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“It was a privilege and honour to meet a true legend”

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21 OCT

“It was a privilege and honour to meet a true legend”

By timesecholife on in All News, Featured News

The Royal British Legion is celebrating 100 years of providing support to the armed forces community this year. And a father and son duo from the Moorlands were amongst those who were invited to take part in the national celebrations last week, which were held at Westminster Abbey in London.

The Royal British Legion is celebrating 100 years of providing support to the armed forces community this year.

And a father and son duo from the Moorlands were amongst those who were invited to take part in the national celebrations last week, which were held at Westminster Abbey in London.

Father and son, both called Levison Wood, of Forsbrook, are Lev Jnr who is a well known author and explorer, and Lev Snr who is a community stalwart in his village and surrounding areas.

Their family’s own armed forces service spans five generations commencing in 1893, and included service during the Boer War, two World wars, The Cold War and recently both actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here Lev Snr has kindly provided the Times & Echo with a report of the history of the Royal British Legion as well as his experiences from his day in the capital last week:

There were loud cheers and much flag waving as the young men from our local area marched off to the Western Front during World War One but as the numerous wounded and disabled returned home they were only greeted with tears and muted silence following the battles fought on the killing fields of the Somme and at Ypres.

With almost two million men left scarred by the hell they had experienced, there was little support for their continued physical and tortured minds which so many endured for the rest of their lives.

Sadly the scant pension awarded by the Government for their valued bravery hardly replaced the damage which had been done to their broken bodies and mental wellbeing.

However in May 1921 the British Legion was formed to provide both comfort and compassion for those suffering as a consequence of their experiences during the war and so to some extent that void of silence was partially broken.

With the rest of the world moving on towards yet another calamitous disaster less than 20 years later, the work of the Legion placed its motto of ‘Service Not Self’ at the forefront. Accompanied by the familiar and universally recognised symbol of the ‘Red Poppy,’ this illustrious body has continued to provide a service which has reined unbroken for the past 100 years.

By its determination to continue the work into the 21st century, Service men and women of any creed or colour can find a home with the RBL and that their service will never be forgotten.

With a Royal Charter being given consent in 1925 and thereafter being designate The Royal British Legion, the organisation held its centenary celebrations recently at Westminster Abbey with their HRH’s Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne in attendance.

With the season of Remembrance just a week or two away, we were honoured to be invited to go along.

The service at the Abbey was an emotional tribute to the continuing work of the RBL made even more so by standing in the queue with Colour Sargeant Johnson Beharry who is only one of two living Victoria Cross holders.

It was a true privilege and honour to meet him and unlike the oft banded and mis used word ‘legend’ to describe footballers and popstars, he truly measures up to and personifies duty beyond the norm that is expected of a British Soldier.

A moment I will never, ever forget…a living hero who embodies that RBL motto of ‘Service not self.”

Are you hosting a special event for the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion? What’s your community doing to commemorate this year’s Remembrance day? Email our reporter Isaac at isaac@timesandecho.co.uk.

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