Poppy Wreath by Royal British Legion Withdrawn; It Depicted a WWI US Soldier

The Royal British Legion withdrew a commemorative poppy wreath from the market after experts pointed out the soldier pictured in its center wore a US uniform and appeared to be holding a Springfield rifle.

The said poppy wreath was made in commemoration of the centenary of the Great War’s outbreak. However, the Royal British Legion stopped its sales after receiving complaints and criticisms from members of the Armed Forces and historians.

The charity, which is the one responsible for running the annual poppy appeal, was told that the poppy wreath mistake is an insult to the Tommies who fought during the Great War.

The picture of the soldier was the centerpiece of the forenamed poppy wreath. But instead of it being an authentic WWI British soldier, the serviceman in the picture appeared to be wearing a US kit dating from 1910 and was holding what looked like to be a Springfield rifle which was produced in Massachusetts. The United States of America joined the First World War in 1917.

Moreover, historians pointed out that Tommies never wore their chin straps underneath their chins. Instead, they would have it on the back of their heads.

Among the history aficionados and experts who pointed out the blunders were Gary Sheffield, a professor of war studies at the University of Wolverhampton, and Peter Doyle, war heritage secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group.

Military historian and ex-Army Captain Graham bandy added that the insult brought about by the picture in the commemorative poppy wreath was quite blatant.  To think that there are many pictures showing how Tommies really looked in uniforms from 1914 onward.

On the other hand, a spokesperson of the Royal British Legion has already stated that the product was promptly removed from sale after the errors were brought to the charity’s attention which was over a week ago.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE