Half the ship’s company of HMS Somerset formed a giant poppy on the frigate’s flight deck to help the Royal British Legion launch their annual fund-raising campaign.
Some 90 sailors with red and black card on top of their caps created the symbol of remembrance – used since 1921 – while the Devonport-based frigate patrolled UK waters.
LAUNCHING the annual period of remembrance in style are the men and women of HMS Somerset who created a giant poppy on the frigate’s flight.
With red card on some 75 caps and 15 black in the centre – that accounts for half the ship’s company of 180 – the crew helped launch this year’s Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal while they were on patrol around the UK.
The RBL has produced some 40 million poppies for distribution by an army of more than 300,000 volunteers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales over the next fortnight or so, hoping the public will donate £1 for each small plastic flower.
And for those who live north of the border, Poppy Scotland has five million distinctive Scottish poppies to sell, with the aim of beating last year’s appeal total of £2.9m.
“At a time when we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude, as we go about the act of living, the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal allow us all to reflect on the sacrifice paid to this country by the members of our Armed Forces, past and present,” said Somerset’s Commanding Officer Cdr Tim Berry.
“I am immensely proud and privileged that Somerset is able to support the Poppy Appeal and encourage you all to take a moment to do the same.”
The eyecatching sight on the Plymouth-based warship’s flight deck was recorded for posterity by the Commanding Officer of 829 Naval Air Squadron, which provides Somerset with her Merlin Mk2 helicopter. A hugely experienced observer, Lt Cdr Kay Burbridge left her hi-tech submarine-hunting console, opened the helicopter’s cargo door and clicked away with her camera for several minutes; photo reconnaissance and intelligence gathering is a key requisite of being an observer.