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 Scottish Poppy Appeal raises over £2 million each year.  This, combined with our other year-round fundraising, enables us to provide tailored support and funding to thousands of ex-Servicemen and women as well as other vital services in advice, employment, mobility, respite, housing and mental health support.

Poppyscotland runs the Poppy Appeal in Scotland while The Royal British Legion runs the Appeal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  However, in June 2011 we merged with The Royal British Legion (TRBL) to form the largest charity group supporting the Armed Forces community across the whole of the UK.  We continue to operate as a distinct chartiy within the TRBL group of charities, relying entirely on public donations to allow us to continue our life-changing work.

You can find out more about our history here.





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