A PLAQUE was unveiled at the town’s War Memorial Gardens to commemorate the centenary of the formation of the Llandudno branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL).
The plaque, which was sponsored by Chris Lord-Brown and Jonathen Harty, of Lord-Brown & Harty funeral directors, was uncovered by the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Featherstonehaugh, and the mayor of Llandudno, Cllr Harry Saville.
Branch officers and members of the RBL were able to attend.
Peter Kingston, Llandudno branch chairman RBL, said: “The unveiling of the plaque is one of a number of events that we are holding in our centenary year, despite Covid restrictions.
“The branch standard has been re-dedicated with the addition of a centenary pennant.
“In conjunction with Llandudno Town Council and Conwy County Borough Council, the ‘Alice’ clock in Prince Edward Square was laid out in flowers with the Royal British Legion logo and we also commissioned a special centenary badge with all proceeds donated to the Poppy Appeal.
“While it is disappointing that we have had to postpone events such as the centenary dinner and the orchestral concert because of Covid, we hope for better times next year and will be able to put them on then.”
After the creation of the British Legion in May 1921 it was decided by members of the Llandudno branch of the ‘Comrades of the Great War Association’ to disband in order to form the Llandudno British Legion branch on December 20 1921. While most of the members were ex-servicemen of the First World War, any former servicemen could join and one of the earliest members in Llandudno was RB Stockwell who was 88 years of age and had joined the Gloucester Rifles in 1860. Days after forming, the branch organised their first fundraising activity on Christmas Eve 1921, when they organised a ‘mile of pennies’ to assist unemployed ex-serviceman. £55 was raised.
The very first poppy day held in Llandudno was held a month earlier, November 11 1921.
Through the 1920s, the branch continued to raise funds and helping ex-servicemen like Private Williams of Llandudno who was blinded at the Battle of Mametz Woods. His pension had been stopped on the grounds that he could not recall the name of the hospital to which he evacuated when he was wounded. The legion took up his case and his pension was re-instated.
In other cases, the Llandudno branch allocated money for veterans to pay rent, buy food and in one case by a pony so that he could start a business.
The heyday of the Llandudno Royal British Legion came in the 1960s and 1970s when membership rocketed and the club opened in Vaughan Street in 1969. Sadly, only a fortnight after moving in to the premises a fire destroyed the club but it was re-built.
There was a thriving social scene with a pigeon section, snooker, darts and football teams and an award-winning choir. A women’s section also started at this time. By the 2000s, with changing trends and attitudes and fewer military ex-service personnel, membership fell away.
Today, as members celebrate their 100th anniversary, the branch continues to honour the fallen, organise the annual Poppy Appeal and support veterans and their families through the welfare section.