From the Maitland Mercury report:
By PETER BOGAN, Maitland historian
On Armistice Day, 11th November, as has become the custom, we will be asked to purchase a Red Poppy or a badge or similar item signifying the same. There is a wonderful story on how the Red Poppy has come to signify WWI and the thousands who lost their lives in that conflict.
A hundred years ago, in early May 1915, the wild Flanders poppies had bloomed and were now dropping their red petals, which were being blown across the battlefield by the wind.
At that time a Canadian officer, Major John McCrae, had just buried a close friend who had been hit by a German shell and he was struck by how incongruous it was that the poppies bloomed in all their beauty while soldiers died and were being buried.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 10, 2015.