A 15-year-old east Belfast boy whose relative fought at the Battle of the Somme felt he was “walking in his footsteps”as he launched this year’s Poppy Appeal yesterday.
For Greg Jamison, this year’s appeal is not just a one-off event, as he regularly travels around the country with his father, Johnny, talking about the human cost of conflict.
“Our show is about the poets of the Great War, such as Wilfred Owen, who spoke about the horrors of war, as opposed to the poster images which show the glamour of fighting for your country and which suggest that women will love you for it,” he said.
During his show Greg wears the uniform of the 36th (Ulster) Division, which played a crucial role in the Battle of the Somme almost 100 years ago.
His own great-great grandfather served with the same division at the Somme.
“My uniform is an exact replica of the one worn by my great-great-grandfather,” he said. “It obviously feels very special to walk in his footsteps like this.
“He was just a normal working class man, but when war broke out he decided to answer the call of the King and go to war, We found out he fought at the Somme with his three brothers – and they all survived the war.”
Yesterday Nigel presented the first poppy of the year to the mayor of North Down, Alderman Alan Graham, at the Somme Heritage Centre in Conlig.
The Poppy Appeal fund-raising target in Northern Ireland this year is £1.2 million, to support vital work in delivering practical care and support to the Armed Forces community.
Royal British Legion area manager for Ireland, Brian Maguire, added: “The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride, knowing that you are helping the Armed Forces community to live on.”
See www.britishlegion.org.uk for more information.