR YOUR POPPY AND WEAR IT. “In Remembrance”.
Authorised sellers will wear the official badge, and you are asked to buy the poppy which contains a centre stamped “HAIG’S FUND” or H.F.”
Sellers are urgently needed. Will those ladies and gentlemen willing to sell poppies please communicate with the Hon. Secretary, Poppy Day Committee, 318a, Commercial Road, Portsmouth.
Poppy Wreaths will be on sale (or order) at 67, Palmerston Road, Southsea from the 5th to 11th November.”
14.10.1939. Surrey Advertiser [sic]:
“POPPY DAY. Poppy Day is going ahead in spite of the war. Indeed, war is a reason why these events should be doubled. … … The interesting suggestion is made that this year British people might buy two poppies, one as a tribute to the men of 1914-18 and the other to their sons who are serving today.”
04.11.1939. Evening Despatch, Birmingham [sic]:
“POPPIES FOR ALL DEMANDS.
Many sympathisers of the Poppy Day appeal may be rather concerned because they cannot obtain certain types of emblems, such as sprays and motor-mascots. Unfortunately, owing to the existing circumstances Birmingham headquarters of the appeal only received restricted supplies, and these have been carefully distributed to the 43 local depots and some of the larger works.
Mr. W. H. Keppy, organising secretary, appeals most earnestly to the public that if they are unable to obtain these particular emblems to help the appeal by purchasing another type, such as the 1s. and 6d., of which ample have been supplied.
It is hoped that the sellers on Armistice Day will have the types of poppy to meet all demands. … …”.
04.11.1939. Hull Daily Mail [sic]:
“NEW DESIGNS FOR THIS YEAR’S POPPY DAY.
“Buy your poppy wreaths and sprays at the Poppy Shop to-day” –this is my slogan at the present time, for the “Poppy Shop” at No. 45, Savile-street, Hull, is now open and has been doing a very brisk trade during the past day or so. Walking down Savile-street you cannot miss the window, for the blood-red poppies attractively displayed make a brilliant show … …
The main source of revenue comes from the sale of poppies for “Remembrance Day”—Nov.11. Thousands of pounds have been raised by this means and millions of poppies made in the factory at Richmond. This has again ensured the employment of an average of 400 ex-Servicemen all the year round. … …
The more poppies sold, therefore, the more employment for ex-Servicemen and the more money for the Legion funds. … … No one has the welfare of the ex-Serviceman more at heart than Mrs. James Walker, who some time ago resumed her chairmanship of the women’s section, Hull branch, British Legion … … Meeting her again this week in the Poppy Shop, where she is carrying on with the assistance of many willing helpers, it is good to see her full of enthusiasm and energy which has enabled her to run this shop so successfully during the past eight years.
Arranged on the counter are a selection of what we will wear next Saturday—small silk poppies made up into attractive sprays for our coats, the familiar single ones of all sizes … …”
06.11.1939. Lancashire Evening Post [sic]:
“THE KING’S WISH FOR POPPY DAY.
The King has given instructions that French cornflowers as well as Haig Fund poppies are to be used in his wreath for November 11th.
The cornflowers to be used will be some of a consignment of one hundred thousand which have been sent as a gesture of friendship and remembrance by French ex-Service men who are members of the Confederation Nationale des Anciens Combattants, and are to be sold on November 11th entwined with Haig Fund poppies in aid of the British Legion.
As a reciprocal gesture, the British Legion has despatched 100,000 poppies to Paris, and these also, entwined with French cornflowers, will be sold there on November 11th to help French ex-Service men.”
11.10.1940. Birmingham Daily Gazette [sic]:
“FEWER TYPES OF POPPIES IN CASE FACTORY IS BOMBED.
Now that we are at war again, it becomes certain that Poppy Day will be needed as long as any of us live,” said Colonel J. L. Mellor, presiding at a meeting of Poppy Day depot organisers in Birmingham.
