Poppy tribute to honour newly discovered family member from Warwick who died in WWI

David Benson receives the metal poppy from it's creator Malcolm Knowles.
David Benson receives the metal poppy from it's creator Malcolm Knowles.

A man who creates things out of copper as a hobby has crafted a poppy for the year-long poppy project in Warwick after learning his wife had a relative who died in the First World War.

Malcolm and Suzanne Knowles, who live in Warwick, recently discovered that Suzanne had a family member who was in the First World War.

The copper poppy made by Malcolm Knowles.

The copper poppy made by Malcolm Knowles.

Malcolm said: “My wife has an ancestor in the First World War. We found out that her grandfather’s brother was a soldier. We noticed the name Thomas William Andrews, which was the second name listed on the war memorial in Warwick.

“We started researching and found out that he was a soldier and that he was sent to France and was killed in the first week of the war.

“Nobody knew about it. Suzanne’s grandfather, Donald, who was well-known in Warwick, never mentioned he had a brother.

“The War Graves Commission were very helpful, they gave us when he enlisted, when he died and the exact location of his grave in France.

“We went to France and we found his grave and Suzanne shed a tear and said that we wouldn’t forget.”

Malcolm then heard about the Warwick Poppies 2018 project on the radio.

The Warwick Poppies 2018 project, which was launched on September 5, aims to collect as many poppies as possible in the space of a year to make a tribute that will be on display inside St Mary’s Church to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Malcolm, who is retired, has hobbies in both woodwork and metal work and creates pieces including birds and animals.

After hearing about the project he decided to add his own creation to the collection.

The copper poppy was made for the project but was also made as a fitting tribute for Thomas William.

Malcolm said: “I make things out of old copper piping like birds and animals. I started doing it around two years ago. This is my retirement hobby and I enjoy it and I always love a challenge.

“The poppy was quite simple and the idea came to me and I did it. It took three to four hours to make.

“I have been working on owls and I have been using pennies for the owl’s feathers. I found a 1918 penny and I put that in the middle of the poppy.

“Thomas William Andrews will be remembered now and it was nice to be able to do something for him.”

Malcolm’s copper poppy has now been given to the project.

A spokesperson from the Warwick Poppies 2018 project said: “It was a real pleasure to receive this stunning copper Poppy.

“To be given such a precious handmade Poppy, with an incredibly poignant local story of Remembrance, is truly amazing.

“It will be a splendid addition to our display in the autumn of 2018 and we are hugely grateful to Malcolm Knowles.”

There are “poppy-drop stations” in Warwick, Kenilworth, Leamington and Coventry.

To find the list of their locations or to find patterns to make a poppy go to the project website: www.warwickpoppies.org.uk