Old Ledbury - Royal British Legion Poppy and Remembrance Sunday

Royal British Legion Poppy and Remembrance Sunday

Royal British Legion Poppy and Remembrance Sunday


In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle scared fields, to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.


Early poppyDuring the First World War (1914 -1918) much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud, bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.

Bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) however, were delicate but resilient flowers and grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction. In early May 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'.

McCraes poem in turn inspired an American academic, Moina Michael to make sell red silk poppies which were then brought to England by a French lady, Anna Guerin. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of the poppies which were sold on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever 'Poppy Appeal' raised over ₤106,000, a considerable amount of money at the time, which was used to help WW1 veterans with employment, housing etc.

Haig Fund Poppy

The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-Servicemen and which today, together with the Legion's warehouse in Aylesford, produces millions of poppies each year.

The demand for poppies in England was so high that few were reaching Scotland. Earl Haig's wife established the 'Lady Haig Poppy Factory' in Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland. Over 5 million Scottish poppies (which have four petals and no leaf unlike poppies in the rest of the UK) are still made by hand by disabled ex-Servicemen at Lady Haig's Poppy Factory each year and distributed by our sister charity Poppyscotland.

The poem


In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Remembrance Sunday Parade

Pre 1974

[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

Pretty sure that the chap at the back right hand side is my dad, Ron BAKER...JC

This had to be before 1974 because I was standard bearer after that...BH

I can see Mr CARTER, Mr SMITH carrying the reath, Mr Joe JONES, Bris DOWNING, Mr ALLAN, Ladies Mrs Phylis JONES, Mrs Netta SHAKESHEFF and Mrs Annie PEDLINGHAM...JJ

Date Unknown

[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

Lady holding the flag is Mrs SHAKESHEFF from Queensway. Mother of Alec and Ray...BEM

Looks like Mrs GRAHAM stood behind Mrs PEDLINGHAM...JVE

And looks like my mum fourth from right. Could be wrong though cos she rarely wore a hat...BEM

Next to Mrs GRAHAM to the right looks like Mrs RADFORD, in-between them Mrs Vera MORRIS from Queensway...JVE

I can see my mummy (Audrey EDGE) and my sis (Jo ). 2nd row on the right. Thanks Fiona a great photo...DEW

I think I can see Ray EDGE to...DEW

I can see my nanny PITT...DE

Sorry, don't have a date for this. I think my mum is actually on the left of the flag-bearer, face just showing above Netta's elbow. Having looked at the photo again I think that's possibly Uncle Harry to the right of the cross but could be wrong!...FP

Brian, I think most of the ladies at this time and for occasions like this did wear a hat...FP

Thanks Fiona so yes, it must be my mum. I knew she attended the Remembrance parades and my dad did too. Never went to the church though. He just wanted to remember fallen comrades...BEM

That is my mum next to Mrs SHAKESHEFF the Standard bearer, looking at the photo Lynne my mum is on the right, with her head looking down...JJ

3rd from the right looks like Joan FIELD ( Mollie's mum )...JB


[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

St Michael and all Angels Ledbury Dedication of New Standards for Ledbury British Legion - Cyril BEVAN and Brenda HILL

Lovely to see my uncle Cyril, he used to love the legion!...EV

Lovely to see a pic of Cyril, we lived next door to him whilst we were growing up and have such wonderful memories of him and Joan...PH

[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

New Standards used for the first time


[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

I can see Tiny WILLIAMS 2nd in from the right in the front, Joey JONES 4th in from the left front, looks like Sharon SMITH's dad 3rd in from the left front...JVE

Is that Aunty Joyce DAVIS front 1st on the right Bridget...JVE

Yes Jo, thats mum with her medals on!!...BB

Tiny Williams is my nan love this...JS

I think that could be mum Doreen HOBBY next to Tiny Williams, wearing a similar hat...JM

Pretty sure thats my grandad George BERRY 7th from left next to man in glasses...SD


[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

This was taken 11th November 1984 when I had been Standard Bearer for 10 years.

Brenda Hill Very smart!...JVE

Always very smart when on parade...JJ

Standard bearer for 10 years. That is pretty impressive- well done...CE


[Royal British Legion Remembrance Sunday]

Thats old pic fosters menswear in background , thats been gone about 30 years...RS

See a few old faces on this one...CP

Just in picture on right is me...BH

The Date could be 11th november 1985...

Outside John Salmon's shop looks like Mr Emery who used to live in the Crescent...SJ

Yeah that's my grandad, I never saw him where anything other then a suit...JE

He was always a very smart man we lived a few doors away from him in the crescent...SJ

1902 Jakeman and Carver's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire
1914 Newent Reporter Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1914 - 1919 Ledbury Guardian Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1897 - 1980 A Retrospect Tilley's Almanack's - Herefordshire History
Photographs are credited to the owners where possible
Comments in italics are from members of the Old Ledbury Facebook Group
Cuttings are from Old Ledbury Reporter Newspapers