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Essex museum showcases one of first ever Remembrance Day poppies

Joe Jones

One of the first ever poppies made to be worn on Remembrance Day is on display at a museum in Essex, England.

The Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon is home to the fabric flower from 1921.

Poppies were adopted as a symbol of remembrance by the newly formed Royal British Legion in 1921.

The flower first became a symbol of remembrance in 1918 when American Monia Michael, inspired by the John McRae poem In Flanders Fields, decided to wear a poppy in remembrance of those who died in the First World War.

On the 9th November 1918, she sold 24 red silk poppies to delegates at a YMCA conference in New York.

The poppy was later adopted as a symbol in America in 1920 and Canada in July 1921, before a French lady by the name of Anna Guerin started making fabric poppies in France to sell for the benefit of war orphans.

She then visited England and persuaded Field Marshal Douglas Haig to adopt the Poppy as a symbol of remembrance for the British Legion.


The first every poppy appeal in 1921 raised more than £106,000 and was used to help First World War veterans with employment and housing.

A poppy factory in Richmond, London, was then set up in 1922 by Major George Howson, who employed disabled ex-servicemen to make the poppies.

The poppy can be viewed at the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon, Wednesdays to Sundays, from 10:30am to 5pm.

Edited by Joe Jones


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