SCLT Public Presentation Team Visit – Axbridge Royal British Legion
Tuesday 7th May 2019 has seen SCLT volunteer Ash Jones accepting an invitation to join the regular group meeting of the Axbridge Royal British Legion at their monthly gathering at The Lamb PH at the centre of the historic town of Axbridge, as a guest speaker on the subject of Field Marshal William Slim.
The British Legion was founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-service community as a merger of three organisations: the Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers and the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers, and incorporated the fundraising department of the Officers' Association.
A Royal Charter was granted in 1925, accompanied by invaluable patronage from royalty circles. During the Second World War, it was active in civil defence, providing officers to the Home Guard. Its membership grew rapidly from veterans of the Second World War, reaching 3 million in 1950. It declined to a half million elderly survivors by 2003.
Field Marshal The 1st Earl Haig (1861-1928), British commander at the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele, was one of the founders of the Legion. Lord Haig served as the president of The Royal British Legion until his death.
Uncle Bill: Britain's Forgotten Hero - This presentation explores the life of Bristol-born soldier, Field Marshal, Viscount William 'Bill' Slim. Known affectionately as 'Uncle Bill' by his soldiers. Slim commanded the 14th 'Forgotten' Army in the bitterly fought Burma Campaign of WW2, recovering from the 1000-mile retreat from Burma to India, only to return 2-years later to defeat the Japanese in the steaming jungles of South East Asia. In 2011, a survey conducted by the National Army Museum saw Slim voted as Britain's greatest general. Now largely forgotten by the British public, this presentation reminds us of his humble beginnings, his early military career and his later life as Governor General of Australia, as well as the high-points of his Second World War successes.
At the conclusion of his visit, Ash commented, “My visit to Axbridge Royal British Legion has been very enjoyable and the audience seemed to really enjoy with the life story of William Slim, who was a truly remarkable man. The Royal British Legion is a really great organisation, which encourages peer interaction and ongoing, comradeship. I have implored the group to keep an eye out for their friends, neighbours and relatives, who may be less fortunate and at risk of financial harm from the heartless criminal fraternity, who would use the fragilities of later life to help them perpetuate their abhorrent crimes”
Every member of the audience received a personal copy of the Senior Siren magazine – the award-winning crime prevention and lifestyle magazine of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team.