Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Tower of London's Poppy Field
(Level: Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate / B2 / ** to ***)

'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' is a major art installation in the moat of the Tower of London and marks the centenary of the First World War. 

The Tower of London Poppies exhibit
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If you want to know more about the art installation, you can consult this page from the official Tower of London's website: click HERE

"A River of Blood"
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A field of poppies
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You are going to watch a BBC report focusing on the Queen's and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the poppy field at the Tower of London.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Poppy Field.
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Before watching:

The following notes could be useful:

The Remembrance Poppy has been used since the end of the First World War to commemorate all the British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the war (not just the First World War).  

But why the poppy?

This ordinary, but delicate and scarlet red flower grows in Europe and also in Flanders. When a Canadian major and military doctor, John McCrae, noticed that they could spring up in spite of the overall devastation and burial grounds around him, it is believed that he started composing the poem ('In Flanders Fields')  which was to become the most famous one written in relation to the First World War. It was then spring 1915 and a close friend of his had just died. 
The In Flanders Fields poem is now the world's most known Remembrance Day poem. 

You can find John McCrae's poem HERE as well as other interesting details. 

You can also listen to a recorded version of it. Click HERE

You can now also watch this interesting video about the Poppy story 

John McCrae
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Remembrance poppies are largely prominent in the UK, particularly in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day (11th November) or Remembrance Sunday. All public figures and people in the UK appearing on TV wear them. 

A paper poppy
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Poppies worn by politicians (top picture - credit: the
or by newsreaders etc. (photo credit:

And finally poppy wreaths are also laid at war memorials.

Wreaths of poppies
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While watching:

Answer the following question in French:

What is exceptional about this temporary art "exhibition" at the Tower of London?   Make notes.

You can also watch the video on the BBC website by clicking HERE

When you are finished, you can check your answers:
Suggestions de réponses

- Commémoration artistique d'envergure recouvrant la douve de la Tour de Londres sous la forme d'un vaste champ de coquelicots en céramique; impression donnée d'une énorme marée de sang pour symboliser les vies sacrifiées.

- 888.246 coquelicots exactement; chacun représente un militaire de l'Empire britannique tombé durant la Première Guerre mondiale.

- Ces coquelicots sont à vendre.

- Pourquoi cet endroit?  C'était un lieu de rassemblement et de départ pour le front des soldats volontaires issus de la City. On sait que beaucoup n'allaient jamais en revenir.

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