History of the poppy

Inspired by Lt Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, written during the First World War, the poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance for those who gave their lives.

After the First World War, Field Marshal Earl Haig dedicated his life to providing practical support to ex-Servicemen, women and their families. He founded a number of ex-Service organisations, including The Earl Haig Fund Scotland, The Royal British Legion and The Royal British Legion Scotland.

The first Poppy Appeal took place in 1921 with poppies imported from France and in 1926 Lady Haig established Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in the Canongate, Edinburgh, which consisted of two men making poppies using paper and scissors. However, demand for poppies and for employment from disabled ex-Servicemen soon grew and numbers swelled. In 1966 Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory moved to Warriston Road, where it has been ever since.

The Earl Haig Fund Scotland organises the Scottish Poppy Appeal north of the Border, while its sister organisation, The Royal British Legion, runs the Appeal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2006 The Earl Haig Fund Scotland launched a new identity – Poppyscotland – to engage with a younger audience and to reflect its transition into year-round fundraising.

Since 1945 there has been only one year in which a member of the UK Armed Forces has not been killed on active service – 1968. The recent conflict in Iraq and the current deployment of Forces in Afghanistan means that the demand on Poppyscotland is increasing and shows no sign of diminishing. Poppyscotland has been in existence for almost 90 years and will continue to be there for veterans, now and in the future.


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