Remembrance Sunday

Poignant Poppies

Remembrance Sunday (November 12) is held on the second Sunday in November and honors members of the armed forces. The official national ceremony takes place at Whitehall in London. The ceremony includes two-minutes of silence at 11 am, representing the eleventh hour in which World War I came to end. 

Traditionally, the Queen lays the first poppy wreath. However, this year Prince Charles will perform this duty, while Her Majesty and Prince Phillip watch from a balcony. Other members of the Royal Family, key political leaders and representatives from the armed forces will also lay wreaths.

Nearly a century later, the red poppy remains a popular symbol of remembrance. During World War I, red poppies grew and flourished throughout the war-torn countryside. The flowers were featured in the famous 1915 poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written by a Canadian Doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae after losing a friend in battle.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly...

His poem inspired American, Monia Michael and French woman, Anna Guérin to make and sell red silk poppies — interestingly they were first sold in the US to support disabled veterans. In 1921, the Royal British Legion held its first ‘Poppy Appeal’ and sold nearly 9 million poppies to support World War I veterans. The following year, The Poppy Factory was established and continues today to employ disabled veterans to produce millions of poppies a year.

The Poppy Factory in Richmond offers free 2-hour tours. The presentation covers the history of 
the factory and includes a visit to the production floor where wreaths for the Royal Family along with millions of other remembrance products are made by hand. You will also have a chance to help the charity make paper poppies — particularly popular this time of year. +44 2089 391837
20 Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UR

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