Because the effort now helped war-suffers of two generations, the need for support was greater than ever.
By giving generously the public were helping to pay the debt of honour they owed to the men of 1914-18 and to their sons who are serving to-day.”
07.11.1940. Birmingham Daily Post [sic]:
“Wreaths for Poppy Day.
An official of the British Legion tells me that though there is to be no ceremony at the Cenotaph on November 11, people are very far from forgetting Poppy Day. … …
The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey will be open as usual for poppy planting, but the space reserved is not as large as formerly. … …
In other years large consignments of poppies have gone to British communities overseas, including fifty-three foreign countries. Now that, in most cases, despatch to foreign places is difficult or impossible, it is hoped that the loss of revenue will be made up by purchasers here.”
08.11.1940. Liverpool Evening Express [sic]:
“Members of the public are urged to buy two poppies this year—one in memory of men who died in the Great War, and one in tribute to sons who followed their fathers’ heroic example”.
01.11.1941. Cheshire Observer [sic]:
Sir.—On Sunday, November 9th, British people will have the opportunity of hearing the voice of General Wavell, who is to broadcast a special appeal from India on behalf of the British Legion, at 8.45 p.m. There will be no shortage of poppies this year, but there will be fewer of the more expensive types. Those who normally purchase the larger silk poppies are, therefore, asked to help by accepting smaller emblems on Remembrance Day should they be unable to obtain the type they prefer. A slight reduction in the numbers of the more expensive poppies has been made necessary this year because of the difficulty in obtaining the necessary material.
Many more volunteers are needed to fill the places of those poppy sellers of previous years now engaged on War work. I shall be very grateful if offers of assistance can be made as quickly as possible to all local Poppy Day Committees, or if the address of these should not be known, to Haig’s Fund, Cardigan House, Richmond, Surrey, when offers will be at once passed to the appropriate districts.
W. G. WILLCOX, Captain, Organising Secretary, Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal, 27th October, 1941.”
07.11.1941. Nottingham Evening Post [sic]:
“POPPY DAY IN NOTTINGHAM. Fewer Silk Emblems. There will be fewer silk poppies on sale in Nottingham to-morrow because of shortage of material. Silk is used for the 2s. 6d. motor waxed sprays and poppies retailed at 1s. and 6d. The cheaper type of poppy is made from lawn.
Owing to the decreased number of higher emblems the public are asked to give even more generously this year.
Nottingham’s quota of poppies will be about the same as last year—from 200,000 to 250,000. There has been a good demand for poppy wreaths. Helpers have come forward in large numbers. … …”
29.10.1942. Birmingham Daily Post [sic]:
In the factory of the British Legion, as well as in the workshops of mantle-makers and milliners, there is a shortage of materials that imposes austerity. Armistice Day poppies will be plainer this year. From the headquarters of the Haig Fund it is announced that only four million out of forty million poppies will be of silk, and even these will be smaller and may have fewer petals. Cardboard will replace wire in the stalk, and the centre will consist of printed paper instead of metal. Some of the small poppies have been made of printed card. But these war-time economies afford no pretext for less generous giving. The responsibilities of the British Legion have been vastly extended, for it offers its help, in many forms, to members of all the Services in this war no less than those who served in the last war—and also to their dependants. Not only is the need to give generously more than ever pressing, but those who buy poppies can help the British Legion and the country still further. Short as is the supply of materials for making poppies this year, next year it may be shorter still. An effort will, therefore, be made to salve as many poppies as possible after November 11. Local organisers have been asked to place receptacles at convenient spots, where buyers can deposit their poppies. If these are in good repair, they will be reconditioned at the Legion’s factory. If they are past further service, the fabrics, paper and metal are of value for salvage. We are assured that the disabled workers in the factory will not be deprived of employment by this economy; on the contrary, more labour will probably be needed to renovate the old poppies than to make an equal number of new ones. Those who respond to this further appeal, therefore, can rest assured that they are also helping to ensure the success of next year’s Poppy Day.”
