Tuesday 14 November was a parade night with a twist for the Cadets of West Lowland Battalion’s Paisley Royal Engineers (RE) Detachment as they had the pleasure of welcoming some very special guests to their facilities at Hawkhead.
Upon their arrival at the Detachment, the Cadets began with their usual parade and uniform inspection before braving the rain to take a tour aboard Bud, a mobile micro-museum run by Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award holder Poppyscotland.
Since the spring of 2019, Bud has been travelling throughout Scotland, visiting schools, Cadet centres and events such as the Royal Highland Show to share the history of the poppy, the UK’s iconic symbol of Remembrance.
The key aim of the Bud museum is to provide an interactive, educational experience that challenges visitors’ preconceptions, broadens their knowledge and helps to emphasise that Remembrance and fundraising for those affected by war and conflict is not restricted to a single day of the year.
During their tour of Bud, the Cadets learned all about the origins of the Poppy as a symbol of Remembrance after the First World War, including the famous John McCrae poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written in 1915. Many of them also heard for the first time about Lady Haig’s vital role in establishing a poppy factory in 1926, employing Armed Forces veterans to create not just the poppies we wear every November, but also lampshades, picture frames, and even teddy bears; a legacy that has continued to the present day.
The Cadets also enjoyed more interactive activities including ‘clocking in’ with personalised cards as though they were in the Poppy Factory itself, listening to veterans’ testimonies and making their very own poppies, delving into each task with clear interest and enthusiasm.
‘The Cadets seem to have really enjoyed their time on board Bud,’ said Catherine Provan, Learning and Outreach Officer for Poppyscotland. ‘A lot of them had questions for us, which we love and hopefully we’ve been able to give them the answers they were looking for.
‘It’s important for young people, especially Cadets, to be able to take information about the poppy and Remembrance and pass it on. A lot of the Second World War generation are no longer with us , so it’s more important than ever for people to understand why we wear a poppy, what the history is and use that to make an informed decision about wearing a poppy and observing Remembrance for themselves.’
Corporal Emily Rutherford, a senior Cadet from the Paisley RE Detachment, had nothing but praise for her experience on Bud: ‘Listening to the veterans’ stories has been a highlight for me this evening. It’s always so interesting to hear about other people’s experiences and learn from them.’
‘Bud has shown us the history of Poppyscotland, as well as what they’re doing currently to help veterans and their families,’ said Corporal Hamish McKay who enjoyed the visit. ‘One thing I learned about tonight that I didn’t know before was that different nations wear different flowers for Remembrance, such as cornflowers in France and daisies in Belgium.
‘As a Cadet who comes from a military family, Remembrance is important because it connects us to what has happened in the past and makes us more mindful of conflicts that are going on today.’
Bud will be visiting schools throughout Scotland for the rest of this year, highlighting the history of the poppy and how Poppyscotland’s year-round fundraising gives life-changing support to those who have served.
For more information about Bud, click here.