Special service held to mark the 80th anniversary of Wychbold Royal British Legion - The Droitwich Standard

Special service held to mark the 80th anniversary of Wychbold Royal British Legion

Droitwich Editorial 22nd Mar, 2024 Updated: 22nd Mar, 2024   0

A SPECIAL service was held to mark the 80th anniversary of Wychbold Royal British Legion.

The service led by Rev Paula Honniball took place at Wychbold Village Church.

Around 50 to 60 people turned out for the special occasion.

Rev Honniball read out a history of the Royal British Legion and the Wychbold branch.

The organisation was formed on May 5, 1921, when four ex-servicemen organisations amalgamated to help service personnel and their families – many who had lost one or more of the breadwinners.

The history of Wychbold Royal British Legion

The Wychbold branch was formed, officially, on 19 January, 1944.

The first meetings,up to 1950 were held at The Croft where the Home Guard or LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) were billeted. The area was famous for an enemy aircraft crash landing in the fields beyond with the crew having bailed out over Liverpool.

The house later belonged to Mjr Michael Webb, and his wife Diane, who after Harry Wilton negotiated to convert the old Chapel into the headquarters for the RBL, found the £800 needed to buy it.

The first committee meeting consisted of President, Major Webb, the Chairman, H Wilton, the Vice Chairman, J Tolley, Treasurer J Pointer and Secretary E Giles.

Committee members, included Harrison, Stanley, Kings, Snow, Bunn, Deakin, Jones, Coles, Mrs Snow and Harrison.

Most of the village were Legion members, including the headmaster and other professional people.

It was the central point of the village and membership was an important contribution to the Legion.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the club blossomed and included a thriving women’s section and thoughts turned to a new premises.

An agreement was reached with Wm Weaver to build a new building on land the British Legion had purchased from Droitwich Council on a 59-year leasehold.The funds came from cash in the bank and a ten-year mortgage from Ansells brewery.

On May 2, 1970, Wychbold British Legion moved into a new premises and in 1972 Royal was added to the name.

With a new club came a new committee. Among them were Alex Sturgeon, a proud hard-working Scot, Brian Housman, who performed most positions and read out the names of the fallen on Remembrance Day.

Ronnie Maycroft had the important job of membership secretary and ran the Darby and Joan for ex service personnel and their partners.

Later on, his son became chairman and, just like his father, was a massive help to the Legion.

Maurice Savage was welfare officer whose duties included visiting service personnel needing help.

His father Joe won the Military Medal, in the First World War and two bars.

The whole village and family were, rightfully proud.

Maurice served in the Royal Navy and John Banks – a branch milti-tasker – was in the RAF. .He and ‘Rocket’ Ron Lucas organised the Poppy Appeal dances.

Vic Brown one of the ‘Forgotten Army’ down in Burma whilst serving with the Warwickshire regiment founded a football team that ran under the Royal British Legion name – as did all the sports teams, and carried on for 55 years.

Later on, Eric Weatherby, John Miles and Dave Hosford – a very proud marine – were among the members. The latter is now chairman at Stoke and Hanbury.

Sharon Pugh, who became the RBL’s Standard Bearer, ‘died too young and she is sadly missed’.

There was also Tommy Turk who became well-known as the club’s doorman.

Going from strength-to-strength

Around 2000, like all branches, the Wychbold RBL Club struggled and, eventually, closed but the resilient branch managed to survive and is now going from strength-to-strength.

There is now a full committee and Wychbold RBL is bucking the trend with membership increasing, thanks to hard work by the present members.

Wychbold RBL has a good relationship with the school and an annual Remembrance Service is held there beneath a plaque dedicated to the fallen provided by the club.

New Standard Bearer Mike Hardisty laid 30 wreaths last year and the social club enables the RBL to hold its meetings there, store items there and hold social events free of charge.

As Wychbold RBL looks to its future, it will be forever remembering the past and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


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