Lest We Forget

It is unmistakably a blood-red corn poppy in full bloom. But closer inspection reveals silhouettes of struggling soldiers emerging from its centre.

This striking design has been chosen for a special first-class stamp commemorating the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle of Passchendaele, the Belgian village whose name is synonymous with the carnage and futility of war.

The offensive began on July 31, 1917, and lasted 99 days. By the time it was over 325,000 Allied soldiers had perished for the gain of five miles of shell-pitted mud.

More than 250,000 Germans were also killed.

The stamp goes on sale from this Thursday, November 8, and is the second in the Royal Mail's Lest We Forget series. The first, issued last November, commemorated the Battle of the Somme. The last in the series will be issued next November.

The Passchendaele stamp is in a sheet with four others which represent the sacrifice of each country in the United Kingdom.

A generic sheet consisting of 20 x 1st class poppy stamps will also be available.

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