ID: AA011040 / Tony Clifton

TitleRoyal British Legion - Mersea Island
AbstractA short history of the British Legion on Mersea Island.
The inaugural meeting of the Mersea Island Branch of the Royal British Legion took place at 7.30pm on 28 July 1921 in the Parish Hall. Chairman, the Reverend C. Pierrepont-Edwards was in the chair and 39 members were enrolled. The first Legion parade was for the Memorial Cross ceremony which took place on the 4th of August 1921 at 7.30pm. Ex-servicemen fell in at the Victory at 7.15pm and then led by a band and the chief Coastguard officer with his men, they processed in military fashion to the cross.
On 20th September the first formal committee was elected. The officers were President Captain Springfield, Chairman Captain Moodie, Vice-Chair Captain Blythe, Treasurer Mr A. Gentry, Secretary Mr F. Bennett. Over the next years, the venues for the meetings were many and varied; Nash's tearooms, Nash's restaurant, the Victory Hall, Wash's tearooms, the Council School, the Reading Room and many other places.
The first AGM held in the Legion Hall was held on 14 January 1925. Col. T. Cartright was elected President on 29 September 1922 and retired from the post through ill health in March 1944. Members aclaimed he was the father of the Branch. He subsequently servied for many more years as one of several Vice Presidents.

The British Legion played a leading role in the community; it started the first watersports day on 27 July 1922; the island football club originated as a British Legion Club, but dropped the links in 1935 due to problems over playing non British Legion members in the side. The Legion continued to give financial support and a meeting place for the club for many years. The Cricket Club has the same origins, and the Rifle Club that was formed in 1933 by Mr Mills and Mr Pink is still going strong.
The Mersea Brass Band was adopted by the Branch in 1935 and took the title the Mersea Island British Legion Band.
In 1934 the Poppy Appeal raised £45. 2009-2010 it raised £9,800.

A Special General Meeting held on 23 July 1937 responded to a request from the headquarters of the Women's Section for permission to form a Women's Section of the Branch. A unanimous vote of approval was recorded. Following the formation of the Women's Section, they took over the running of the Poppy Appeal. They have since passed it back.

The present Legion Hall was originally built in 1924, on land owned by Mrs Ruddock, and the building was financed by her on repayment terms. Part of the building was for the use of the Women's Institute and part for a library. Over the following years the Branch repaid Mrs Ruddock and bought out both the Womens Institute and the library.

In 1971, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the British Legion, the Queen granted it a Royal Charter, allowing it to become the Royal British Legion.

Duration4 minutes
Recorded18 April 2011

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