TMB are creating a limited series of 19,240 poppy pins – one for every soldier killed on the opening day of the battle, 1 July 1916.
A masterful combination of aesthetic and symbolic appeal, the Poppy Pins will form a fitting tribute to every son, brother and father who lost their life fighting for their country, and are being crafted to recognise 100 years since the Battle of the Somme in Northern France. An official Royal British Legion project, the pins will be a flagship fundraising item for the charity in 2016.
The materials used to make the pins are what make them truly special, being crafted from British shell fuses salvaged from the Somme battlefield, turning metal that was forged for the purposes of war into silent tributes commemorating the British soldiers who died at the Somme in 1916.
The bright golden coloured brass pins are finished by a spot of red enamel in the centre of the poppy, and this too pays silent tribute as it contains a small amount of earth recovered from the 1 July 1916 British front line, which stretched for 18 miles across the rolling Picardy countryside.
TMB’s Christopher Bennett personally collected shell fuses and the earth from the Somme, with many additional fuses coming from farmers in the local area, unearthed whilst harvesting potatoes in the peaceful fields that now form the site of the former battlefield.
The metal from the fuses was first melted down to remove impurities, before being re-cast, fettled and polished to create the miniature poppies. The important finishing touch is the spot of red enamel in the centre of the poppy containing granules of Somme earth within, honouring the battlefield itself by incorporating the very ground the soldiers of 1916 fought upon, died upon and that many still lie at peace beneath.
The pins are available through the Royal British Legion online Poppy Shop priced at £39.99, all proceeds benefitting the charity.
Whilst the Somme 100 Centenary Poppy Pins are dedicated to the 19,240 British soldiers who died on the first day of the Somme, it’s right to touch upon the losses sustained by our allies who fought side-by-side with Britain at the Somme, many of whom suffered greatly. One such was the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who, during their attack on the German front line on the morning of 1st July at Beaumont Hamel sustained 680 killed or wounded from 780 officers and men, their force decimated by machine gun fire.