During the First World War, millions of soldiers saw the poppies in Flanders fields on the Western Front. Some even sent pressed poppies home in letters. Over 100 years later, the poppy is still a world-recognised symbol of remembrance of the First World War, and millions of people choose to wear a red poppy in November. But when did this tradition start? What is it about the poppy that captured the public imagination so profoundly? And why do some people see the poppy as a controversial symbol? First World War Curator Laura Clouting tells us about the history of the poppy.

See Poppies, a brand new artwork at IWM North from 10 November 2021. 

Where did the red poppy symbol come from?

Where did the red poppy symbol come from?

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