poet Roger Dunn has penned a sonnet in memory of his parents whose wartime romance blossomed 72 years ago – all thanks to a British Legion poppy.
The 70-year-old's dad Harry met his mum Kathleen in 1939 as she was selling poppies for the British Legion just before Armistice Day, now known as Remembrance Day.
He agreed to buy one if she went out with him – and just six weeks later they married.
With Remembrance Day today, Roger, who lives in South Embankment, Dartmouth, has penned a sonnet about love, war and tragedy – inspired by his parents' romance.
Roger said his father, who was born in Burton upon Trent, served with the Royal Signals and was stationed at Catterick Camp at the start of the Second World War.
'In early November 1939, during the invasion scare, he was training soldiers on Filey beach, North Yorkshire, in the art of semaphore signalling,' he said.
'Kathleen Cambridge, a Filey girl, was selling poppies for the British Legion.
'She spotted him from the promenade, went down on to the beach and said: "Will you buy a poppy?"
'He replied, "Yes, if you'll meet me at the pictures tonight."
'Six weeks later, they married in the local register office. One year later, I was born – and all thanks to a poppy.'
He said his dad had got through the war unscathed and his death at the age of 62 in May 1979 preceded his mum's by 23 years. She died in July 2002.
The epitaph on the headstone that marks their grave in a Burton cemetery reads: 'Joined by a poppy and now reunited.'
Roger, a retired sales manager, moved to Dartmouth five years ago.
He started writing sonnets around 15 years ago and put on a one-man show at the Flavel four years ago.
by Roger Dunn
This interlude before the
They fill with tender words in love's embrace.
He, proud in his new soldier's uniform,
While she, in Sunday dress, averts her face.
But tears like hers are better to be shared
With men who cannot bear to let them fall.
She begs that he take care when sorely dared
In battle to exceed his duty's call.
His comrades shout; remind him of the hour.
He vows to her they'll wed when victory's gained.
Just one more kiss; he offers her the flower:
A rose, which by her tears, is quickly stained.
He'd not return who fought his country's foes.
Her tears now stain a poppy, not a rose.
l Dartmouth will be remembering its war dead at 11am today with a service and two-minute silence at Royal Avenue Garden's war memorial.