Stalybridge: Centenary commemorated

THE Stalybridge and Dukinfield branch of the Royal British Legion marked the organisation’s centenary at Stalybridge War Memorial.

At 9am on Saturday, May 15, Peter Edwards, representing the Stalybridge and Dukinfield branch, laid a wreath.

It was on Sunday, May 15, 1921, a wet and dreary day, that a small number of ex-servicemen walked to the Cenotaph 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 Royal British Legion.

This moment was the start for the Royal British Legion we know today. By Christmas 1921 the ranks of their 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.

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