100 years of the Royal British Legion marked by Billingshurst branch

The founding of the Royal British Legion 100 years ago was marked with a ceremony by representaties from the Billingshurst branch.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 2:26 pm

A service was held on Saturday, May 15, at the Billingshurst war memorial and was conducted by branch chairman, Rob Nicholl, and branch president, Colin Banks.

It coincided with activity in London that morning which saw the Royal British Legion’s national president lay a wreath at the Cenotaph war memorial.

Graeme McAlpine, press officer at Billingshurst Royal British Legion, said: “The simple ceremony in Billingshurst – conducted under Covid protocols – saw a single wreath laid by the branch.

Branch chaplain Reverend David Beal of St Marys Church, Billingshurst branch chairman and standard bearer Rob Nicholl and branch president, Colin Banks during the ceremony to mark 100 years of the Royal British Legion SUS-210517-114131001

“The Exaltations were read by the branch president, followed by the sounding of the Last Post and a two minutes silence.

“After Reveille, prayers were given by the branch chaplain, the Reverend David Beal of St Mary’s Church.”

The Royal British Legion was formed on Sunday, May 15, 1921, when a small number of ex-servicemen walked to the Cenotaph war memorial in London’s Whitehall on a wet and dreary day.

As Big Ben struck nine, four men representing societies – that for three years had been rivals – laid a wreath at the base of the memorial.

The Billingshurst branch of the Royal British Legion marked 100 years since the legion's formation SUS-210517-114329001

On that wreath were the badges that would officially amalgamate to form the British Legion.

Graeme said: “The Legion has made change happen, fundraised during the Poppy Appeal, provided welfare locally and became the foundations for what is now the UK’s largest Armed Forces charity.

“This year, the Royal British Legion is celebrating 100 years of support for the Armed Forces community.

“From the beginning we have campaigned for fair treatment of those who have given so much for their country during the wars and conflicts, providing much needed welfare support and comradeship to millions.

Members of the Billingshurst Royal British Legion branch committee during the centenary ceremony SUS-210517-114435001

“A century on and we continue to respond to the changing needs of the Armed Forces community, providing small interventions to life changing and sometimes lifesaving support.”

For more information of the Legion’s work locally, contact the branch chairman, Rob Nicholl at [email protected]