Royal Navy helps launch poppy appeal

The Royal Navy supported the Royal British Legion (RBL) in launching this year’s Devon Poppy Appeal launch Friday 24 Oct on land and sea.

In the year that marks 100 years since the birth of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance and hope, the Royal British Legion is encouraging people in Devon to support the Poppy Appeal for the memory of the fallen and the future of the living.

Devonport Naval Base and Plymouth Sound were the two locations where the £1m appeal was launched. 

Naval Base Commander Commodore Graeme Little hosted a wreath-laying at sea on Plymouth Sound over a wrecked naval requisitioned trawler.

They are always there to support me when I have my weak moments.

Joanne Weston

A short and poignant Naval service and the Last Post were also staged on board the Royal Naval P2000 boat in Commemoration of WW1,  those who died from the wreck and of all those serving in the military today.

RBL Devon President, Commodore Jake Moores also attended.

Cdre Little announced the Navy in Plymouth was planning to sign a long-standing partnership pledge with the RBL to officially recognise their mutual on-going support.

He added: “It’s important to recognise that the RBL and proceeds from the Poppy Appeal along with Remembrance Events support veterans of past and present.

“Therefore, we are not only looking back in reflection, but also appreciating the sacrifices and service of serving military personnel.

“The people of Plymouth are ahead on that issue and people everywhere are increasingly thinking ahead to the next generations.’’

Four young girls, all named Poppy, also attended at Cdre Little’s official residence to join with RBL veterans and standard bearers to mark the dedication of the appeal to present and future serving military personnel. Two of the girls are from military families who directly benefit from RBL services.

Poppy Weston, 9, attended with her mother Joanne.  Poppy’s father Barry Weston was a Royal Marine who died in combat in Afghanistan.

Joanne said: “I’ve got so much to thank the legion for since he died.  They are always there to support me when I have my weak moments.  And they are there for anything practical.

“I can’t praise them enough.’’

Poppy Doyle, 3, joined in with her father Corporal Kevin Doyle, an explosive ordnance disposal expert.  Poppy’s family also praised the legion.

They went on one of the RBL’s respite holidays, a so-called Poppy Break in Southport.  They qualified because of his extended deployments away from home and because the family could not afford a holiday.

The youngest girl, Poppy Hammett, aged 16 months, attended with her mother Naomi who said: “The Royal British Legion does a very good job and we’re pleased to be here.’’

She named her daughter Poppy after she was born on the anniversary of D-Day and in honour of Naomi’s grandfather who spent several days on the Normandy Beaches during D-Day.

The appeal’s theme is WW1 remembered and present with the youth of today.  Last year the Poppy Appeal in Devon raised £990,000 and the legion hopes to match or exceed this.

Photographs by LA(Phot) Joel Rouse