The Story of Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas in Australia

The images of poppies on the old Flanders battlefields and umbrellas lining the route of The Armistice Day Poppy Parade to the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper (Ypres) inspired Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE, instigator of the Parade and a respected historian and Vice President of the Western Front Association, to develop the Poppy Umbrella.

Photo: Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE
Remembrance Day Ieper 2009
[Rembrella]

The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella by Fultons, the largest supplier of quality umbrellas in the UK, and the holder of a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen. The Rembrella products are premium gifts available in three different styles: Telescopic, Standard and Golf Umbrellas. They are only available for sale through registered charities of ex-Service and welfare organizations, or military and heritage museums, or educational associations and not-for-profit organizations.

The Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas design is registered in Australia and in 2009 Rembrella appointed Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFAIF) as its Australian importer.

Rembrella products are sold through organisations that commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australians in The Great War including the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the National ANZAC Centre in Albany, the Anzac Memorial Sydney, the Queensland ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee and The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. More than 4,000 Rembrella products have been sold in Australia with sales benefiting these organisations and also enabling FFFAIF to contribute funding to Commemorations in Sydney for Fromelles Day and the Battles of 3rd Ypres as well towards the costs of headstones on unmarked graves of returned Diggers.

Lt Col Graham Parker & Joanna at Pte Andrew Gibson's grave Baverstock

Photo: Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Graham Parker OBE
and his daughter Joanna Legg
at the grave of Private Andrew Gibson AIF of Mackay Queensland, at St Edith’s Baverstock, Wiltshire UK [Rembrella]

Andrew Gibson was a 39-year-old farmer from Mackay, Queensland when he enlisted in the AIF on 6th March 1916. He was the son of Andrew and Margaret Gibson and had been born in Stranraer, Wigtonshire in Scotland.

Private Gibson embarked with the 31st Infantry Battalion on 19th September aboard the HMAT Seang Choon from Brisbane. After a sea voyage of nearly three months Pte Gibson disembarked at Plymouth England on 9th December 1916 and was posted to the 8th Training Battalion located at Hurdcott Camp, on the Salisbury Plain. Three weeks later he was admitted to Fovant Military Hospital on 31st December 1916 where he died of broncho pneumonia on 7th January 1917.

Private Gibson was a widower and was survived by a son James and daughter Margaret both of Mackay. Andrew’s next of kin was his brother Robert Gibson of Fairleigh Estate, Mackay, Queensland.

Private Gibson was buried on 10th January 1917 and is one of 28 Australian and 3 British soldiers buried at St Edith’s, Baverstock, Wiltshire where an ANZAC Day commemoration service is held annually.

 

 

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