Royal British Legion marks centenary with wreath-laying ceremony

·2-min read

Wreaths have been laid at the Cenotaph to mark the centenary of the Royal British Legion (RBL).

The charity marked the exact moment of its formation 100 years ago at 9am on Saturday with the laying of wreaths on Whitehall in London and other towns, cities and villages across the UK.

Representatives of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Merchant Navy laid wreaths at the Cenotaph to replicate the same actions of that time and day a century ago.

The ceremony was led by retired Lieutenant General James Bashall, who is national president of the RBL.

In a video message to celebrate the charity’s centenary, the Prince of Wales hailed its “constant” support of the Armed Forces community.

Wreath ceremony at Cenotaph
Representatives of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Merchant Navy laid wreaths (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Charles said: “There are few organisations which hold a place at the heart of society in the way the Royal British Legion does.

“For one hundred years, the Royal British Legion has been a constant, through the annual Poppy Appeal, leading the nation in remembrance and providing a life-long commitment to every veteran and their families.

“Therefore, I wanted, above all, to offer my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all those who have helped build this wonderful organisation we know today, and to all those who will be part of its future.”

The Prince of Wales visits Combermere Barracks
Charles said the charity has been a ‘constant’ throughout its history (Peter Cziborra/PA)

Charles’s video led a wealth of tributes from service personnel and members of the Armed Forces community, as well as celebrity supporters including Ross Kemp and Stephen Fry.

In Portadown, Co Armagh, John Robinson – who served in the armed forces from 1971 to 2007 – laid a wreath on behalf of the branch’s almost 700 members at 9am on Saturday.

A special edition RBL centenary coin will also be used for the coin toss of the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester City at Wembley.

RBL director general Charles Byrne said: “In this, our centenary year, we are focused firmly on our future.

Royal British legion centenary
National President of the Royal British Legion Lieutenant General (Retired) James Bashall (left) and members from the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force and the Merchant Navy attend a service at the Cenotaph in London to mark the centenary of the Royal British legion (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Our proud heritage and 100 years of experience supporting the Armed Forces community have built the strong foundations of an organisation fit for the next 100.

“We remain committed to our mission to ensure that those who have given so much for their country get the fair treatment, support and recognition they deserve.”

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