Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Remembering the Battle of the Somme, in its Centenary year.

duckets grove poppy fields
Poppy fields
Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Tomorrow marks 100 years since the start of the battle of the Somme.

I am sure many will know a great deal about this shocking first world war battle, however if you would like to know more or read about it for the first time, this is a great link !

Battle of the Somme centenary: How is it being commemorated and why was it so important?

As you can see here, like so many I have linked the poppy to the Somme and the first world war, how and why this link came about is detailed below …..

What do the red poppies signify?

The association between commemorating war dead and poppies arises from the famous opening lines of Canadian army officer John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field, which begins: ” In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row”.

McCrae wrote the poem during the Second Battle of Ypres, the day after he helped to bury a close friend. He had noticed the way poppies bloomed around the graves and included the observation in his poem, which was written from the viewpoint of the dead soldiers.

McCrae was promoted to Acting Colonel and moved to a position behind the lines, but died of meningitis in a military hospital on 28 January 1918. His poetry, however, lived on. Published in December 1915, In Flanders Field quickly became known as one of the defining poems of the First World War.

American humanitarian worker Moina Michael was one of the millions touched by the imagery of poppies growing on the battlefield. To raise money for her work helping disabled servicemen, she came up with the idea of selling silk poppies to be worn as a tribute to the fallen.

By 1921, her efforts had led to the poppy being adopted as the official emblem of remembrance by both the American Legion and Royal British Legion, with poppy sellers an established fixture in both nations.

Gallery and Poem (John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field)

duckets grove poppy fields macro

John McCrae, May 1915

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.

duckets grove poppy fields close up

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.

duckets grove poppy fields wide

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.

Another great link about the Somme is here : The Battle of the Somme: 141 days of horror

3 responses

  1. A sad commentary, as it appears that humanity has still not learned…

    June 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

  2. sueashby7

    I am stunned. Nigel, this is the most beautiful piece I have read in a while. I had no idea what exactly the story was, behind the poppy. Thank you so much for the history lesson and your amazing photographs. I will always see the poppy in a much different light now, while remembering your pictures every time I see one.

    June 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

  3. Pingback: Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle | Marcus Ampe's Space

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