Tarporley RBL branch to close?

As a nation, in July we commemorated the Battle of the Somme, writes Ernest Boynes.

The official number of British dead, missing or wounded during that period is 419, 654. Tarporley shared in these losses and their names are read out in St. Helen’s every Remembrance Sunday

This was thought to be the War to end all Wars but it wasn’t. Our young men and women have been in action many times since. The Second World War, Korea, the Falklands, Bosnia, Borneo, Iraq, Afghanistan. Even now our troops are engaged in Syria against terrorists who want to change the way we live.

The need to care for those returned and returning veterans who find themselves in need is a debt of honour we must recognise.

After WW1 such was the public’s distress at the circumstances of those returning from the front that a group of concerned people formed the British Legion to help and assist these casualties of War. Branches of the British Legion were established in towns and villages all over the country where ex-servicemen, now known as veterans, and the local residents worked together to alleviate the distress of those in need.

Sometime in the 1920s the villagers of Tarporley founded the Tarporley Branch of the British Legion in order collectively to provide help for those families and the wounded who were suffering as a result of the loss of a breadwinner or disability. This collective effort continued after the Second world war.

Gradually as a result of the passage of time and the change in the nature of the village from a small close-knit community, where everyone knew everyone else, to much looser relationships, the importance of the British Legion locally slowly declined.

The number of active members fell and age wearied those who were left until now the Branch is reduced to a committee of five elderly veterans in poor health and with no active members.

According to records held at the RBL Headquarters there are some thirty local Members who pay their subscription by direct debit but who take no part in Branch matters. These members are urgently requested to contact the Branch Secretary Ernie Bitcher on 01829 732704 and offer to assist in keeping the Branch a functioning part of the Charity. The Branch also pleads with other members of the community to join the RBL and assist with fund raising.

Without the help of the community the Tarporley Branch will close, which could signal the end of the Remembrance Parade and the presenting of the Standards at the Remembrance Sunday Service, should that Service continue.

So please, remember those who have given their lives, their families who may be in distress, those with life changing wounds who need care now and, much more significantly, when they get old.