Wearing of poppy

Have a cadet willing to parade in uniform on Remembrance Day but will not wear poppy. Have never come across this in all my years. Can they parade or not. Any advice would be appreciated

Is the reason for refusal caused by ‘religious’ concern?

My first words to the cadet would be why not?

Yes they can parade. A poppy is not a mandatory item, its a completely personal choice whether to wear it or not.

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It was at one point stated as mandatory when on remembrance parade, but no longer seems to be; merely permitted.

This is a parade which, I suggest, serves the same purpose as the poppy itself - If they don’t want to wear a poppy, why would they want to be on the parade?

I would want a reasonable reason for not wearing a poppy on my parade


Unfortunately the poppy has lost a lot of meaning since being taken over as a fashion statement and the constant attacks on people in the public eye who don’t wear one. You can want to attend the parade and remember people but not wear the poppy because of all the extraneous baggage it carries.
I know people who wear one because it’s the done thing but don’t actually do any remembrance in the process. Likewise I know others who refuse to wear one but work tirelessly maintain memorials and working with service charities.

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Thanks for the advice folks. I will check with cadet in question and see why they won’t wear the poppy, but they can parade in uniform if they wish to.

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Troops on parade at the the cenotaph do not wear poppies, only senior officers laying wreaths.

This is a stated exception to the wider permission as per AP1358C

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That is very wise, the cadet wishes to attend so do not make it a battle of wills between you and the cadet.


Forcing a someone to wear the poppy would make it lose all meaning. If they are willing to attend the parade but not wear the poppy, perhaps they want to remember in their own way. Check their reason before judging.


I could not have said that any better myself. My exact sentiments.

I wouldn’t ask, the regulation is explicit that it is a permitted item, not a mandatory one - it’s no more of anyone’s business than whether a cadet or uniformed member of staff chooses to wear a stable belt when they are permitted, but not required to wear one.

An adult asking a child why they choose not to wear a poppy when everyone else does might be asked in a neutral, ‘doesn’t matter’ innocent manner, but it’s unlikely to taken as such by the child, and even less so by their parents.

IMV, the poppy has become devalued by cretinous poppy-outrage phenomenon - I actively dislike the ridiculous social policing of ‘why aren’t you wearing a poppy?’ and I become less keen on wearing one each year.

The poppy is the symbol of rememberence of lives given in the defence of freedom - and that freedom includes the absolute right to not wear a poppy without being interrogated as to why


I don’t wear poppies. I’ll happily collect for the RBL, donate to the RBL and parade. But I hate the annual appearances of the ‘poppy police’ and have given up on them.
It’s optional, let them parade.


I’d phrase it as a “just out of curiosity, why not?” kind of question.

Mostly to be able to deflect any potential questions other cadets (or more likely, parents/other adults) may ask.

if so that would be a poor justification.

the poppy in much the same way is not political, is neither a religious symbol either.

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Why attend the parade if they don’t want to wear the poppy. The poppy is just the gesture for everyone to acknowledge it, the parade is the very reason for it all.

I don’t get it at all. Why even be involved with an organisation that is endorsed by the British Military, there’s plenty of other youth organisations out there to join.

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Not to mention the poppy represents people of other religions that fought and died aswell. Sikhs in the British Army have a fearsome and good reputation.

I haven’t agreed that the poppy is apolitical for a long time. It has - sadly - been co-opted by a number of right wing organisations over recent years. (Britain First being a notable example.) Not wearing one on public leads to people being made pariahs on social media.

For me, any sense that wearing the poppy is compulsory completely goes against what we fought the world wars for. I choose not to wear one, precisely because I have the freedom to make that choice because people died to protect that freedom.