Our History

The British Legion was founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-service community as a merger of four organisations: The Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharded and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers and the Officers' Association. It was granted a Royal Charter on 29 May 1971 to mark its fiftieth anniversary which gives the Legion the privilege of the prefix 'Royal'.

Earl Haig, British commander of the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele was one of the founders of the Legion and President until his death.

The head office is based (2015) next to Borough tube station.

Name: The Royal British Legion
Abbreviation: RBL
Motto: "Service not Self"
Formation: 15 May 1971
Founder: Tom Lister
Merger of: Comrades of the Great War, National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, National Federation
of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers, Officer's Association.
Type: Ex-service organisation
Registration no. 219279
Legal Status: Charity
Headquarters: Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London
Region Served: Worldwide
Patron: Elizabeth II
National President: Peter Wilkinson

Honour the Covenant Campaign

Honour the Covenant is a campaign launched by The Royal British Legion in September 2007, which calls on the UK Government to honour the Military Covenant. The campaign aims to seek public support for the issues identified by the Legion and to encourage their Members of Parliament to act to ensure that the Government policy is changed.

The campaign accuses the Government of failing to meet its commitments under the Covenant. The Legion highlighted the case of a 23-year-old paratrooper, injured in battle, who was awarded £152,150 despite injuries requiring care for the rest of his life. It also criticised the practice of treating soldiers in wards alongside civilian patients. In his conference speech that October, Conservative Party leader David Cameron referred to the Covenant and said "Mr Brown, I believe your government has broken it."

Medical Care

Responding to the Royal British Legion's campaign, the former Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, announced in November 2007 that armed forces veterans would get priority treatment on the National Health Service, and those injured would be treated immeditately in hospital rather than go through waiting lists. Prescription charges would also be waived.
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