Navy thanked for poppy memorial

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): Navy HQ, Canberra

Topic(s): Remembrance Day, Legacy, Australian War Memorial

Coordinator of the Canberra Chapter of 5000 Poppies, Ledy Rowe (left) presents Chief of Staff, Navy Strategic Command, Commodore Katherine Richards two wreaths made up of hand crocheted poppies at Russell Offices, Canberra. (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Coordinator of the Canberra Chapter of 5000 Poppies, Ledy Rowe (left) presents Chief of Staff, Navy Strategic Command, Commodore Katherine Richards two wreaths made up of hand crocheted poppies at Russell Offices, Canberra.

Coordinator of the Canberra Chapter of 5000 Poppies, Ledy Rowe (left) presents Chief of Staff, Navy Strategic Command, Commodore Katherine Richards two wreathes made up of hand crocheted poppies at Russell Offices, Canberra.

Coordinator of the Canberra Chapter of 5000 Poppies, Ledy Rowe (left) presents Chief of Staff, Navy Strategic Command, Commodore Katherine Richards two wreathes made up of hand crocheted poppies at Russell Offices, Canberra.

Navy members past and present have been thanked for their generosity in helping to commemorate those who died in World War One.

62,000 woollen poppies have been on display outside the Australian War Memorial since October – each one crafted by members of a team of volunteers. In May this year, an appeal was made for RAN dress uniform buttons to give the poppies a maritime flavour. 

Organiser Ledy Rowe said the response has been overwhelming.

“The public reaction to the project has been respectful, grateful and astoundingly good,” Ms Rowe said.

“We have received Navy ceremonial buttons from all states and every rank.

“The initial 35 buttons received for AE1 crew and family was very well received and showed Navy that in all the talk of mud and soldiers, their losses were not forgotten.”

Ms Rowe visited Navy Headquarters in Canberra last week to present two wreaths of knitted poppies to Navy. The wreaths were accepted behalf of CN by NHQ Chief of Staff CDRE Kath Richards. 

One will go to the sailor training school at HMAS Cerberus with the other bound for the officer training establishment at HMAS Creswell.

Ms Rowe says she hopes the wreaths will remind the new generation of RAN members of who came before them and to honour their spirit.

“The poppy field outside the Australian War Memorial was such a moving tribute to the sacrifice of so many,” CDRE Richards said.

“It’s so pleasing that some of those poppies were planted on behalf of our Navy family.”

The exhibition formally ended on Remembrance Day with the poppies now in the process of being ‘picked’ and offered for sale, through the Australian War Memorial shop online. Proceeds will go to Legacy.