Welcome to the Market Harborough Branch of The Royal British Legion
Branch History's Mysteries
The assumption had been that the Branch was formed in 1922, so
in the light of the newspaper reports, I asked Regional Office if
they could tell me from Legion records the true formation date. In
response, I received a copy of a letter from B M J Mestrum,
Supervisor Registry at H Q. This bore a photo-copy of their Record
Card for Market Harborough Branch, which said, "FORMED 15.5.25",
but written above this entry was, "23.3.23". There was also a note
saying, "See Branch File".
On phoning HQ Registry to try to find an explanation of the
confusion of dates, I was put in touch with a Mr Magilvery(?). He
found a reference to the Market Harborough Branch in the "British
Legion Annual report and Accounts for 1923", where on page 28, in
the "Poppy Day Report", it states that the Branch contributed
£44-11s-5d. This proved that the date 15.5.25 on the record card
was wrong. He suggested that when the error was eventually
discovered the figures "23.3.23" were written above but for some
reason the origional date was not deleted. It was not now possible
to get further information from the Branch File refered to since
such documents were not kept for more than 20 years.
It would appear that the "official" formation date is 23rd
March, 1923 although the founders will have regarded the meeting on
Tuesday, 20th March 1923 as marking the true birth date of the
Market Harborough Branch.
The record card also has an entry "Anniversary Pennant 1976". Mr
Magilvery could not explain why 1976 is entered when our 50th
Anniversary pennant actually shows "1922 - 1972". Of course we now
know that the pennant is wrongly marked and should show "1923 -
Written by Tom Ashmore to amplify an article published in In
Touch Issue No. 5,. January 1997.