Poppy Umbrellas in Oz

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, a respected historian and Western Front battlefield guide who instigated the Parade, to develop the Poppy Umbrella.  The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella, a U.K. family business managed by Colonel Parker, and available in three different styles: Telescopic, Standard, and Golf umbrella. 

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

The Poppy Umbrella is manufactured by Fulton Umbrellas one of the best umbrella manufacturers in the world.  Fulton Umbrellas supply the British Royal Family and hold the Royal Warrant from the Queen and their products sell in places like Harrods of London. 

In the U.K. Rembrella supports several charities from sales of The Poppy Umbrella including the Royal British Legion Industries Ability from Disability’ program, the Help for Heroes fundraising campaign to help the servicemen and women who have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq; and The Fovant Badges Society, for maintaining the Fovant regimental badges cut into the chalk hills of Wiltshire west of Salisbury (near the Hurdcott and Fovant Camps). 

Colonel Parker has registered the design in Australia and has appointed FFFAIF as the Australian importer for Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas with FFFAIF becoming a beneficiary from sales in Australia. 

The FFFAIF Committee has shown examples of the Poppy Umbrellas at a number of commemorative events and it has generated considerable interest. In August, FFFAIF’s Patron-in-Chief, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, was presented with a Poppy Umbrella by FFFAIF President Russell Curley. 

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

The first shipment of Rembrella Poppy Umbrellas has now arrived in Australia and FFFAIF members are able to participate in a special Members-only offer as set out in the Members’ Area . (FFFAIF Shop)

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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 Gibson disembarked at Plymouth England on 9th December 1916.  Gibson was posted to the 8th Training Battalion located at Hurdcott Camp, on the Salisbury Plain. A little over three weeks later he was admitted to Fovant Military Hospital on 31st December 1916. Private Gibson, aged 40, died of broncho pneumonia on 7th January 1917.  He was buried on 10th January 1917.

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

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

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The Families and Friends of the First AIF applauds the joint Australian–UK decision, announced by The Hon Greg Combet AM MP and the Hon Kevan Jones MP, to conduct a full DNA testing program on the remains of Australian and British soldiers found in mass graves at Pheasant Wood (Fromelles), and for their continuing commitment to identify as many of the fallen as is possible. We also thank the Australian, UK and French governments for affording dignified individual reburials for these soldiers, buried by German soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916, in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery presently under construction at Fromelles.

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