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posted 10 Nov 2008, 15:21 by St Lawrence C of E Church   [ updated 11 Nov 2008, 00:39 ]
'We shall not sleep, though poppies grow' is a line taken from the poem "In Flanders Fields" by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae and here it is in full:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below...

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields...

John McCrae wrote it on 2 May, 1915, upon a scrap of paper shortly after his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed by a German artillery shell. This was happened in the second week of fighting during the second battle of Ypres, First World War.

The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts.

The poppy was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.