Veterans who had returned victorious from war looked to each other for solidarity and support. 

A centenary event will be held on 13 April 2024, including a parade, church service and function, all in the same centre where the Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenson branch was first created. 

To commemorate the occasion, Paul Coffey, a member of the branch, has delved into the archives to find a report from the 11 April 1924 edition of the Saltcoats & Ardrossan Herald reporting on the formation of the local group. 

An excerpt reads: A meeting, under the auspices of the recently formed branch of the British Legion was held in Castlecraigs, Ardrossan, on Thursday evening of last week. Captain James Robb presided, and there was an encouraging attendance of those interested in the movement. 

“The principal speaker was Mr Knott, chairman of the Girvan branch of the British Legion, and prior to the commencement of the business proper, Captain Robb asked Mr Knott to decorate CSgt Hughes, Ardrossan, with the first badge of the Legion. 

“CSgt Hughes joined up in 1855 and is consequently the oldest member of the newly-formed Ardrossan branch and the first to wear the badge in the district. Mr Knott said CSgt Hughes had worn the badge of three British sovereigns, and he was pleased to see him at their meeting and looking so well.” 

Later in the article, Mr Knott’s views on the purpose of Legion Scotland were discussed. “He believed that those who joined up with the Forces went out to do a great national service for their country. While he admitted that the man who stayed at home also rendered valuable service to the country, there was a vast difference in his conditions from those of the men who joined up. Mr Knott then instanced the success which had attended railwayman’s organisations because they had worked together. 

“If the Legion got together and said there was to be no more war, it would look as if someone else would have to do the fighting. That would do more good than all the frothy speeches at election times. 

“They, in the British Legion, were pacifists because they knew from personal experience of the utter futility of war.” 

For more information on the centenary event, please keep an eye on the branch’s social media.