poppy field

Market Harborough

Branch Formation

The following extracts were found by perusal of the Microfilm of the "Midland Mail" for 1923 up to the end of June.


16/3/23 Public Announcement advert.

BRITISH LEGION A Meeting of ex-Service Men will be held in the Small Assembly Room Market Harborough on Tuesday, March 20th, 1923 when an address will be given by Mr Councillor S A Barber (of Mansfield) Vice Chairman of the East Midlands Area Council and Member of the National Executive Council of the British Legion. Chair will be taken at 8pm by the Rev H J Eacott, Hon. Chaplin to H M Forces. The object of the meeting is to form a Branch of the Legion in Market Harborough.


On Friday, March 23, 1923, the paper carried this report

BRITISH LEGION Branch formed at Market Harborough

On Tuesday evening a meeting was held in the Assembly Rooms at Market Harborough for the purpose of endeavouring to form a branch of the British Legion.

Listen to a re-enactment

The Rev. H J T Eascott presided. He said he had been looking through some of the pamphlets issued by Legion and the facts therein simply left one aghast. He wished there had been a larger attendance but was glad to welcome those who were present because if they were bound together in the Legion they could do something to alleviate the misery and distress that was illustrated in those tragic lists.

Councillor Barber of Mansfield said the Legion had been formed by the amalgamation of four chief organisations - the Officers Association, the Comrades of the Great War, the National Federation and the National Association. The Legion was democratic, non-party politically and non-sectarian. It was intended to look after ex-service men in every place. The speaker refered to the efforts of the Legion for the young man who was deprived of his trade training by reason of his having gone to the war; the successful establishment of the shipbreaking yards as a means of alleviating disress and unemployment; the systems of loans to enable men to start small businesses, which, whilst having had a percentage of failures, had been generally successful. The influence of the Legion in influencing the retention of the Ministry of Pensions was also alluded to and the Legion's work in connection with pensions also. They were, said the speaker, far from satisfied with the administration of war pensions in this country today, but nothing could ever be done unless they made themselves into a powerful body. That was one reason why Market Harborough and other bodies outside should join up. The administration expenses of the Legion were very low. In conclusion, the speaker said they found amongst members of the Legion that spirit of comradeship amongst officers and men that existed in the war.

Councillor Petrie of Derby also advocated the claims of the Legion and gave instances of its influence in local public work - War Pensions Committees, local Councils and Boards of Guardians ,etc. - where the interests of ex-service men were involved. Many things could be done for ex-service men by a powerful organisation which they could never hope to achieve as individuals.

In reply to Captain Jeffrey Clark, Mr Barber said the whole of the funds of the organisations he had named were amalgamated in the British Legion.

Captain Clark said he had every sympathy with the British Legion and thought it was an excellent organisation. He proposed that they formally establish a branch of the Legion for Market Harborough.

Ex- Sergeant Major Pierce seconded and the resolution was carried unanimously.

The first officers of the Branch were elected as follows:-

Chairman, the Rev H J T Eascott, C.F., Secretary, Mr Wright, Treasurer, Mr J Goldsbrough; Committee, Major R Tombnson, Captain Knighton, Captain Steadman, Messrs Edgehill, G Freeman, Warner and Heggs.

Mr Barber said the minimum subscription to the Legion was 2s.6d; eighteen pence of this was remitted to Headquarters and of that eighteen pence, sixpence was remitted back to regional headquarters.

Commenting on Mr Wright's acceptance of the office of Secretary, Captain Knighton said Mr Wright had taken a great interest and done a great lot of work on behalf of ex-service men and they were very pleased to see him take this position.

Mr Wright said he had been disappointed with the Comrades Association, the interest in which fell away altogether. He hoped it would not do so with this Legion, and he appealed to everybody that if they were going to take it up they should do so whole-heartedly and make it a success.

The meeting ended with votes of thanks to the speakers and the Chairman.

Exactly the same report was carried by the "Market Harborough Advertiser" dated Tuesday, 27th March, 1923. The Library  has copies  on microfilm of both newspapers mentioned, the predecessors of the present day Harborough Mail 

A month later the paper carried this

20/4/23 Public Announcement advert.

A  Meeting of ex-Service Men will be held in the Small Assembly Room, Market Harborough on Monday April, 23rd at 7.30pm. to Enrol Members of the Local Branch of the British Legion.

And a week later

27/4/23 Report in the Market Harborough & District news column

BRITISH LEGION - A meeting in connection with the Market Harborough Branch of the British Legion was held in the Assembly Rooms on Monday evening, the Rev H J T Eacott C. F. presiding. A number of new members were enrolled and several more expressed their intention of transferring from other Branches. The branch already has several cases in hand in which it is endeavouring to extend help in various ways to local ex-service men. Mr Wright, Coventry Road, is the Secretary and will be very pleased to give any particulars.


Research by Tom Ashmore, 18/12/96