After the First World War, millions of men returned home but were faced
with terrible hardship as Britain struggled with huge economic problems. Many
servicemen had suffered horrific injuries, and many families had lost their
male family members. Initially the ex-servicemen formed a number of independent
organisations to provide support and welfare.
The creation of The British
Legion can largely be attributed to Field Marshal Earl Haig and Lance
Bombardier Tom Lister, who brought together numerous ex-servicemen's
organisations as one body. Its aim was to provide care for all those who had
suffered as a result of service during the war.
The British Legion received
its Royal appellation on 29 May 1971 – the date of its golden anniversary.
Membership was extended to serving members of Her Majesty's Forces, as well as
to ex-Service personnel, in 1981.
As the country’s largest
armed forces charity, The Royal British Legion provides a range of vital
support to veterans and their families in debt and emergency situations, as
well as recovery and rehabilitation support to currently serving and ex-service
personnel who are wounded, injured or sick. The Legion has also recently expanded
its service with the introduction of wellbeing courses for veterans.
We are proud to commemorate
the centenary of the formation of the Royal British Legion with the release of
four stamps, which will be issued during the course of 2021. The first stamp,
released on 17 February, depicts part of a poppy wreath, the recognised symbol
of Remembrance, and two Supermarine Spitfires.
When joined together, the
stamps bear a single wreath of colourful poppies in striking contrast to the
black and white images chosen to symbolise the commitment of members of the
British Armed Forces.
The fourth and final stamp
- along with the souvenir sheet bearing the four stamps and depicting a wreath
of poppies - will be issued on Remembrance Day, 11 November 2021.