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The Royal British Legion (RBL), sometimes referred to as the The British Legion or The Legion, is a British charity providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and 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’.
Earl Haig, British commander at the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele was one of the founders of the Legion and the President until his death.
The Legion holds a fund-raising drive each year in the weeks before Remembrance Sunday, during which artificial Remembrance poppy red poppies, meant to be worn on clothing, are offered to the public in return for a donation to the Legion
The Legion organises ‘The Festival of Remembrance’ in Royal Albert Hall, London on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday. Originally featuring composer John Foulds’s World Requiem it now includes military displays by current members of the armed forces, choral works, and prayers.
It culminates with Servicemen and Women, with representatives from youth uniformed organizations and uniformed public security services of the City of London, parading down the aisles and onto the floor of the hall. There is a release of poppy petals from the roof of the hall.