A perfectly preserved, pressed wild poppy from La Signy Farm, Somme, dated July 1918, has been found In an album filled with verses, photographs and other poignant mementos compiled by military personnel based at No 6 General Hospital in France.
Covering 1917-1918, the album was owned by Ursula Lascelles of Slingsby Heights, near Malton, who worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse in military hospitals in Britain and France during the First World War. The poppy, along with with a tiny printed map of Lassigny Ridge, was added to the album by on 27 July 1918, with the words: “Very sincerely yours, Sgt.Raymond L Piper”.
Miss Lascelles’ papers relating to her time as a VAD nurse, along with those of her mother Elizabeth, a Red Cross organiser at Swinton Grange Military Hospital, near Malton and her brother Lionel, who served as a lieutenant in France and survived the war, are part of the Lascelles family archive held at the County Record Office in Northallerton.
County Councillor Greg White, executive member for the archives service, said: “As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the final year of the Great War, it is poignant to discover that we hold in our County Record Office an actual poppy from the Somme. It is very moving to have such a tangible connection with the lives of those who fought in the war.”
The poppy, along with First World war records from other personal collections, will be on display at the Record Office in Malpas Road, Northallerton, until the end of November and all visitors are welcome.