31.10.1942. Burnley Express [sic]:
““AUSTERITY” POPPIES – AND BURNLEY NEEDS SELLERS FOR THEM.
The Haig Fund poppies this year will be “austerity poppies.” Because of the urgent need for economy n the use of materials, changes have been necessary. Of the 40 million emblems to be sold, only four millions will be of the more attractive silk types. And even these will be smaller than usual.
The wire stalk is giving place to an ingeniously contrived cardboard stalk, while the well-known metal centre is being replaced by a painted paper centre.
It is suggested that buyers this year should hand back their poppies after November 11th and so help the plans for the manufacture of next year’s supplies.
OUT TO BEAT RECORD
The 4,000 Poppy Day Committees are aiming at a gross collection of £800,000 this year. This will mean beating last year’s record total by six per cent. The first essential for success is to have plenty of poppy sellers
Burnley’s aim is to raise £850, or £69 above last year’s total. There is here a great need for sellers, and many new volunteers will have to come forward if the 200 or so helpers asked for are to be recruited. Those willing to help should give in their names and addresses at 173, St. James’s-street, or at 20, Albert-street.
Supporters of the effort are asked to give more generously than ever. The supply of poppies is greatly down, and to reach the target aimed at, purchasers are asked to subscribe liberally and without too much thought for the value of the poppies they will receive in return.”
Above: An advertisement promoting the 1942 poppy appeal, to benefit the Haig’s Fund. It was sponsored by the ‘Nuffield Organization’, appearing in the ‘Punch’ publication of 04 November 1942.
06.11.1943. Coventry Standard [sic]:
Next Thursday is Poppy Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which led to the end of the last Great War, and the day on which an appeal is made to the people of this country on behalf of the men, and their dependants, who saved us from the German hordes twenty-five years ago. Those men have never been forgotten, and the revival of the German menace and the readiness with which the men of our country have again rallied to the defence of civilisation help to remind us of the continued debt we owe to those who have served and are serving. Their interests are watched by the British Legion, which is particularly concerned about the success of the annual Poppy Day. Coventry has supported this effort with consistency and increasing generosity, and there is every reason why that generosity should be greater than ever this year.
Most of the 40 million poppies which disabled ex-Service men have made in readiness for November 11 are in the war-time “austerity” type. The one-time wire stalk has given place to an ingeniously designed cardboard stalk. The well-known “Haig Fund” metal poppy centre is now replaced by a printed paper centre. The petals are smaller, while some of the poppies which previously had two layers of petals now have one layer only. These economies, simple as they may appear, make for other larger economies. There is the saving of many tons of cardboard effected by closer packing, and the economy in transport brought about by a reduction of 50 per cent, in packing space needed. These are just a few of many war-time economies made by Haig’s Fund.
Poppy wreaths may still be obtained, but in rather smaller sizes. More than 40,000 wreaths have already been ordered for Remembrance Day ceremonies. There are six new and attractive war-time designs. … …
Because of the great shortage of materials the British Legion appealed last year for the return of poppies after November 11. Many thousands of poppies were returned by public-spirited people, and it was possible to renovate a large proportion for use again, thus saving much valuable material. A similar appeal is made this year. The best plan is for one householder to collect used poppies from as many others as possible and to hand them over to the local Poppy Day Committee, Legion Branch, or collecting depot.
The Legion has plenty of work for the disabled men in its Poppy Factory, and they include, incidentally, a number of men disabled in the present war. The only reason the return of poppies is asked for is to save material. Actually, it takes more time to renovate a used poppy than to make a new one. Therefore returning used poppies helps to provide more employment.
What women are doing to help win the war can easily be seen in the daily post at Poppy Day Headquarters. Tens of thousands of helpers of last year are in the Services, the factories, or otherwise working full-time for victory. Their services are therefore not available for Poppy Day. But there must be more sellers if a million pounds is to be raised this year, and so help to safeguard the future of our fighting men. Those ladies who can spare an hour or two to sell poppies on November 11 should write quickly to their local Poppy Day Committees or to Haig’s Fund, Richmond, Surrey. Their help is urgently needed.”
