The giant Poppy of Honour created to remember every single member of British and Commonwealth forces lost during the First World War came to Wellington on Monday 12 November during its tour of Somerset.
Constructed of steel and glass and standing nearly 3 metres high, the memorial is made of 1,115,471 individual poppies inscribed with rank, name and date of each man reported missing or killed in action, as well as 800 women and 306 soldiers shot at dawn. Each name was handwritten by one of the team of volunteers.
It is guarded by four steel figures of soldiers and features a wooden box containing a WW1 rifle and vials of soil from battlefields.
The poppy is the brainchild of Terry Williams of Henstridge, near Sherborne. He explained: “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 served with the 1st and 6th Battalions, The Light Infantry until leaving the army in 1988. He spent 4 years raising funds to make the poppy which was unveiled in Wincanton in October.
At the end of the tour of 19 different locations around Somerset it will then then be taken around the UK and to Ireland. Later this year the Poppy of Honour will go on display at the Tower of London and then to the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium before returning to Wincanton. Plans are being made to site it in a permanent Memorial Garden in the town.
All donations made during the tour will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.