YouTube | On Demand News

Plane That Made It Through World War II Drops 750,000 Poppies In Touching Tribute

Although there's no way we can truly understand how it felt to experience life during the world wars of the past, our study of history can at least give us a sense of the scale of what happened. With that, we can better appreciate what those who answered the call to arms sacrificed while the battles raged.

The further time marches on, however, the more distance there is between us and the events of World War I and II. And although no veterans of the First World War remain living today, those who participated in the second of the two remain committed to ensuring we don't forget the significance of their cause.

And one ambitious display of remembrance will ensure that those troubling times remain in our memories.

On Sunday, a vintage plane known as a Dakota took off from the North Weald Airfield in Essex, England.

Twitter | @KTHopkins

As The Daily Mail reported, this plane was headed for the English coastline and soared 500 feet over the cliffs of Dover.

Its mission was to drop a shower of poppies over the cliffs as a tribute to the efforts of World War II veterans.

Twitter | @KTHopkins

In total, about 750,000 were released. All are biodegradable and fell softly above the Battle of Britain Memorial at the edge of the cliffs.

That memorial was likely placed because of the significance the cliffs had during the war.

Twitter | @KTHopkins

In particular, they served as a comforting marker that the soldiers who had escaped the beaches of Dunkirk during the famous rescue mission had made it to safer shores.

According to The Daily Mail, the memorial was well-attended that day with hundreds turning out to watch the impressive display.

And the location was far from the only aspect about the event that was chosen so carefully.

YouTube | On Demand News

The plane itself was a veteran of D-Day and once dropped troops in Normandy as it now drops poppies over Dover.

For its trouble, it received about 40 bullet holes in its fuselage that remain there today. It also bears a hole near the cockpit that marks where a shell actually passed through both sides of the plane.

As was likely the case at the time, the Dakota also had two Spitfires flying alongside it during the memorial event.


They also flew missions during World War II and took off from a Royal Air Force base in Duxford before the Dakota embarked on its journey.

While the Dakota's crew dropped the poppies, five veterans were on board to oversee their work.

Twitter | @KTHopkins

94-year-old Warrant Officer Roy Briggs was among these men, but wasn't aware that he would be joining the flight until a few days before it took place.

As he told The Daily Mail, "I couldn't really believe at 94 I was getting involved in something like this."

Like the other veterans present, he was pleased with how the flight went, but also recalled the crew he served with during the war.

YouTube | On Demand News

They had all worked on a Lancaster bomber, but only Briggs survived a fateful mission that claimed the lives of his comrades.

As he said, "I am 94 and they are still 20 and 21. They will never be anything else to me."

h/t: The Daily Mail