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 have been issued during the course of 2021.
The first stamp, released on 17 February, depicts part of a poppy wreath, and two Supermarine Spitfires.
The second stamp, released on 15 May , depicts part of a poppy wreath, and a RAF Hurricane.
The third stamp, released on 1 September, depicts part of a poppy wreath, and soldiers at Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
The fourth and final stamp, released on 11 November, depicts part of a poppy, and HMS Ardent from the Falklands War 1982.
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.