27.10.1943. Lincolnshire Echo [sic]: DECORATED CROSSES.
“A new feature of the British Legion’s Armistice Day Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey will be miniature wooden crosses decorated with the emblems of the United Nations, the occupied countries, and the Dominions and Colonies. Here are shown the crests of the U.S.A., China, U.S.S.R, Free French, Czechoslovakia, and the British Colonies. The crosses have been made at the Legion’s Poppy Factory at Richmond, and the crests have been hand-painted by one of the 300 ex-Service-men engaged in the making of poppies.”
20.10.1944. Derby Daily Telegraph [sic]:
“LEGION FACES “POPPY SELLER” SHORTAGE.
RELAXATION in civil defence duties means that the British Legion in Derby will not have the support of first-aid posts as selling centres in this year’s Poppy Day effort.
An appeal was made at a __?__ meeting of the Derby Central Branch men’s and women’s sections last night for as many voluntary workers as can find time to sell poppies in the streets on November 11. The military authorities are also being are also being asked to allow available members of the Services to act as sellers, and the hope was expressed that the public would give even more generously this year to make up for any shortage in the number of sellers.
The branch president, Mr. R. J. Nason, has agreed to act as organiser on behalf of the men’s section, following the recent departure of the former branch secretary, Mr. C. H. Humphreys, who has taken up an appointment at British Legion headquarters. The women’s part in the appeal will be organised, as in past years, by Mrs. A. F. Neal and Mrs. R. Porter.
Large quantities of wreaths and poppies are already in stock at Haig House, Green-lane, and while the majority will be of the same austerity make as last year, some are of better quality than on former wartime Poppy Days.
The Central Branch set up a new record of £2,150 last year.”
07.11.1944. Hull Daily Mail [sic]:
“Poppy Day.—Saturday next is Poppy Day, when everyone, regardless of religion or politics, wears an emblem as a tribute to the men who died or were wounded in the last war, and gives a coin for it in support of the British Legion, which looks after the welfare of ex-Servicemen and their relatives, as well as attending the interests of those fighting in this war.
In Hull everything is ready, but unfortunately there is a dearth of helpers. Will those who can give an hour or more during the day please communicate with the Legion headquarters, 44, Beverley-road, Hull? Last year the Hull branch members and their friends collected £3,300. This year £4,000 is the target, and in view of the growing demands on the Legion the sum will be needed.
I am told that the shilling silk poppies on sale this year will be an improvement on those available hitherto, though some* of last year’s will be in circulation. … …” [* “austerity” poppies]
19.10.1945. Liverpool Echo [sic]:
“A Woman’s Note. For Remembrance Day.
Poppies will again be worn on Remembrance Day, November 11, and the Liverpool depot in Whitechapel, for the display and sale of wreaths—for which already many orders have been received—was officially opened yesterday by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, the Earl of Sefton, who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress. They specially admired the Royal Air Force wreaths, which are made of laurel leaves in the shape of wings and bear the R.A.F. badge with an embellishment of poppies.
In addition to the Service wreaths there are special designs for the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, besides the orthodox shapes, and the poppies seem to me to be of a much better quality than they were during the late war years.
Although the large poppies for use on cars are missing, there are some smaller waxed ones intended for cycles, and these, one of the workers told me, can be made into sprays for motorists if required. Mary Ventris.”
1.11.1945. Manchester Evening News [sic]:
“Million Poppies for Motorists. Nearly 1,000,000 poppy emblems for motorists alone have been made by the British Legion for the 25th anniversary of Poppy Day this year. They differ from previous years in that the emblem is now a large single poppy instead of the former three small ones.”
