Red and White Poppies

Wreath of many poppies created by artist Hazel Elstone for Wales’ BAME WW100 Memorial Service at the Temple of Peace in November 2018.

Poppies of many colours have long been a symbol of Remembrance:

  • The Red Poppy has been the military symbol of remembrance since 1921. Its initial adoption was championed from 1920 by women activists Moina Belle Michael (USA) and Anna Guerin (France), and it was first adopted by the Royal British Legion for a fundraising campaign in November 1921. Funds from Red Poppy sales go to the Royal British Legion. Remembrance Poppy – Wikipedia.
  • The White Poppy, symbol of Remembering for Peace, was adopted from 1926 by women’s and WW1 veterans movements concerned at the co-option of the red poppy for military recruitment: which they considered a direct contravention of the ‘Never Again’ pledge that underpins Remembrance. Funds from White Poppy sales go to Peace Pledge Union. Additionally, in Wales there are white poppies with ‘Hedd’ – ‘peace’ – at the centre; funds from these go towards Cymdeithas y Cymod, the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
  • The Black Poppy has been a symbol of remembrance for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Service People since the 1980s, formalised from 2010 with establishment of Black Poppy Rose.
  • The Purple Poppy has been the symbol of remembrance for animals as victims of war since 2006, created by Animal Aid. Although no longer sold / used as a fundraiser, it remains associated with the War Horse Memorial in Staffordshire.

Unfortunately, poppy colours have often been coopted to stir up ‘culture wars’ by ideologues and extremist groups; oft claimed to be a ‘modern infraction’, these perspectives on remembrance have really been an annual debate from 1926 to the present day.

In 2016, for WCIA’s Wales for Peace project, a young designer from Welshpool developed a logo and icon which was adopted to represent the whole debate underpinning remembrance, war and peace. The ‘Wales for Peace’ poppy is a fusion of both the red and white poppies, with brushstrokes representing forward motion towards a more peaceful future rooted in remembering conflicts past.

The Red Poppy, (Welsh) White Poppy, and ‘Wales for Peace’ fusion poppy to left.