Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Poppy Fascism

I don't wear a poppy and can't remember having worn one for decades. No doubt the poppy fascists will target me - they're a new variety of self-righteous, holier-than-thou person who abuses you for not wearing a poppy.

It's not from some deeply held political or moral stance, I simply don't like wearing things on my lapels. It doesn't stop me from giving donations though, I just don't take the proffered poppy. It's a bit like The Big Issue - I give the money but don't take the magazine.

The Royal British Legion is causing a bit of a kerfuffle with members of my old school's Old Boys' Club, the great majority of whom, like myself, are ex Merchant Navy officers with a few veterans of WWII. Apparently (and I'm not 100% certain of the facts) they have stopped the MN being represented by veterans on the Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph, which has been a tradition going on for donkey's years. They say the parade is now solely for serving members of the armed forces and not veterans, yet they allow the Chelsea Pensioners to parade. Causing a bugger of a stink.

Did you know that the Merchant Navy had the highest casualty (or rather death) rate of any service in WWII? They lost 25% of their members. OK, not the highest number in terms of personnel, but certainly the highest percentage.

My old man was torpedoed off the cost of West Africa while returning from the Dutch East Indies at the outbreak of WWII. He was picked up by a BP tanked and taken to Liverpool where he met my mother during a visit to Southport. He always said (tongue firmly in cheek) that he'd never forgiven Hitler for that...

On Sunday while walking back from Chipping Sodbury, we passed one of the local pubs on the High Street where people were preparing for the annual Remembrance Parade. A young chap, probably in his early 30s, was stood outside the pub in civvies displaying a chestful of medals on his sportsjacket. I went over to him and shook his hand, much to his amazement. I regret I didn't stop and chat to him about where he won them.


  1. If those medals were on the right side of his chest they were those of a relation, if on the left then there were his.