1958: “HAIG FUND”. It is believed that the “Haig Fund” Remembrance Poppy, already shown, once belonged to “Flight Officer Peter Walter Clark (906757)”. It is made from two layers of scarlet red felt.
When the poppy was acquired, it was accompanied by two metal Volunteer Reserve Training badges and documentation dating to September 1958 – the latter linking Flying Officer P.W. Clark to O. C. No. 1379 (Leiston) Squadron Air Training Corps. Thus, it is deduced that the poppy could date to that year.
Peter Walter Clark 906757 was born on 09 September 1921 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. His parents were Walter Clark and Ethel Ellen Elisabeth Latham (m October 1915 Epping, Essex).
In the 2nd Quarter of 1950, Peter married one Barbara M P Hockin at Ely, Cambridgeshire. Peter Walter Clark died in January 2001 at Ipswich, Suffolk.
FOOTNOTE: BRITISH FLOWER DAYS
Before Poppy Lady Madame Guérin brought her artificial Remembrance Poppies to Great Britain in 1921, there had been a tradition there to distribute artificial flowers (carried out by women and girls) for donations to benefit charities. Who knows, because Madame Guérin lived in Great Britain from 1911 to 1914, perhaps she remembered this when she needed to raise funds for her own charity work?
Several examples of artificial flower emblems were distributed for charitable means in Great Britain before; during; and after the First World War.
‘Forget-Me-Not Days’ occurred throughout Great Britain: before, during, and after World War One. The dainty spray, shown below, was discovered entwined with a British Legion “Remembrance Day” Poppy. It is believed that the original wearer would have acquired them separately and carried out the entwining. A hint of the original forget-me-not-blue colour can just be seen on the left flower’s petals. The span of flowers is very fragile and is only a fraction over one inch wide.
The Burnley Express, on the 6th & 9th November 1912, mentions “London crippled children” (the girls of the John Groom’s Crippleage and Flower Mission perhaps?) making the Forget-Me-Not flowers that would be distributed in Burnley on the 16th [sic]:
“FORGET-ME-NOT DAY.—Weather permitting, a number of Burnley ladies are hoping to make a street collection on Saturday next, on behalf of providing warm clothing, toys, and a tea for the poor crippled children of Burnley at Christmas. The contributors will be given a “forget-me-not” made by the London crippled children and the ladies concerned confidently appeal for a hearty response.”
The following article in the Western Times (07 September 1915) gives some of idea of why they were held – in this case, why Exeter wants to raise funds from them [sic]:
“FORGET-ME-NOT DAY. What Has Been Done and What Must Be Done. HELP WANTED.
No doubt in your town or village you have already had your Rose Day, and your French, Belgian, Serbian and Russian Flag Day, and your Daisy Day and no end of other “Days.” The point is, have you had your Forget-me-Not Day? If not, some public-spirited and energetic lady or gentleman would be doing a real service by writing to the Hon. Organizer of Forget-me-Not Day, the Guild-hall, Exeter, and offering to take the necessary steps to have one.
There may be some individual, away in some obscure corner, who does not know what Forget-me-Not Day is, and for the benefit of such it may be explained that Forget-me-Not Day is a day given up for the sale of artificial forget-me-nots in aid of the Mayoress of Exeter’s Hospitality Fund. This fund provides refreshments for soldiers on their way to the Front, each man being given a bag containing a large sandwich, an orange, a large piece of cake, and a packet of cigarettes. In addition, his water bottle is filled with steaming hot tea. … …
“You must not forget, and your readers must not forget, that, great as is the organization of the Army, it has one weak point. When the men leave their depots for the Front they get no food till they arrive on the troopship. Many—the majority—of the men fed by the Mayoress have been travelling for from twelve to twenty hours. It may be said—indeed, it has been said—that the Government ought to do this work. The point is they do not do it, and the situation resolves itself to this: Either the Mayoress has to go on feeding them, or the men must go hungry. That, of course, is unthinkable. … …”
On 05 November 1927, Lincolnshire’s Grantham Journal printed the following poem written by “M.S.”:
Forget me not. With breaking hearts,
We craved this boon of thee
Before we took an active part
On land, and air, and sea
Return no more to those we love;
Ah! Sad indeed our lot;
Our sacrifice will not be vain
If thou forget me not.
