In 1916 hundreds of injured and wounded soldiers were being returned home from the war in Europe. Hospitals were cleared as quickly as possible to accommodate them but the result was that many men, including the disabled, were sent away only half cured. Hundreds, if not thousands of men who had fought for their country were forced to go to the old Board of Guardians to seek assistance but gradually, ex-servicemen began to form into small groups and as the movement expanded, three separate bodies came to the fore: The National Association of Discharged Soldiers and Sailors, The National Federation of Demobilised Soldiers and Sailors, and Comrades of the Great War Association. At the end of the war the three original organisations agreed to merge but only included the rank and file. Field Marshall Earl Haig then formed an officers’ organisation with the idea of uniting all organisations into one. In June 1921, at the Queen’s Hall, London, the British Legion was formed to give practical help and companionship to all ex-servicemen of the First World War and their dependants. The Bishop’s Stortford branch was formed that same year and first administered from a small Air Raid Precaution hut behind the town’s original football ground at Rhodes Avenue. From the start a strong membership was sustained in Bishop’s Stortford, but with the ending of World War II several Legion members including Boyd Gibbins and Jim Fuller, proposed that a more fitting premise be found to accommodate servicemen returning from the war. Hearing of this, their friend Phillip Rust – who himself had lost three sons in the conflict – offered them No 28 Windhill at a nominal sum. Secretary Jack Gallimore then wasted no time in contacting Jack Tissiman, Bernard Sparrow and Colonel Grant who managed the Match factory at Hockerill. Without hesitation these three men gave £3,000 to purchase the premises, which was completed on 11 October 1948.
28 Windhill remained the home of the Royal British Legion Club, Branch and Women's Section until 30th September 2017 when it closed down.
The Royal British Legion Bishop's Stortford Branch and Women's Section are now operating from a new base at The Apton Centre, 22a Apton Road, Bishop's Stortford, CM23 3SN which was officially opened on 25th September 2017.