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Harlow marks a hundred years since men walked to the Cenotaph

History / Tue 25th May 2021 at 02:19pm

ON Sunday 15 May 1921, a wet and dreary day, a small number of ex-servicemen walked to the Cenotaph war memorial in London’s Whitehall. 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.

On that wreath were the 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, as well as overseas. These were the groups around which the armed forces community rallied after the First World War.

They made change happen, fundraised during the Poppy Appeal, provided welfare locally and became the foundations for what has become the UK’s largest Armed Forces charity. Centenary Wreath Laying.

One hundred years later they 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 their founding, they recreated the activity of that day

On a wet and miserable Saturday morning, a short service was held at the Netteswell Memorial conducted by Albert Watson, the branch padre.

In attendance were members of the Branch Committee and other ex-service personnel as well as some of the general public.

Wreaths were laid by Charlie Smith, Branch Chairman along with Chair of Harlow Council, Maggie Hulcoop and Robert Halfon MP.

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