Posted by: madkentdragon | September 24, 2010

Why Buy a Poppy part 1

Warning, my next few blogs will be Poppy or Royal British Legion orientated as we head towards Remembrance!

So here goes: Fact – the average of the age of those who formed the British Legion was under 40, so why is it we associate the Legion (it didn’t get the “Royal” for another 50 years) either with old farts on parade or an old man’s drinking club? But look behind this facade and you will find a campaigning and caring organisation!

The parades you see now were often protest marches in the past, because there was minimal or no support for those returning. One extremely well-known gentleman used to stand outside The County Hall in Maidstone, Kent on a soap box to draw attention to the plight of the returning services, he later became Mayor of Maidstone and National Chairman of the Legion – his name?  Charles Gordon Larking for all Maidstonians, look in the Town Hall and see his name inscribed on the Mayoral list.

Bringing this back up to date, the Legion is still campaigning for better treatment for all service personnel from helping to fund and run a new recuperation centre, to challenging MPs to do their bit towards re-establishing the Military Covenant so that service housing is brought back up to standard to fighting for proper compensation and pensions and also to improve the medical treatment of all serving and ex-service.

So when you buy your Poppy this November, remember it’s not just for old soldiers, but for young service people and for future service personnel. Buy it, give generously and be thankful that the Legion and other associations care!



  1. Looking forward to more posts :0)

  2. I always buy a poppy…and go to some Legion events eg St George’s Day .Hope to go to the Guildhall do in the run-up to Christmas.
    My late partner called me “Poppy” which I liked.
    My late husband’s WALROND family were friends of Rupert Brooke’s family in Rugby. Always loved his poetry long before I met John . This link has added poignancy to Remembrance Sunday for me.

  3. I have been researching the family history of the Larkings, including Gordon. Where did you find out about him standing on a soapbox ?

    • It was part of the legend that surrounded him, but he lived at the top of Pickering Street and my family had a shop at No 2 (no longer there) and I listened in wonder when he and my Dad laughed about it – I was very young and it stuck in my mind. I couldn’t imagine this elderly gentleman standing on a box! I believe that it was also well known at RBL HQ in London

      • Thanks Patricia. I can believe it from other information about his character. He was probably a good deal younger when he did this ! His grandfather committed suicide in Maidstone Gaol, but Gordon’s father (Charles) not only established the accountancy business, but also did a great deal of good work in his adopted home town of Norwich. A fascinating family, I am putting together an e-book about them. Sadly, Gordon’s last surviving son died in May.

  4. Oh, I’m sorry – I’d met Peter a few times. The family were well acquainted with the family my mother was housekeeper to before her marriage. Having thought about your original request, perhaps the Kent Messenger archives may be able to help you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: