Why do people wear poppies?

Last updated at 10:48

The Royal British Legion has started this year's Poppy Appeal.

In the days leading up to 11 November, you will see people on the TV and in the streets wearing a poppy.

This is a symbol to remember those who have given their lives in war.

Millions of poppies will be given out over the coming days by tens of thousands of volunteers.

Why do we wear poppies?

The reason poppies are used to remember those who have given their lives in battle is because they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War One ended.

Poppies growingPA
Poppies growing in a field in France, which used to be a battlefield

This is described in the famous World War One poem In Flanders Fields, which you can read below.

Ever since then, they have come to be a symbol of remembering not just those who gave their lives in World War One, but all those who have died on behalf of their country.

Prime Minister Theresa May attaches a poppy to her jacketGetty Images
Prime Minister Theresa May attaches a poppy to her jacket for last year's remembrance period

Every year, volunteers make poppies available throughout the country and people make a donation in order to get their poppy.

The money raised from these donations is used to help servicemen and women who are still alive, whose lives have been changed by wars that they fought in.

Veteran soldiersGetty Images
Former soldiers remember those who have lost their lives in war on Remembrance Sunday. You can see the person at the front is carrying a wreath of poppies

It might help them to get jobs and somewhere to live, and will also help older war veterans with any support they may need.

It is also used to help those who have lost loved ones because of wars.

Where did it all start?

Wearing poppies like this to raise money to help people who had fought in wars started in 1921.

This was year that the Royal British Legion was founded on 15 May.

Royal British Legion volunteersGetty Images
Royal British Legion volunteers collect donations and give out poppies in the streets

However, back then the poppies weren't made out of paper like they are today. They were made out of silk.

They sold out straight away and raised more than £106,000 for those whose lives had been affected by the war, by helping to find them jobs and somewhere to live once they were no longer serving in the army.

In 1922, a factory was set up where disabled former soldiers were employed to make the poppies.

Plastic poppy stemsGetty Images
The poppies are made out of two plastic parts and two paper parts, and must be assembled by volunteers. Here you can see a pile of the green stems used to make poppies

This factory is still running - and producing many millions of poppies each year - to this very day.

While the majority of people wear their poppy on their chest, there is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy.

As the Royal British Legion says: "We only ask you to wear it with pride."

What is happening this year?
Poppy appeal installation in GreenwichNils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock
The installation in London was unveiled on Thursday

The Royal British Legion say the 2018 Poppy Appeal is designed to say thank you to the World War One generation in the year of the 100th anniversary of the end of the World War I.

A six-metre-high poppy installation has been unveiled to the public at the National Maritime Museum.

The threads are laid out all around the country and have messages written on them written by people who lived through the conflict.


  • View all (8)
  • Comment number 8. Posted by U17273183

    12 Nov 2018 10:29
    remembrance day is a sad time of year have respect and remember those who had fell
  • Comment number 7. Posted by Toby

    11 Nov 2018 19:01
    This comment was removed because it broke the rules. Explain
  • Comment number 6. Posted by Toby

    11 Nov 2018 19:00
    This comment was removed because it broke the rules. Explain
  • Comment number 5. Posted by Toby

    11 Nov 2018 18:59
  • Comment number 4. Posted by happytrampoliningchocolatewaffle

    11 Nov 2018 17:58
    I have a poppy bracelet
  • Comment number 3. Posted by U16986952

    11 Nov 2018 16:50
    I thank all the people who have fought their life for us

    [Edited by Moderator]
  • Comment number 2. Posted by CommieTommie

    26 Oct 2018 23:31
    This comment was removed because it broke the rules. Explain
  • Comment number 1. Posted by turquoise teeny turtle

    26 Oct 2018 0:38
    First comment when I was typing it! My family enjoy wearing poppies because it helps us to remember how those people put their lives at risk for our future which we’re living now. I think that it’s a brilliant way to symbolise and remember the lives of WWII soldiers. ❤️

    Bookworm x