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Flanders poppy found pressed in First World War soldier's Bible

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An original Flanders poppy which was found pressed between the pages of a First World War soldier's Bible is to go on display.

Les Forryan, from Wigston, picked the flower when he was serving with the Army Service Corps in France and Belgium between 1914 and 1918.

When he passed away in 1970, aged 79, his nephew Duncan Lucas inherited the pocket testament, but did not know the rare treasure it contained.

It was only when he went to package it up to send it to a his nephew who lives in Australia he discovered the hidden flower – alongside a pressed shamrock picked in Dublin almost 100 years ago.

Mr Lucas, 83, from Wigston, has now donated the cherished book – complete with the plants – to the United Reformed Church, in Wigston, where it will go on display.

A service will be held to welcome it on Sunday.

Mr Lucas said: "I am so happy I have found a good and fitting resting place for this possession.

"It will act as a memorial not only to Les, but also to others who served.

"Les was a great fellow and everyone who knew him respected and loved him.

"I'm proud he will be remembered thanks to this dedication at the church."

Les was one of six brothers, and was a farmer before he volunteered to serve in the forces when he was in his early 20s.

He served in France, Belgium and Ireland, before returning home in 1918, and continuing to farm in Wigston.

Mr Lucas heard many of his stories from the war while he worked with him, farming and milking cows and delivering milk.

"He would talk about the war a lot," Mr Lucas said.

"He did not have any children, so we would talk as we worked.

"He loved farming and the land and flowers, so it is fitting he would pick and save a poppy like this.

"It must be a very rare object and I think you would have to go a long way to find another original Flanders poppy."

Mr Lucas said his uncle told him the poppies grew so quickly on the battlefield because shells disturbed the soil, exposing the seeds lost below.

"His testament is dated 1916, so he would have seen this poppy and picked it and pressed it very soon after, sometime between 1916 and 1918," said Mr Lucas.

The service to dedicate the book will take place at the United Reformed Church, in Long Street, Wigston, on Saturday at 10.30am.

Flanders poppy found pressed in First World War soldier's Bible


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