Remembrance Day and the Purple Poppy

(Written by Georgia Hatton)

The two minutes silence at 11am on the 11th November, the remembrance Sunday parade and the red poppy are all synonymous with this time of year - to honour and respect those who died in combat.

Since 2006 a purple poppy has also been sold to honour the often forgotten victims of human conflict. It has been estimated that 100,000 pigeons, 1 million dogs and 8 million horses died in WW1 alone. In modern times, horses remain used in police forces worldwide, whilst dogs continue to be used in the military and police, whilst eagles have been trained in drone-countering measures.

They aren’t sold alongside red poppies but can be purchased online from a variety of sites:

Murphy’s Army Purple Poppy Campaign have been selling handmade poppies since 2016, and have raised over £75000 for charity since then. The 2021 benefactors for monies raised are Murphy’s Army, a charity aimed at reuniting lost pets and their owners, The Thin Blue Paw, who provide financial support to retired police dogs and their owners (unlike their human counterparts, police dogs don’t receive a pension!) and Hillside Animal Sanctuary, founded in 1995 it provides a permanent home for a variety of animals including ex-police horses.

The War Horse Memorial pays tribute to the nobility, courage, unyielding loyalty and immeasurable contribution horses played in WW1 and signifies the last time they would be used on a mass scale in modern warfare. Money from their poppy appeal goes to a number of charities including The Household Cavalry Foundation, Mane Chance Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare.

Whilst not linked to the Royal British Legion’s appeal they have stated that they “see no conflict in wearing the red poppy next to the purple or white poppy. Many animal rights supporters also support our work.”