At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918, the armistice officially ending World War One was signed in a railway carriage in a clearing in the forest at Compiègne in France. It marked the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. War continued, however, across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the former Ottoman Empire.
My grandfather was one of the bright-eyed young Australians who fought this far-away war, "for God, King and Empire" (note the British flag in his photo). Unlike 60,000 of his countrymen, he survived Gallipoli, the Somme and Flanders, to come home and marry my grandmother (they met after the war). The picture centre bottom above is them on their honeymoon in the Blue Mountains.
The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed. French woman Madame E. Guérin introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out and sold today.