Flower soldier plucked from battlefield in 1942 helps launch Poppy Appea

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Alf Heywood, 88, picked the flower in Tunisia in 1942 while engaged in combat with German forces.

He preserved the poppy for 66 years, pressed between the pages of his Army pay book, under a note which read: "Poppy picked by Alf Heywood, while in action, with the 2nd Bln Lanc's Fus, 78th Div, 1st Army, North Africa 1942."

The great-grandfather, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, showed the poppy to visiting soldiers from the 207 Field Hospital, Greater Manchester, who were at an Army base in Strensall, York, to launch the Poppy Appeal yesterday.

Recalling the moment he found the flower, he said: "We were patrolling through this field in North Africa. It was full of poppies. I picked one and put it in my book and thought nothing of it. I only found it again a couple of years ago."

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