Royal British Legion in Huntingdon to celebrate its 100th birthday

Prince of Wales Charles with Gordon Peacock in 1979 

Prince of Wales Charles with National Standard Bearer Gordon Peacock in 1979 - Credit: Judith Armstrong

The Huntingdon and District Branch of the Royal British Legion is celebrating its 100th birthday next month.

There will be an all-day celebration at the event on Sunday, October 17 at the Montagu Club, in Huntingdon.

Visitors can also enjoy military displays and an adult and childrens 1940's fancy dress competition. 

A children’s play area will be open and there will be a chance to win a Merrythought RBL Centenary Bear, worth £300.  

Gordon Peacock in France in 1994 

Gordon Peacock in France in 1994 - Credit: Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong, a member of the Huntingdon Royal British Legion, explained a little about their history, she said: “In 2013 the branch had only three members and at its AGM it was making plans to close. 

“However with the help of The Hunts Post publishing a plea for new members, it allowed us to continue and we now have a thriving branch able to support all those serving and ex-service members that require help or just someone to chat to.  

“We also carry out the poppy collection and take part in the Remembrance Sunday parade 

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“We also regularly meet each month at The Montagu Club and attend many events to fundraise and publicise the help and support we are able to offer.” 

Back in May this year the Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Karl Webb paid tribute to the Royal British Legion at a special ceremony to mark the organisation’s centenary. 

The ceremony was part of low-key national celebrations for the Royal British Legion which was formed 100 years ago in the wake of the First World War. 

Gordon Peacock with members of the Royal British Legion 

Gordon Peacock with members of the Royal British Legion in May 2003 - Credit: Judith Armstrong

The RBL was formed in 1921 from four separate organisations which supported service personnel from The Great War.  

The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, The British National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers, The Comrades of The Great War, The Officers' Association.  

The amalgamation of these diverse bodies can be attributed largely to two men: Field Marshal Earl Haig and Tom Lister of The Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers. Lord Haig served as the President of The Royal British Legion until his death. 

It was first known as the British Legion but was granted a royal charter by King George V in 1925. 

The Royal British Legion, which continues to provide welfare services to military personnel and their families, continues to campaign for the best deal for military personnel who are in need as well as fulfilling a comradeship role. 

Judith said: “The Montagu club is a perfect venue for the event to take place, we have social evenings as well as holding meetings there. 

Royal British Legion in Huntingdon this year

Royal British Legion in Huntingdon this year - Credit: Karl Webb

“They have been really wonderful, we used to have our meetings at the Tesco community room but that closed with the pandemic.  

“They had a leak there so I approached the Montagu and they said they would be happy to have us.”  

Karl Webb, the Mayor of Huntingdon said: "Huntingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion have been serving our community for 100 years in November.

"This is an amazing achievement considering that the Royal British Legion, as an organisation, were only formed 7 months earlier.

"It is hard to imagine that the branch has been marking Remembrance Day before the town’s War Memorial, the statue of the Thinking Soldier, was erected in the Town Square (in 1923). 

"Having served in the Royal Navy, I am extremely proud of the support Huntingdon Branch have given to our veterans and their families over the years.

"I would like to congratulate them in behalf of our town and thank them for their dedication and commitment to our community."

Within the event on October 17 there also be a table top sale will be held from 10am to 1pm and all proceeds will go to the Poppy Appeal.  

Then from 3pm to 5pm, a "Street Party" style afternoon tea will start with live music performances and 1940s music.

There will be a dance floor,  plus all day attractions, including a £1 per go Tombola.  

There will be several stands including a Royal British Legion stand and a Poppy Appeal stand.