9 Decades of Caring and Campaigning
The Royal British Legion in Leicestershire and Rutland, 1921-2011
An exciting project recording and celebrating the contribution made by the Royal British Legion in Leicestershire and Rutland over 90 years was carried out in 2011.
It traced surviving documents, photographs, films and memorabilia at local branch/club level and in private hands, and collected the memories of those who have belonged to the Legion during its long history.
What we found:
Documents about the Legion
Minute books, letters, programmes, newspaper cuttings, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Over 20 branches contacted us and either deposited their documents in the Record Office or gave us copies on disk. We also took in the documents of 15 branches long closed, which had been stored at Legion HQ in Leicester.
All of these documents are stored safely at the Record Office in Wigston Magna, where they can be viewed by anyone interested in the history of the Legion.
We are still interested in finding more documents, so:
- Do you have any official records of the branch/club, such as minute books, registers, correspondence, reports, programmes?
- Do you have any other documents relating to your own or others’ membership of the Royal British Legion
- Do you have any photographs of officers and members of the branch/club?
- Do you have any photographs of events in which your branch/club took part, either locally or nationally, including scrapbooks?
Photographs about the Legion
Many people gave us photographs of people and places associated with the Legion. We rely on you to make sure that the people and places are identified and approximate dates supplied. A photo without this basic information will be of little use to researchers in the future.
We had this photo in our own collection but knew nothing about it until we started our project. Click on the link here to find out what we discovered! Dug-Out Night
We are also very keen to record information about buildings used by the Legion and about dedication ceremonies. Please send us photos of buildings used now as well as in the past to add to our image collection.
The start of building work on Wigston’s Room of Remembrance, 1947
Memorabilia about the Legion
One disappointment to us was the limited amount of memorabilia we were able to find relating to the Legion. We were given badges, old and new, and some items from a Standard Bearers uniform. We were given a set of prize trophies and cups won by mainly sporting teams drawn from Branches now closed. All these items we have passed to our colleagues in the Leicestershire Museums' Service. But this project has not been "object rich".
The memories of people
We interviewed 25 people who had or continue to play an important role in the Legion. These interviews have been summarised to help researchers use the information, and the interviews are stored on disks which can be accessed and heard at the Record Office. Topics covered in the interviews include:
- Service record and experiences
- Family links to armed forces
History of links with Royal British Legion
- Date of joining
- Branches/clubs associated with
- Offices held in Legion
Any memorabilia, photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, etc relating to membership of the Legion?
- Stories associated with these items
- Would you be willing to lend us the items for copying?
Festival of Remembrance, major Events locally and nationally
- Personal involvement
- Memories associated with
Clubs & social life
- Memories of buildings
- Local entertainment/events
Welfare & casework
Looking back: what the Legion has meant to you
Looking forward: what you hope for the Legion in the future
We recruited 8 volunteers during the course of the project. They have helped us to write up histories of local branches drawn from the documents and to research places, events and people. The fruits of their work appear on our webpages. Their help has been a vital part of this project.
Events and exhibition work
We held a series of events in Leicestershire libraries during March and April 2011 to raise awareness of the project, to share information and to show progress. Local RBL Branches helped us at some of these events by brining their own displays and documents for us to see.
We created a travelling exhibition, which can be booked and used by any group, free of charge! Follow this link to find out more: RBL Exhibition
Although the project has ended, officially, we would be happy to hear from anyone who has more information or documents to contribute. Please contact: The Record Office, Long Street, Wigston Magna, Leicestershire LE18 2AH. Tel: (0116) 257 1080 or email: email@example.com.
9 Decades of Caring and Campaigning is part of Leicestershire County Council’s ongoing programme of support for the Armed Forces.
Page Last Updated: 10 February 2012