Relatively Seeking UK, November 2018 Blog Post

Remember, Remember the 5th of November,

Remember, remember the fifth of November, 
Gunpowder treason and plot. 
We see no reason 
Why gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent 
To blow up king and parliament. 
Three score barrels were laid below 
To prove old England’s overthrow. 

By God’s mercy, he was catch’d 
With a darkened lantern and burning match. 
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring. 
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him? 
Burn him! 

Guy Fawkes was a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which was an attempt by oppressed Roman Catholics in Britain to blow up the House of Parliament. Guy Fawkes was born on April 13th, 1570 in York, England. He was born to Edward and Edith Fawkes, the second of four children born to the couple. Guy was eight when his father died and his mother later remarried a Catholic.

Guy Fawkes converted to Catholicism when he was 16. The Catholic Church was not tolerated by the Church of England and they could not worship freely. The Gunpowder Plot was a conspiracy that led to Guy Fawkes being tried and hung for his part. Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in Britain today with bonfires and fireworks to remember the Gunpowder Plot and Guy’s role in the event.

Some Interesting Guy Fawkes Facts:

Guy Fawkes liked to be known as Guido Fawkes. After his arrest Guy gave the name John Johnson to the authorities. This was the name he also used during the Gunpowder Plot’s design.
Guy Fawkes served in the Spanish army during the Eighty Years War.
Guy Fawkes was educated at St. Peter’s School in York. St. Peters does not celebrate Bonfire Night (Another name for Guy Fawkes Day).
The Gunpowder Plot was a plan to blow up 2,500 kg of gunpowder on November 5th, 1605, that had been hidden underneath the House of Parliament. This was to be the day of the State Opening, and the explosion would have killed King James I, and everyone in the building as well.
Guy Fawkes role in the Gunpowder Plot was to guard the hidden gunpowder and to light it at the right time.
King James, I saw a letter that had been written to Lord Monteagle, warning him to avoid the House of Parliament on November 5th. Lord Monteagle was a friend of one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. This letter gave the plot away.
Before the Gunpowder Plot could be carried out, Guy Fawkes was arrested. He was guarding the 36 barrels of deadly gunpowder in the cellar of the House of Parliament at the time.
Guy Fawkes was tortured for four days before he gave up the others involved in the Gunpowder Plot.
The names of the other conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot include John Wright, Thomas Percy, Francis Tresham, Sir Everard Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, John Grant, Thomas Bates, Robert Keyes, Robert Wintour, Thomas Wintour, and Robert Catesby.
Guy Fawkes signed a confession, which is still in the National Archives.
Guy Fawkes and the rest of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot were tried in court on January 31st, 1606. They were hung, drawn and quartered for their attempted crime and the plot.
Some believe that Guy Fawkes was thrown into a bonfire after his conviction but it is not true. People today make straw dummies of Guy Fawkes and throw them into bonfires to celebrate the day.
Guy Fawkes Day is also referred to as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night and Firework Night in Great Britain.

More importantly, Remember the 11th of November 1918

“We Shall Not Sleep, Though Poppies Grow in Flanders Fields”

“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields”.

John McCrae

So what does the poppy represent?

The history of the poppy is very symbolic to all and it holds a very special meaning for the occasion that it represents.

Why the Poppy?

The poppy seed can lay dormant for years until disturbed. The battle that took place in Flanders Field during the Great War disturbed these seeds, which allowed them to germinate and grow in great numbers amongst an environment of sheer devastation, and lack of life.

The Poem Above.

A Canadian soldier and doctor, John McCrae noticed that the poppies had sprung around the burial site of the artillery position that he was in. No life was left on Flanders Field in Belgium – it was a site of total despair, yet every spring when the weather was warm, the poppy grew. This was very symbolic for those who were still fighting as it was a sign of hope, light and life.

When is Armistice Day?

The 11th November marks the end of the Great War that ended at 11am on the 11th November 1918, specifically known as Armistice Day. Remembrance day, an alternative name since 1919, the free World holds a 2 minutes silence on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month for remembering and reflecting upon the courage and the pure selflessness of their actions.

The significance of the poppy, as is traditionally worn, marks our respect for these heroes who have fought and for those that lost their lives in the Great War in order to make us free. The poppy holds meaning, not only for those who have fought and died in WW1 and 2, but for those since, and most pressingly today, our boys who are still out in Afghanistan, fighting for us in order to make the world a safer place.

Have you got your Poppy yet? Buy one and wear it with pride.