Royal British Legion Club & Branch Friern Barnet Why Poppies ? The First World War caused widespread devstation to areas of Northern France and Belgium, but the poppy flowered every year, bringing colour and hope to the devestated landscape. Colonel John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian armed forces, was deeply moved by what he saw and, inspired by the poppies, wrote a poem entitled - “IN FLANDERS FIELDS”. McCrae died in a military hospital on the French coast shortly after writing this poem, but it was published in Punch magazine, showing the world what the conditions on the battlefield were like. On the 11th Hour, on the 11th Day, of the 11th Month in 1918, the First World War ended. Thousands had died, thousands more had been injured and scarred by their horrific experiences, and needed support and practical help when they returned. For those people and their families, life would never be the same again. Civillians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom.  An American war seceretary, Moina Michael, was inspired by McCrae’s poem, and sold poppies to raise money for the ex-service community...and so the tradition began. In 1922, Major George Howson MC, who served in the First World War, founded The Disabled Society. He recognised unemployed ex-service men could make artificial poppies and approached The Legion. He founded a small factory, which was later to become The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory. Flanders Fields The Cenotaph at Whitehall