" Mr. Straker."
" You can fall the men out for breakfast. The war is over."
" Very good, sir." - Lt.-Col. F. Lushington; quoted in Guy Chapman, OBE, MC (Ed), Vain Glory; A miscellany of the Great War 1914-1918, 1937/1982
"Year after year we gather and shout commands in the Square,
Wait for the Governor-General, say a few words of prayer,
Lay our wreaths in order, mothers and big shots first,
In memory of those who have made it to the other side of the worst."
- George Johnston, Canadian poet, Remembrance, 1966
POPPY DAY: Armistice Day, November 11th, known widely by that name through the sale everywhere of artificial red Flanders Poppies, made during the year at the British Legion Poppy Factory in South London by the two hundred disabled ex-Service men employed there, in aid of Lord Haig's British Legion Appeal Fund. The numbers of poppies made runs into millions and the Poppy Day Collection by means of the sale of them, realized, on November 11th, 1923, over £250,000. The money is utilized in aid of the work of the Benevolent Department of the British Legion to assist distressed ex-Service men and their families. The world-famous poem, written after the Second Battle of Ypres, in the summer of 1915 by a heroic Canadian Officer, who died in the War, Lieut.-Colonel John McCrae, M.D., and published in Punch on December 8th, 1915, inspired and originated the idea of "Poppy Day". "The Army poem of the War" it has been called. The first lines run :
"In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row."
No verses were better known and more widely quoted at the Front and all over the Empire during the War. The blood-red poppy has always had associations with battlefields, particularly in Flanders, the historic "****-pit of Europe". So indeed contemporary letters of old times describe, mentioning the amazing profusion in the years following, to name four battles, Ramillies, Malplaquet, Fontenoy and Waterloo. Lord Macaulay, in Chapter XX of his "History of England", in his account of William Ill's defeat in the battle of Landen in 1693, after describing the fearful carnage on the battlefield, says this:--"The next summer the soil, fertilised by 20,000 corpses, broke forth into millions of poppies. The traveller who on the road from Saint Tron to Tirlemont, saw that vast sheet of rich scarlet spreading from Landen to Neerwinden, could hardly help from fancying that the figurative prediction of the Hebrew was literally accomplished, that the earth was disclosing her blood and refusing to cover the slain."
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons, Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases, 1925
A Soldier of the Great War Known unto God. - Inscription on gravestones above unidentified bodies, chosen by Kipling as literary advisor for the Imperial War Graves Commission, 1919
A Soldier of the Second World War; A Canadian Regiment; 19 August 1942 - inscription on the headstones of unidentified soldiers who died at Dieppe, in the cemetery at Hautot-sur-Mer, from Granatstein/Morton, A Nation Forged in Fire, 1989
Of the 105,210 members of the British forces of the First World War who have no known graves, 19,660 were Canadian. The names of these men are inscribed on memorials in Canada and Europe, 11,285 are on the Vimy Memorial, and 6,994 on the Commonwealth Memorial at the Menin Gate in Ypres. On the Newfoundland memorial at Beaumont Hamel are the names of 814 Newfoundlanders who have no known grave. - VALOUR REMEMBERED; Canada and the First World War, Veterans Affairs Publication, 1982
"On this memorial are inscribed the names of men from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who died in the Korean war and have no known grave. They died with men of other countries fighting to uphold the ideals of the United Nations." Inscription on memorial plaque - United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Pusan, Korea - VALOUR REMEMBERED; Canadians in Korea, Veterans Affairs Publication, 1982
Inscription on the headstones of unknown Canadian soldiers who fell in the First World War: "A Soldier of the Great War. A Canadian regiment. Known unto God."
Inscription on the headstone over the empty grave of the Unknown Soldier which was disinterred and brought to Canada: "The former grave of an Unknown Canadian Soldier of the First World War. His remains were removed on 25 May, 2000 and now lie interred at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada."
The unknown Canadian soldier had originally been buried in the [Commonwealth War Graves Commission] British cemetery -- the Cabaret Rouge -- less than 10 kilometres from Vimy Ridge.