Sunday, 8 November 2009


I can't remember another year when the wearing of a poppy has been so intensively debated. All last week the papers had letters from Tunbridge Wells wondering whether the BBC had bought in a job lot from the British Legion, such was the proliferation. We expect newsreaders to start wearing them in September, but when I saw every member of every band on Jools Holland with one, I waited for the Blue Peter dog to run on with a poppy in its collar. It seemed as though everyone was trying to outdo each other in the remembrance stakes. Last night in the Royal Albert Hall Her Majesty appeared to be wearing six and a stray Duke standing behind her had such an enormous papaver somniferum on his coat I waited to see if it would squirt water like a clown's buttonhole. So it came with great relief yesterday to discover this little understated enamel badge on a lapel. And if Wartime Housewife will forgive me for nicking her Sunday Poem idea, here's a little understatement from Edward Thomas, who really knew about these things:

A Private

This ploughman dead in battle slept out of doors
Many a frozen night, and merrily
Answered staid drinkers, good bedmen, and all bores:
'At Mrs. Greenland's Hawthorn Bush', said he,
'I slept'. None knew which bush. Above the town,
Beyond 'The Drover', a hundred spot the down
In Wiltshire. And where now at last he sleeps
More sound in France- that, too, he secret keeps.


Vinogirl said...

Aah...the Dominic Egre designed pin, so understated.

Anonymous said...

Bit of a coat of arms there...maybe this is a snap of the Queen as she popped out to the shops.

Thud said...

I am fittingly moved.

Ron Combo said...

Excellent post. Did a lesson here in Italy on the significance of the poppy some years back and, surprisingly, the pupils (disaffected 15 year olds) were quite taken with the symbolism. Here there is nothing with which they record their war dead, apart from sporadic parades to local memorials.

Dominic Egre said...

Sadly the photographed pin was not oe of mine. This is a smaller commercially produced pin that is available in the UK with a proportion of the money going to the RBL.

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