Forget me not. Have mothers’ sons,
Who gave the best of life
And who for king and country left
Home, and friends, and wife;
Time softens grief, and heals our wounds,
And futile are our tears,
Yet still will we remember thee
Throughout the endless years.
Forget me not. With heads bowed low
We turn our thoughts once more
To those who in the battle fell,
Who sleep to wake no more.
Time cannot dim those glorious deeds
Of thou, our honoured dead,
Whose graves are scattered far and wide
Mid Flanders poppies red.
‘Rose Day’, also known as the ‘Queen Alexandra Rose Day’ began in 1912, when the Danish-born Queen wanted to commemorate 50 years since her arrival in Great Britain. Thus, a tradition began whereby artificial silk wild roses were distributed for donations which would benefit various charities. Initially, ‘Rose Day’ was only held in London but, then, it spread. Additionally, in 1912 and 1913 (at least) the roses were made of paper.
On 24 June 1915, the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette described a recent Rose Day in Exeter (Devon, England), mentioning John Groom’s ‘Crippleage and Flower Girls’ Mission’ of Clerkenwell, London [sic]:
“Rose Day. EXETER’S EFFORT. NEARLY £280 REALISED.
“Wear a rose and do honour to her Majesty Queen Alexandra and also benefit the hospitals and kindred institutions.” Thus were the citizens of the Kingdom yesterday invited to join in Rose Day. So great was the demand from all parts for artificial wild roses that the Crippleage, Clerkenwell, where so many blind and cripple girls are employed in producing them, was unable to cope with the orders. Consequently, the assistance of numerous firms had to be engaged. Queen Alexandra herself drove through the principal streets of London yesterday, and evinced the deep interest she takes in the movement, and, by so doing, graciously acknowledged the help of thousands of voluntary workers in a deserving object. Throughout Devonshire the fair sex of all classes displayed the greatest enthusiasm in the work, and there is not the slightest doubt that many philanthropic institutions in the country will considerably benefit as a result of their efforts. The movement was supported on a more extensive scale than in previous years at Exeter, and the ambition of the ladies entrusted with the sale was to raise £250, but they succeeded in reaching the splendid total of close on £280. Of this sum £40 was realised in the sale of wreaths in various establishments in the city during the last few days.
Mrs. Kendall King, who won such high praise by the admirable work she performed as Mayoress last year, was the hon. Secretary and treasurer of the organisation at Exeter, and was supported by a large number of other ladies who worked their hardest to make the sale a success. They included Mrs. Robertson (President of the Executive), the Mayoress, Mrs. Bradley Rowe, Mrs. Vlieland, Mrs. Balsom, Mrs. A. Thomas, Mrs. C. Walters, and Mrs. A. Rogers.
Numerous meetings had been previously held with a view to arranging that every thoroughfare in the city had one or more ladies allotted to it. As a consequence every main street seemed well provided with sellers who were in dainty cream and white dresses with hats trimmed with roses. They displayed keen business qualities, and men found it impossible to decline an invitation to buy a buttonhole or a spray. The roses on sale included 1,750 6d sprays, 1750 3d sprays, and 36,720 1d blooms. The whole of the proceeds will go to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. There were nearly 20 depots in different parts of the city, and about 250 helpers. Among them was Trooper Waller, of the 10th Hussars, a native of Cambridge, who is a patient at No. 2 Voluntary Aid Hospital. He sold from his bedside and obtained £1 18s.
