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The Poppy of Honour will be unveiled in Wincanton this Saturday

Thursday 4 October 2018, 18:12
By John Smith

Poppy of Honour 2018, artists impression

On Saturday 6th October, a unique, commemorative Poppy of Honour will be unveiled during a ceremony in Cale Park, Wincanton, Somerset. The event, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, begins at the Wincanton War Memorial Hall (Memorial Hall Car Park, just off High Street, BA9 9JF) at 10:20am, with a parade marching down to Cale Park (Wincanton Recreation Ground) where the unveiling ceremony will start at 11am.

The parade will be attended by the Waterloo Band and Bugles of The Rifles, Somerset Army Cadet Force, Taunton Air Cadets, Pipes and Drums of the Wessex Highlanders, and the Buglers Association of the Light Division and Rifles.

There will be performances by the Warminster Military Wives Choir, and the Ngati Ranana Maori Club performing a Hakka. Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Mrs Annie Maw will join serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces and Veterans from many different regiments, alongside the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, Avon & Somerset Constabulary and South Western Ambulance Service. Over 100 standards will be on display.

The event will continue throughout the weekend, featuring military band performances, air displays including a three-biplane fly-over with a poppy drop and, in remembrance of the First World War, a trench display.

For the duration of the parade there will be road closures and parking restrictions on High Street, Market Place, Church Street, Station Road, Pines Close, and Cavalier Way, between 10:10am and 10:45am. Official parking for the event will be at Wincanton Racecourse, BA9 8BJ.

What is the Poppy of Honour?

The Poppy of Honour was the brainchild of Terry Williams of Henstridge, but upon realising that the project was too much for one man he appealed for volunteers, and in 2014 the Poppy of Honour 2018 group was born.

Support grew to over 250,000 individual volunteers and businesses working together to create an 8-foot steel and glass poppy-shaped sculpture, the first memorial of its kind, dedicated to every one of the 1,117,635 British and Commonwealth service men and women, killed or declared missing in action in World War 1. All the names have been supplied by the War Graves Commission.

When erected, the Poppy will measure 2.6m tall, 2.2m wide and 0.3m deep. The glass poppy is flanked on four sides by the Tommy Guards of Honour. Sponsors include Cornwall Glass, AJN Steelstock, Taunton Fabrications, Vincent Engineering and Bradford Building Supplies who have donated their services to complete the sculpture.

The structure itself will be impressive, but its defining feature will be the 1,117,635 individual poppies contained within; each hand written with the rank and name of an individual, along with the date they were either killed, or declared missing in action. A box will also be enclosed containing small vials of earth and artefacts from the battlefields of World War 1.

Terry served with the 1st and 6th Battalions, The Light Infantry. His military service ended in 1988 after 16 years. His service included stints in Northern Ireland, several UK bases, and military exercises in Belize, Canada, and Kenya. He has lived in Henstridge since 2007.

Writing the poppies

Writing the names, ranks and dates on each of the individual poppies has been an effort born by over 250,000 international volunteers. In Wincanton, three events were organised to give locals an opportunity to write and assemble some of the poppies, taking place at the Cale Park Kitchen, The Bear Inn and Wincanton Memorial Hall.

BBC Points West sent a TV crew to the Cale Park Kitchen on Wednesday 18th July to interview some of the volunteers producing the poppies.

Remembering the dead and the missing

The Poppy of Honour reminds us that of the 60 million personnel mobilised to fight in World War 1, a staggering 8 million were declared either killed, or missing in action. Of the survivors, 7 million soldiers were permanently disabled, and 15 Million were seriously wounded.

The commemoration also remembers the 800 women killed, and the 306 soldiers who were shot at dawn, but who have now been granted a Royal Pardon.

“This is the first national memorial holding the collective names of every person killed or missing in action in WW1. The response from the public, business and groups has surpassed our hopes and ensured that every single husband, wife, brother, sister, son and daughter who gave their lives will be remembered in this centenary year and for years to come. Although they are gone, they will never be forgotten.”

 - Terry Williams

What will happen to the Poppy after the ceremony?

After the ceremony, the Poppy will go on a tour of the following Somerset locations before returning to Wincanton. Then, in early 2019, the Poppy will embark on a major tour around the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland, before being displayed at the Tower of London.

For the final stage of the tour, the Poppy will head over the Channel to spend a month on display in Ypres outside the Flanders Museum. When the Poppy eventually returns once more to Wincanton, it’s hoped that a permanent memorial garden will be created for it so that everyone can visit it for years to come.

Somerset tour dates

1st November  - Frome
2nd November  - Midsomer Norton
3rd November  - Shepton Mallet
4th November  - Wells
5th November  - Weston-Super-Mare
6th November  - Bridgwater
7th November  - Burnham-on-Sea
8th November  - Minehead
9th November  - Simonsbath
10th November  - Temple Met/Church, Taunton
11th November  - Wiveliscombe
12th November  - Wellington
13th November  - Bishop’s Lydeard
14th November  - Taunton
15th November  - Ilminster
16th November  - Chard
17th November  - Crewkerne
18th November  - Langport
19th November  - Yeovil

For more information about the project, visit www.poppyofhonour2018.org.uk. The project is also raising funds for the Royal British Legion. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/poppyofhonour2018.




Comments

nigelengert
Posts: 1
Comment
Poppy of Honour
Reply #1 on : Sun October 07, 2018, 16:29:16
So sad the weather decided to make everyone who attended feel as if they were sharing some of the hardships endured by all sides during winter in the trenches on the Western Front.

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