I bought my poppy in memory of my great-uncle Will (William Forge), who joined up aged 18 in 1914 and was killed aged 20 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme at Ovilliers-La Boiselle (Mash Valley) in 1916. He was listed as missing presumed dead and has no grave. However, he is named on the Thiepval Memorial. We visited the area in 2016 to commemorate the centenary of his death, and to ensure that Will’s sacrifice was not forgotten. We have pieced together much of his short history, and know that he was brought up in Highgate, went to Merchant Taylor’s School (who have kept the memory of their war dead alive), and worked for the Port of London Authority. From there, he joined the Middlesex Regiment as Second Lieutenant. His death devastated his mother who, because she only knew of him as missing, expected him to return home one day. My mother, who would have been Will’s niece had he lived, kept his memory alive for our generation, and we hope to do the same for the future.

PLANT YOUR POPPY. SHARE YOUR STORY.