Welcome to the Woodhall Spa & District Branch of The Royal British Legion
A Brief History of the Branch was written
By Ann Pickup and was produced for the Branch as part of the
90th Anniversery of the formation of The Royal British
1929 saw the formation of the Branch. The
founding Committee included Major S C
Wright, Lieut Col Eddowes and the Rev
Jamieson. The Branch district consisted of Woodhall
Spa, Kirkby on Bain, Martin Dales,
Timberland, Horsington, Bucknall,
Stixwould and Roughton. Major S C Wright was the
first Chairman, Vice Chairman was Lieut
Col Eddowes and Secretary Mr. A W
1930's Membership increased to 153 by 1931. Whist
Drives, Dances and various activities
were held to raise funds.
1933 The Branch won the President's Cup for the
efficient Branch in Lincolnshire and received a
Certificate of Merit.
1937 Ex-Servicemen were honoured at the Branch's Annual
Drumhead Service and Parade held in the grounds of the Petwood
Hotel by the presence of Her Highness Princess Marie
Louise. The Branch was commended as "a happy ship, one
of the strongest and well run in the
County". Children of branch members and War Widows were given a
Christmas treat of seeing a talkie film at the
With the worsening situation in Europe many members
joined the ARP and the Territorial Army.
Following 'the outbreak of war, the Branch continued its work
although transport difficulties restricted
1940's Over 1,000 people attended a concert held by the
Branch in the grounds of the Petwood in
1940. Membership remained stable at approx. 250 during the
remainder of the war.
1944 £800 was raised in a matter of five weeks for a
"Welcome Home Fund" for ex-service personnel.
1946 Membership leapt to 356 with many ex-service
personnel joining the Branch. Conningsby
members left to form their own
The post-war years were not kind to the Royal British
Legion nationwide and membership
dwindled, however, membership of Woodhall
Spa's branch remained at more than 150.
1950's These were lean years for attendance due in the
main to the growth of TV and other forms
of entertainment. An Annual Dinner
continued to be held as did the Childrens' Christmas Treat. Whist
Drives and Dances were popular and raised funds
for the Branch.
The Remembrance Sunday Services and Parades were held
in an afternoon.
1958 ended the dances organised by the Branch due to
the high cost of hiring a band and
1959 saw the first mixed Annual Dinner-members
were informed they could take a lady
friend or a wife!
The Welfare Committee appears to have been very busy in
the 50's with 15 members on the
Committee. Ex-Service Personnel resident
at the Eagle Lodge Nursing Home were visited once a month and the
routine welfare work continued. Gifts to members in hospital
included cigarettes (how times have
1960's Flood relief money was paid to Kirkby-on-Bain
members. The formation of a Womens' Section was discussed several
times in the early 60's. The venue for meetings
varied from The Young Mens Club, The
Womens' Conservative Club and The Spa
Hotel (the original). Children of all ex-Service men were taken to
the coast for a day in 1960. The custom
of holding an Annual Dinner was abandoned due
to a decrease in attendances.
Branch membership dropped in the late 60's
although nationally RBL membership
increased by 25,000 in 1968.
first ladies, Mrs. D Patchett and Mrs S Mitchell
were welcomed onto the Committee.
1973 brought the resignation of long standing Committee
Member Mr. Fuller who had served on the Committee
since 1929. The Branch was represented at
the Remembrance Service at the Albert
Hall, the Standard Bearer being Mr. R
Whist Drives, Jumble Sales, etc continued to be held to
raise funds. A Garden Fete was held in
Group Capt. Pritchard's
1977 due to age and illness numbers
County held a Garden Fete at the Petwood Hotel helped
Branch manning stalls etc.
Meetings were held at the Garden Centre (Came Court now
stands on the site).
1981 was the Branch's first entry in the County Bowls
Tournament where 4th place was gained in both the
individual and pairs
1982 Good Wishes were sent by the Branch to
personnel in the Task Force.
A number of social evenings were held, as were the
Christmas and Easter Fayres and Christmas
Members went on a number of outings.
A Dinner organised to mark the Branch's 55th
cancelled due to the closure of the Petwood
1984 The Branch won the Burland Rose Bowl for the
runner-up in the small branches
efficiency competition. Representatives of the Branch attended
Conferences and Re-Dedication Services at other
1987 was the first year that 617 Squadron joined in
the Remembrance Parade which was led by
the City of Lincoln Drum and Bugle Band.
