Close- knit com­mu­nity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Remembrance Day - Jon Bas­sett

CRE­AT­ING 64,000 knit­ted and cro­cheted pop­pies for Re­mem­brance Day has brought women in con­tact with na­tions where Aus­tralians have died in wars.

“We had 995 sent from a wo­man in Viet­nam and when I was in Lon­don at Covent Gar­den, I talked to a wo­man mak­ing them and she was from Turkey, so it was a con­nec­tion with Gal­lipoli in 1915,” RSL WA Poppy Ladies’ Group mem­ber Lor­raine Meeks said.

Group mem­ber Pam Black was con­tacted by a Bridgetown cousin who sent 3000 pop­pies from the South-west town, and con­tri­bu­tions have come from RSLS in­clud­ing Bassendean, Dawesville, Kelm­scott and Armadale.

For 18 months, the group met twice a week to knit the flow­ers that will fill lawns close to the State War Memo­rial and at the Flame of Re­mem­brance in Kings Park this Sun­day.

Each re­mem­bers an Aus­tralian who died in World War I be­fore the guns fell silent un­der the Armistice at 11am on Novem­ber 11, 1918.

Af­ter­wards, the red flow­ers bloomed in north­ern France’s bat­tle­fields that had been churned by shells, sprayed by bul­lets and cov­ered in poi­sonous gas, ac­knowl­edged in John McCrae’s poem In Flan­ders Fields.

Fam­i­lies’ sto­ries from all con­flicts oc­cu­pied the women as they knit­ted, in- clud­ing dec­o­rat­ing some of the pop­pies with the but­tons of for­mer mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

“A lot of women sent in just a few flow­ers, say­ing they just wanted their rel­a­tive re­mem­bered, or asked we sew on a stalk, so now there was a sense of com­ple­tion,” Nedlands group mem­ber Katie Dunk­ley said.

Serv­ing armed forces mem­bers also knit­ted when the group vis­ited bases in WA.

“For us, the sig­nif­i­cance was they are our cur­rent serv­ing sol­diers, sailors and air­men and we need to con­tinue to sup­port them,” Ms Dunk­ley said.

Call RSL WA on 9287 3799 to help plant the pop­pies later this week.

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