British Legion Formed


History on 15th May

British Legion Formed

Whitehall, London The 15th of May 1921 AD

As the debate about the military covenant continues it is instructive to consider that the British Legion was formed a few years after the end of WWI when servicemen faced similar problems to those still met.
The British Legion was essentially an amalgamation of four bodies: The National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers; Comrades of the Great War; The Officers’ Association; and the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers. Another grouping, the National Union of Ex-servicemen participated in early discussions but withdrew before they bore fruit. Earl Haig was a central figure in the foundation of ‘The Legion’, proving rather more useful in that regard than as a military tactician.
Certain of those organisations had been involved in political campaigning; even putting up candidates for elections to the House of Commons, but the British Legion was apolitical, seeking to work by varied means to support ex-servicemen and women and those still serving, along with their dependents. Pensions, helping those maimed in combat, and justice for those ill-used during their service were key to the early Legion; sadly such matters remain significant for the group today.
Unity talks at the Queen’s Hall in Langham Place began on May 14 1921, and continued to the next day, agreeing a draft constitution. At 9am on Sunday May 15th the agreement was symbolically sealed at the Cenotaph.
The organisation was granted a Royal Charter in 1925 and in 1971 to mark the Golden Anniversary was allowed to use the Royal prefix in its title.

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