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Remembered Today:

British Legion Donations to aid the Menin Gate


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I was intrigued by a "75 Years Ago" article in my local paper, the Leatherhead Advertiser, this week. It reports :-

"All branches of the British Legion in this district will be represented at the Menin Gate ceremony at Easter when the Trust Deed relating to the fund that has been raised by the Surrey Legion will be handed over to the Belgian authorities.

The Surrey branches raised £400, a sum which is deemed sufficient to ensure that the "Last Post" will be sounded every evening in perpetuity at the Memorial to the Missing at Ypres"

Does anyone know if other BL branches contributed and what happened to these monies. Is this trust still in existence?

£400 sure went a long way in those days!

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Found this in The Times, Monday, Jul 06, 1931; pg. 19; Issue 45867; col E

The British Legion: Celebrations Of Tenth Anniversary

...Addressing the parade, the Duke of Connaught said that with soldiers the colours were a respected emblem of the Sovereign, the country, and the Regiment they had served, and he hoped the Legion would ever recall the great spirit of service rendered by the men of the county. He expressed pleasure at the increase in membership of the Legion in Surrey, and congratulated the branches upon having raised £22,300 on Remembrance Day. The Surrey Legion had accepted the honour of finding the funds for providing the sounding of the Last Post in perpetuity at the Menin Gate, and he hoped the Lord Lieutenant's appeal, shortly to be made on that behalf, would meet with a generous response

The Duke of Connaught was Patron of the British Legion in Surrey at the time and was attending a tenth anniversary parade at Kingston-upon-Thames during which the 'old county banner of the Legion' was laid up at County Hall (For non Surrey residents: Kingston-upon-Thames was then in Surrey, but although the town isn't today, Surrey County Council's HQ is still - despite several plan to move it into Surrey which have never come to fruition - at County Hall there. Unfortunately, I have no idea as to whether the laid up banner is on display or not)

Unfortunately, the article, although it clearly states 'The Surrey Legion had accepted the honour of finding the funds', it doesn't really make it clear whether the appeal was made just in Surrey or country-wide, although the fact that it was 'the Lord Lieutenant's' - presumably of Surrey - appeal, might indicate the former.


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Thanks for that Nigel. I guess the £22,400 was raised for the normal Poppy Appeal with Surrey raising an additional £400 for Ypres - I wonder if bugles may have been purchased with some of this money in the 30's?

I am quite pleased to discover this early link between my adopted county Surrey and Ypres. The dinner I helped give the the Ypres buglers a few years ago unbeknownst to me continued this in a minor way - but cost way more than £400 ! That's inflation in action.

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A bit more from The Times which will be of interest

Saturday, Jul 12, 1930; pg. 14; Issue 45563


Wednesday, Jul 23, 1930; pg. 14; Issue 45572


Tuesday, Sep 30, 1930; pg. 8; Issue 45631



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Many thanks for that Terry.

So it took a few years to raise the £400 and my local paper was right , the visit was indeed 75 years ago.

I note that Poulteney's name is wrong on the PATHE description and the money is detailed as presented to the "Burger Master of Ypres" ! Didn't know that Iain McHenry was that old. There was also a list of contributors to the fund presented. I wonder if it is still in the LPA archives.

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Thanks for the Pathe link Terry, that archive is proving to be a remarkable resource, and not just for WW1.

I'm wondering about the £22,300 mentioned as raised for Remembrance Day in the July 6th 1931 Times: even though people would doubtless, with the memory of the war still being fresh, have given generously, this was an awful lot of money for the time. I wondered if I might have mis-transcribed the amount, but I've rechecked and that is definitely what was printed; could it have been a printing error, or mis-reporting with the possibility of that amount being the total raised over the ten year period of Legion's existence? By comparison the raising of the £400 seems to have taken rather a long time if it wasn't presented until four years later in 1935 (although it possible that the money was raised much sooner but wasn't actually presented until 1935). (The Times of Monday, Apr 22, 1935 also carries a report of the Surrey Legion's visit to Ypres, but adds little to the Pathe coverage)


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