Apprentices create poppies for Armistice Day

BAE Systems’ apprentices in Portsmouth have shown their support for the armed forces by creating 100 poppies, commemorating 100 years since the signing of the Armistice.

As part of this, a hand crafted display holding more than 70 bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks, has been presented to the Captain of the Base, Captain David George, at BAE Systems’ Skills Development Centre at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Head of Early Careers, Matt Gordon, said: ‘It’s important for us to educate our younger generations of the sacrifices our forebears made, and with the unique commemoration 2018 brings, it felt appropriate for  our apprentices to work together to create this special memorial.

‘This was something our apprentices wanted to commit their time to, to not only create the impressive display, but to reflect on our Armed Forces past and present, and understand the importance of the support we provide to the Royal Navy.’

With aluminium poppies standing more than a metre high, the wave-shaped scultpture has been a way to show respect, and a useful task to build upon key fabrication skills including cutting, filing, drilling, deburring, forming, pressing and welding.

Advanced Apprentice Heather Bisby added: ‘This has been a great project to work on and I’ve really enjoyed using the skills I’ve learnt so far to recognise such a significant occasion. Having served in the Royal Navy myself, I’m proud to work for a company that encourages us to not only learn what we do, but the significance of why we do it.’  

The poppy monument is now being displayed at St Anne’s Church in the naval base as part of the church’s annual Remembrance Sunday and special Centenary Service, whilst the remaining poppies will be sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Naval Base Commander, Commodore Jim Higham, said: ‘I’m delighted that we have been presented with this incredible Poppy Wave ahead of Remembrance 2018 where we will remember 100 years since the First World War.

‘It shows not only the respect that all of us as serving personnel have for those who have fought and died in conflicts over the last century, but also that same sentiment from our young civilian apprentices who have dedicated their time – and engineering skills - to demonstrating their own commitment to keeping these memories alive for future generations to come.

‘I’m proud of the team effort that has gone into creating something so memorable at such a poignant time.’