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Last Poppy Sold at Auction


10:14am 11th December 2013
(Updated 12:12pm 11th December 2013)

What's thought to be the last surviving poppy from the First World War has been sold at a Dorchester Auction House.

It was picked by a young 17 year old soldier in the trenches of Northern France in 1916.

He pressed it and kept it safe in an autograph book before passing it on to an admirer a few years later.

It was bought for more than £5,000 by London jewellers Hancocks who make the prestigious Victoria Cross.

Amy Brenan, a valuer at Duke's says: 'We are thrilled that the poppy has gone to a home where it will be displayed and used for forthcoming exhibitions. It is such a unique memento of one man's time spent at war and we are incredibly happy that it has been purchased by Hancocks who have such good associations as makers of the Victoria Cross.'

The poppy was picked by Private Cecil Roughton at a front line trench in Arras, Northern France in 1916. Pressed carefully so that the poppy flower, stem and leaves remained intact, Roughton later carefully taped the poppy to a page in an autograph book belonging to the vendor's mother, Miss Joan Banton. Roughton gave it to Miss Banton in 1923 when she was a young girl in 1923, writing on the bottom of the page 'Souvenir from a front line trench near Arras, May 1916.'

Amy Brenan went on to explain: 'This poppy was picked only a year after the poem 'In Flanders Fields' was first published, describing the fields of poppies growing between the crosses marking the graves of fallen soldiers. But it wasn't until 1921 that the poppy was officially adopted as a symbol of remembrance in Britain.'

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