The 31st July 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. Also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, this battle became infamous for the 60,083 British deaths and the torrential rain which lead to a quagmire of mud. I recommend that you watch the video and hear more about this remarkable pin, before reading further.
Creating the Poppy Pin
Micheal Rawlins – Micheal (sic) is a Canadian detetetorist you may remember from a post I made in March of 2017 when he shared some of his sweetheart badges and I described him at the time as a ‘prolific, passionate and successful collector of all things ‘military.’ He saw the Poppy Pin and was determined to secure one. He ended up with two, and this is how it all started …
“A few months back, I stumbled upon a site called ‘The Poppy Shop’ . It is run by the Royal British Legion and retails many items to the general public. The proceeds are used to aid veterans from conflicts in which Britain has taken part. While browsing through the site, I saw a pin which immediately captured my eye. It was a pin, made from original WW1 shell fuses that were found at the actual site of the Passchendaele battle. I was determined to get one.
The fly in the ointment, however, was the shipping cost. The pin itself was £39.99 and expensive, but I felt well worth the price that was being asked. The shipping, at £28 was the killer. Add those two figures together and you got the equivalent of $111.00 Canadian. My frugality gene kicked in and I said not today!”
A Cunning Plan. Oh dear. I couldn’t let my Canadian friend go without so devised a plan to help reduce the cost. I suggested that he buy a pin and have it sent to me in the UK. That would save at least £20.00 in postage, then I could post in on to Canada. And this is what we did.
Micheal ordered a pin and I received it on the 25th August. The same day I changed the labels and forwarded to Micheal in Canada. I didn’t open the package, but thought at the time it was quite large for what it contained.
Micheal said: “I cannot think of any package that I am about to receive that I have not anticipated more. From everything that I have seen and read about it, this tiny pin will be a highlight in my assemblage of WW1 memorabilia. I will be certainly wearing it at our remembrance day ceremonies.”
I checked at regular intervals to see whether it had arrived and on the 20 September, I was beginning to fear the worst. On the 5th October the package still hadn’t made an entrance, and I was feeling guilty for interfering. Ignoring Michael’s protestations, I ordered a second pin on the 6th October … and crossed my fingers!
On the 18th October, Micheal informed me that the first pin, ordered nearly two months ago, had eventually arrived. It had taken 55 days. I was thrilled, and even more delighted when he told me that the second pin, ordered on the 6th October had also arrived the next day.. It had taken a mere 13 days. That’s more like it! Just like London buses … two turn up at once!
“After 8 weeks, wouldn’t you know it, my pin arrived in the mailbox. I contacted John, and told him and we both had a chuckle over the length of time it took. I figured that the British Post Office had it taken by a horseback rider from their post office, taken to a sailing ship that must have sailed around the Cape and gone on to Vancouver. From there it was put upon another pony express rider and delivered to our local Post Office whereupon it was delivered to me.”