IT was raining poppies in Passchendaele at the weekend. The wild flowers of Flanders fell from the sky as they do each year in a beautiful, poignant ceremony.

A scene that brought back memories of my own visit to the battlefields of France and Belgium in the 90s.

I escorted a group of veterans from Merseyside who were being honoured in Ypres.

I stood with these heroes - many in wheelchairs - who cried when they heard the Last Post played at the Menin Gate.

They told me eye witness tales of survival that are etched in my memory to this day.

A bugler plays the Last Post every night.

Wirral’s Carl Liversage, Head of External Relations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, says hearing the lament raises the ‘hairs n the back of his head.’ And he has been working there for 35 years.

Carl, from Moreton,is proud that pride in our heritage runs in the family as his father and brother work for the CWGC in the UK.

On my pilgrimage to Flanders I saw many other Merseyside connections – hear-breaking letters in a glass case in the Somme Museum written . . . but never sent.

It so moved Chris De Burgh that he told me he dedicated his ballad This Song for You about a soldier in the trenches.

And something magical happened to me.

I was searching for the grave of double VC winner Captain Noel Chavasse in the years before high-tech came along.

I had been to six cemeteries and had given up but on the last day suddenly my poppy swirled out of my lapel due to the bitter cold wind and eventually landed on HIS gravestone. A moment I cannot explain nor will never forget.

Chavasse will soon be honoured on a five pound coin.

This November we will see War Horse at the Empire which will educate new generations. Schools should see this piece of theatre.

Next year it will be 100 years since the end of the ‘war to end all wars.’ Every time I walk to the Globe office I stand and reflect for a few minutes by the magnificent monuments in Hamilton Square.

I still re-read the poems of Birkenhead’s much-loved Wilfred Owen.

At Menin Gate the word “peace” is chiselled into the stone in 28 languages. Long may the poppies of peace rain on us all.

WHEN I was reviewing the film Dunkirk for the Globe one thing that struck me was the number of young people in the audience.

Many were there to see the debut performance of One Direction’s Harry Styles who has taken a new direction by starting an acting career.

Now it seems that his young fans have started to show interest in this part of history.

Harry took on this particular role because he knew he has influence on youngsters.

While seeing another repeat of an episode of Dad’s Army, I was also reminded of the Dunkirk spirit of the nation’s Home Guard.

I interviewed the writer Jimmy Perry who had originally called the series The Fighting Tigers but had faced opposition from BBC big wigs who thought it might offend many. It had the opposite effect.

Indeed, I could imagine there in Walmington- on-Sea in 1941 spirited Captain Mainwaring commandeering a little boat and with Wilson, Jones, and Godfrey in the crew setting out to Dunkirk to save our soldiers from the Hun.

AT last week’s LIPA Graduation ceremony I met a man whose work I have listened to time after time on the radio. Liverpool-born Judd Lander who has, like me, given a an industry Masterclass at LIPA. He was the musician who played harmonica on the Culture Club hit Karma Chameleon. He also worked with The Scaffold on Liverpool Lou.

Judd, from Fazakerley, is now a leading light in PR but he says one of the highlights in his career was not just working with Abba or Elton John but being a puppeteer on Saturday Superstore. He was the hands behind the famous Black Crow puppet.

Hey Judd (also a one time of member of Cavern favourites The Hideaways) isn’t time you wrote an autobiography?

MY telly has conked out. After the recent rubbish being broadcast I was not overly concerned. Having been a television editor for more than 30 years I could do with a break. Alas, there’s still iPlayer to click on. No escape from Poldark.

But I was reminded of a man in the United States who was so fed up with his TV output he turned his set into a fish tank. Now that’s what I call visionary.

BEST-SELLING author Roddy Doyle is coming to Waterstones in Liverpool on September 5.

The one-time Dublin teacher turned wordsmith wrote The Commitments 30 years ago and since then has become one of the most read of modern writers.

His latest book Smile is about a boy who was taught by the Christian Brothers. I can’t wait to chat to him as I still bear the cane marks of their hard-hitting tuition.

Roddy and the clergy go back a long way, of course. He is given a name check in Father Ted. Following an outbreak of mild swearing from dim Father Dougal’s cursing was put down to “reading those Roddy Doyle books again.’’ AND finally...I have just been appointed The White House Head of Communications by Donald Trump. So... see you all again next week.

Peter Grant