History of The Royal British Legion Village and Branch
The Royal British Legion Village has long been part of the Legion’s history. Originally named the Preston Hall Colony, it was founded after the First World War to help gassed and injured soldiers on their discharge from the Preston Hall hospital. It became the centre of a small farming community, and in 1921, when The British Legion was founded, one of the first Legion branches was formed comprising a membership of veterans living and working in the Village. Later, in 1925, this branch became the British Legion Village branch.
Over the years a thriving community has grown up on the Village, helping all disabled veterans who either came via the hospital or moved into the area. In 1972 the Poppy Appeal headquarters of what was now called The Royal British Legion moved to the Village. Now it is one of the main hubs of Legion life, accommodating an industrial complex that houses Royal British Legion industries, that organisation’s care homes, and various accommodation facilities for veterans and persons with disabilities. More recently, the Legion’s Kent County Office has re-located to the Village thereby providing a unique and supportive base for Legion activities in Kent and the rest of South East England.
Several past Members of the Village Branch have served as national chairmen of the Legion, notably Lt Col Sir C Gordon-Larking (1947-1949) and Mr Charles Busby (1975-1977).