The Wilton British Legion Band, as it was then titled, was founded in 1929 and originally formed as a Military Band featuring woodwind instruments.
Their very first engagement involved playing for an hour on the lawns of Knoyle House at East Knoyle, for the British Legion. The minutes written for this engagement note that “the band had a pleasant ride down in a bus driven by bandsman C. Hardy”.
The Hardy family name features frequently throughout the Band’s history. Not only did Mr Hardy progress to become the Honorary Treasurer and subsequently the Honorary Chairman, but his son Robert acted as Bandmaster for a period of over forty years.
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Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion, sometimes referred to as simply “The Legion”, is the United Kingdom’s leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces, and their dependants.
The British Legion was founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-Service community as a merger of four organisations: the Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers and the Officers’ Association. It was granted a Royal Charter on 29 May 1971 to mark its fiftieth anniversary which gives the Legion the privilege of the prefix ‘Royal’.
Perhaps known best for the annual Poppy Appeal and Remembrance services, including the Festival of Remembrance, the Legion was born as a campaigning organisation and has been active behind the scenes in promoting the welfare and interests of the Services and ex-Service community since 1921.
The Legion fights nearly 36,000 ongoing War Disablement Pension cases for war veterans and make around 300,000 welfare and friendship visits every year.