Chelsea Pensioner places last poppy at spectacular display

20th May 2016

A Chelsea Pensioner has placed the final piece of a special display made up of over 300,000 hand-knitted poppies at the Royal Hospital Chelsea today. The ambitious display honours all servicemen and women who have fought across all wars, conflict and peacekeeping operations over the last 100 years.

The installation, arranged by Australian charity 5000 Poppies, has been produced for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which commences on the site of the Royal Hospital on Tuesday next week.

94 year-old WW2 veteran John Humphreys placed the final poppy, pictured above, on the South Terrace of the Royal Hospital. Fittingly, he was also on hand to place the final poppy at the Tower of London poppy display in London (pictured below), in 2014. Commenting on this honour, Mr Humphreys said: “It’s such an honour to lay the last poppy at this wonderful display. I can’t believe that 50 thousand people contributed to the project – all of the poppies are different – it’s truly amazing.”

Designer of 5000 poppies at RHS Chelsea, Phillip Johnson, who won Best Show Garden in 2013, is the creator behind the poignant flower exhibit. He said: “My great-grandfather died during the First World War, so he is the reason why this means a lot to me. But everybody has their own story to tell – and it wouldn’t be possible without this amazing team of people putting this display together. It’s an opportunity for everybody to pause and remember.”

The project has captured the public’s imagination and started In 2013 when Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight crocheted 120 poppies in honour of their fathers who both fought in WWII. It will remain on the South Terrace at the Royal Hospital until Friday 28 May.

Read: 100 years of the Chelsea Flower Show





Royal Hospital Chelsea Newsletter

Stay up to date with what's going on at The Royal Hospital by signing up for our e‑newsletter.


View the archive

Black and white photo of Mick Gue at the Cypriot running championship
Meet Chelsea Pensioner Mick Gue: Sporting Success

Chelsea Pensioner, Mick Gue, talks about his athletic triumphs in the Army, and what he is doing now to stay fit in retirement. 

Group of Chelsea Pensioners stood in front of metal soldier sculpture
Chelsea Pensioners Veteran Outreach Hits the Road

Last week, the Royal Hospital’s Chelsea Pensioners Veteran Outreach programme embarked on a nationwide roadshow to connect with Veterans in Northeast England.