Poppy Watch: Tweet us your pics!

Poppy Watch: Tweet us your pics!

Friday, 1 August 2014

It’s wonderful to see so many red poppies all across the UK but did you know they also come in white and purple? Stacey Permaul talks poppies, prime ministers, oh and there’s a bit with a dog!

During this centenary, poppies will feature heavily across the country. A poppy even features on our Poetry Competition design.

This got me thinking about the red poppy and its monopoly on serving as a symbol for one of the most famous wars of all time. We all dutifully pop our pound into the Royal British Legion collection box and feel that sense of pride when pinning our poppy to our lapels. Every celebrity and television personality will be seen sporting their red poppy proudly to show condolence, sympathy and empathy for the British fallen.

But what of the other casualties of war? The French, German, African, Indian? The nurses, doctors, stretcher carriers on the front line? The horses, dogs and pigeons employed in military duty during the First World War?

How are all of these casualties represented by a symbol of remembrance?

Well, I was delighted to discover upon a little research, that along with the more common red poppy, there is also the purple and white poppy which each represents a different ethos or remembrance.

The White Poppy

An artificial flower symbolizing peace, put forward by the No More War Movement in 1926. This pacifist organisation, felt the red poppy signified only the British military dead and they wanted a symbol for all casualties of war. It is now supported by anti-war organisations such as the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship as they believe the white poppy disassociates itself from military connotations of the red poppy.

There was quite some controversy over the white poppy appeal, with many people believing that the white poppy would divert valuable charity away from the Royal British Legion. Indeed, some women lost their jobs for wearing a white poppy to work. Even Margaret Thatcher voiced her disapproval of the white poppy during Prime Minister’s Questions as well as The Daily Star publishing many ariticles criticizing the symbol.


The Purple Poppy

The purple poppy, created by Animal Aid, is a symbol representing all the animals lost in war. During the First World War alone over eight million horses died in battle on all sides.

Sergeant Stubby

Dogs were frequently used for their agility and guarding skills in the trenches. The most common dogs to be found employed in the Great War were Dobermans, German Shepherds and a very loved bull terrier called Sergeant Stubby who became the most decorated and highly ranked military dog in all of the US army!
And last, but not least, the use of pigeons during the First World War was integral to communications with over 100,000 pigeons sending messages over the course of four years. They had an outstanding success rate of 95% getting their messages through the battlefield to the recipient.

Join our Poppy Watch!

Have you seen poppies in some unusual places recently? Perhaps you are using a poppy symbol for your centenary commemorations?
We would love to see your poppy pics and help us follow the poppy action across the UK during this special anniversary year.
Tweet us your poppy pics to @TheatreCloud using #PoppyWatch.

Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.