Howard talks about what his poppy means to him. He bought his poppy in memory of his great grandfather, William Charles Grigson who was killed on 30 October 1914.
I bought the ceramic poppy for my partner as a birthday present. We’d seen the coverage of the poppies and went to see them at the Tower of London. Our poppy is displayed in our living room on our bookshelves.
We bought it for remembrance and to show respect to those who died and we also wanted to be part of a creative and powerful project that commemorated so many lives lost, yet somehow focused on each as an individual. The fact that a proportion of the price was donated to service charities was also important.
When buying it I was thinking of my great grandfather, William Charles Grigson who was killed on 30 October 1914. He was a private in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and his name appears on the Le Touret memorial. His brother also died during the war.
He was my grandma’s father: she was born just seven months before he was killed so never knew him. I grew up hearing about him, how my grandma had never had a father, and how that dramatically affected her mother, my grandma’s siblings and her upbringing.
To me, his death, although a century ago, is living and recent family history. I heard about him often from my grandma, and I met his widow several times before she died in the early 1970s. Other family members have traced more about his life, and recently visited a newly-accessible war memorial in Woolwich, SE London, which bears his name.
His name was read out on the 100th anniversary of his death, with the names of others who had died on that day in the war, at a church in Shrewsbury. My uncle and aunt, his grand-daughter, were there to hear it. I’m grateful that his name was spoken publicly again, when for the past 100 years it has only been spoken within our family.
I’m pleased to see that the poppy installations have travelled to other venues and that more people can get the chance to see them, reflect and remember.
You can view Howard’s poppy here. Join him and plant your poppy on the digital map.