A wreath laying ceremony has been held in Burnham-On-Sea to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion on Saturday (15th May).
Members of Burnham’s branch of the Royal British Legion gathered besides the town’s war memorial in Love Lane.
Burnham and Highbridge MP James Heappey also laid a wreath to mark the occasion, as pictured.
Saturday’s ceremony was led by John Crosby, Chairman of Burnham’s Royal British Legion, Vice Chairman Bernard Spragg, Standard Bearer Simon Orchard MBE and Charles Dowdall RN.
Earlier in the day, as reported here, three planes in close formation were flown through our area by veteran RAF pilots in salute to the Royal British Legion.
A spokesman says: “On 15th May 1921 a small number of ex-servicemen walked to the Cenotaph War Memorial in Whitehall, London. As Big Ben struck 9, four men representing societies that for three years had been rivals laid a wreath at the base of the memorial. On the wreath were the four badges of the four organisations that would officially amalgamate to form the British Legion. This moment was the starting gun for the Royal British Legion we know today.”
“By Christmas of 1921 the ranks of the organisation had swelled to include 2,500 branches across the country and overseas, including 20 in Somerset. These were the groups around which the armed forces community rallied after the First World War.”
“They made change happen, fundraising during the Poppy Appeal, and providing welfare locally. It became the foundation for what has become the UK’s largest armed forces charity.”
“100 years later we are proud to still have 2,500 branches, some with a history reaching back to 1921 and others established in the last decade. To mark the moment of our founding we recreated the activity of that day. Our national President and serving personnel also laid a wreath at the cenotaph at 9am.”
Burnham’s branch of the Royal British Legion was formed in October 1921.