A meal was provided by Dr. Armour.
The Branch nearly closed down in the early 80's due to
lack of support, but by 1985 the Chairman
Mr. Ken Ashworth welcomed new members and
stated that the Branch's recovery was remarkable, credit being due
to the Ladies who had instituted new life
into the Branch.
Mr. Richard Bellwood had been awarded The Malta George Cross
Fiftieth Anniversary medal which was presented at the Branch
meeting by Branch President Dr Armour and
Chairman Mr. Ashworth.
1992 An Entertainment Committee was formed headed
by Mr. Jack Patterson. Donations were
made to RBL Byng House and Halsey House. A review of the Welfare
Committee and the making of welfare
grants was held. The Branch Standard was blessed and dedicated by
the Vicar and displayed in St. Peter's
Church. A Remembrance Day display was placed in the
Library window for the first time. Dr and
Mrs. Armour laid on lunch after the
Remembrance Parade. Customary gifts at Christmas to Pensioners and
Widows were in future not to be taken from any RBL fund but the
monies to be raised by fund raising. 11
members were elected to the Welfare Committee and 6 to
the General Committee.
1993 Chairman Mr. K Ashworth stepped down after 21
years and Mr. Malcolm Gregory was elected
in his place. The sending out of
newsletters to members was introduced.
Speakers at meetings were also introduced, the first
one being a talk by member Mr. Theo
1994 The 50th Anniversary of D-Day was marked by the
Branch with a Church Service and Parade
followed by a buffet lunch hosted by Dr.
and Mrs. Armour.
1995 A Church Service at St. Peter's was held on VE Day
Anniversary. VJ Day Anniversary was marked by an Open Air Service
with a band in Jubilee Park. The Branch's oldest
member Fred Ingall celebrated his 100th
Members had a disappointing day out to the RBL National
Day at Woburn Abbey when their coach driver lost his way! They
arrived half an hour before the end of
1996 Talks on the meaning of Remembrance Day were given
by a Branch Member to 4 local primary
schools. The venue for meetings changed to the
Eagle Lodge Hotel and a Fundraising Committee was
1997 The list for Christmas cash gifts was revised in
accordance with the RBL Management Book.
A small fee per member was introduced at
meetings to be used as a Social Fund, the proceeds of
the evening raffles also going into this
Phil Avery was elected
1999 The Branch moved its meeting place to the
Conservative Club, A cheque for £1000 was
presented to RBL Halsey House. President
Dr. Armour resigned after 20 years service to the
Branch. Fund raising in the 90's included
Jumble Sales, Easter and Christmas Fayres
2000's The Branch kicked off the new Millenium by
winning two trophies -The Sheppard and
Cleethorpes Cups which were presented at the RBL
County Conference. These were awarded in recognition of
the Branch's excellent recruiting record and high achievements over
the previous year. Branch Members visited
Halsey House and presented the Home with a £1170
cheque for equipment. Entertainment evenings were held
in addition to the usual monthly meetings
with various speakers.
2004 Member Bridget Wilcox was elected to Lincolnshire
County RBL Committee and appointed County
Recruitment Officer. The Bishop of
Lincoln, the Rt. Rev. John Saxbee preacLed the sermon
on Remembrance Sunday. The 75th
Anniversary of the formation of the Branch was celebrated with an
evening of entertainment at the Conservative Club at which
a commemorative pennant for the Branch
Standard was presented.
2005 The Sheppard Trophy for 2004/2005 was once again
won by the Branch.
2008-2009 A staggering £7,798.09 was raised for the
Poppy Appeal. A 1940's themed D-Day Anniversary Celebration was
held at The Railway Hotel attended by 60 members with 3 D-Day
Veterans; Ron Saunders, Jack Riley and Eddie Cobbald also in
2010 A Presentation of Awards evening was held in
recognition of service to the Poppy Appeal. A Dedication Service
for the new Standard was held at St.
Peter's Church . John Egleton was elected
The Branch continues to meet on the second Tuesday, at
which Speakers are invited or a Social
Evening held. The annual Summer Fete, Harvest Supper,
Post Remembrance Sunday Parade Lunch and Christmas
Party remain popular
events. Welfare work continues as does
* The Web Manager would like to thank Ann for
allowing her work to be published on this