Last year the total obtained was £168. The ladies who sold roses were:- … …”
‘Violet Day’ was another charity day in Great Britain. It may have been a day which originated as a commemoration of the death of Queen Victoria (?). It occurred throughout Great Britain. The Church Army was associated with holding these days but other charities have been discovered benefiting from ‘Violet Day’ collections, such as the Red Cross. It is not known what year these ‘Days’ began – although references are made to Violet Day in 1912 newspapers.
The following is an article about one ‘Violet Day’ held in Bath – the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette (06 October 1923) enlightened readers [sic]:
“CORRESPONDENCE. CHURCH ARMY VIOLET DAY.
To the Editor. “Bath Weekly Chronicle.” Sir.—Will you kindly allow us this hospitality of your columns in which to express our thanks and appreciation of the services of all who sold emblems for the Church Army on Saturday last, and our equal sense of the kindness of those who patronised the effort? The total sum raised was £132 12s. 2d., which will be devoted to Church Army work in Bath.
We desire to especially thank the proprietors of the “Bath Chronicle” for giving publicity to the undertaking, and for their willingness to report our meetings, and advertise our needs.
Also we are much indebted to various shops, and friends who kindly provided us with prizes for the draw, and Mr. T. J. Dyte has placed us under a great obligation in lending a room in his house as a depot and the use of his shop window.
KATE F. EAST (hon.sec. for Bath). U. CYRIL EDINGTON (clerical sec.), 15, Lansdown Place, E., Bath, October 4th 1923.”
The image above shows four beautiful British ‘Flag Day’ artificial flower badge pins. Together they illustrate the growing popularity, before and during the First World War, of offering artificial flowers in exchange for donations to benefit a variety of causes. These four flowers were acquired together, from the same collection.
The two different pansies(?), shown on the left, were paired together above the one description “Y.M.C.A. Brighton. July 14, 1917” – this has been duplicated within the image.
Pansy Days: Earliest references to ‘Pansy Day’ are to be found in 1912 newspapers. Seamen’s charities were amongst the causes that benefited.
The collector’s other quotes, for the marguerite daisy and the dog rose, are also duplicated:- for the daisy: “May 21, 1917” and for the rose: “Rose Day, 1917”.
Rose Days: From June 1912, Queen Alexandra’s ‘Rose Day’ occurred each year and benefited a variety of charities. Some people doubted its success but they were wrong. The girls of John Groom’s ‘Crippleage and Flower Girls Mission’ made this Queen Alexandra’s ‘Rose Day’ rose and the daisy – perhaps they made the other two flowers shown above too. The ‘Rose Day’ has already been covered above.
Daisy Days: The ‘Daisy Day’ started in 1913, in the wake of the success of ‘Rose Day’ in 1912. The Day appears to have benefited local charities (specifically hospitals) and the ‘National Children’s Home and Orphanage’ charity. John Groom’s Crippleage appears to have been involved again – “… manufactured for the occasion by the crippled children.” (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 28 July 1913)
At the same time, there was also a ‘Cornflower Day’. In 1912 and later years, references suggest that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was the only cause that benefited. The idea may have come from Germany – in 1911, there was a ‘Cornflower Day’ in Kiel – to benefit “veterans and orphanages”. The First World War seems to have brought about the demise of this ‘Cornflower Day’.
An early “Flower Day” the author has discovered is ‘Primrose Day’ – this was founded on the first anniversary of the death of British Prime Minister, and Politician, Benjamin Disraeli … 19 April 1882. It is reported that the primrose was Disraeli’s favourite flower because a wreath of primroses was sent by Queen Victoria to his funeral – with the message “His favourite flower”.
However, in a 1913 newspaper article, it was suggested that the word “His” referred to Prince Albert, rather than Disraeli but supporters of the latter “adopted the notion”. With no evidence discovered, to the contrary, it appears that people wore a fresh primrose, or a spray of them, in their lapel on each ‘Primrose Day’ as a tribute to Disraeli and not as a result of exchanging charitable donations for artificial versions.
All transcribed articles sourced from: http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
Further enlightenment or correction will be welcomed ….