With around four million soldiers returning to civilian life at the end of the First World War, the need to create some kind of organisation to support this massive influx was compelling – so the British Legion was born.

 1921 – The beginning

 The story starts at a conference in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 18 June 1921, where Field Marshal Earl Haig brought together more than 100 existing veteran support organisations. Originally naming this new collective the British Legion, the ‘(Scotland)’ was added later when a separate organisation of the same name was formed south of the border.

 A disablement pensions advice service was a unique feature from the start. By 1939, 10,000 cases had been represented at pensions appeal tribunals.

 1924 – Ladies first

 The Women’s Section, for wives, widows and children of men who served, was officially recognised.

 1926 – Poppy Factory opens

 The Lady Haig Poppy Factory opened at Whitefoord House on the Canongate in Edinburgh on 8 March. In its first year 1.8 million poppies were produced. Prior to the pandemic, the factory (now located on Logie Green Road in Edinburgh) produced around five million poppies a year.

 1931 – A royal visit

 On 26 June 1931 Edward, Prince of Wales addressed members of the British Legion (Scotland) at the annual conference in Inverness. The following year’s conference also took place in the Highland capital. However, in 1933 the conference was held in Rothesay.

 1940 – Active Service year

 With war raging in Europe, many members of the British Legion (Scotland) were back in uniform and serving overseas – including the Legion’s chairman. This year would come to be known as the organisation’s ‘Active Service’ year. The reduction in available members put pressure on those running the local branches. They had to continue the important work of supporting ex-servicemen and women, including assisting 5,000 families in obtaining allowance grants from the government.

 1946 – Join our club

 As many Legion branches did not have premises in which their members could meet, a philanthropist came to the rescue with funding to buy suitable properties. This created the first Legion clubs, with many other branches raising funds and following suit over the coming years.

 1952 – A royal patron

 Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess, became the Legion’s Royal Patron. The following year, The Duke of Edinburgh became a member of the organisation.

 1963 – Welfare and support

 The Legion established a welfare service to provide advice and support to veterans with a range of problems resulting from military service, such as unemployment, housing issues, bereavement and benefits, among others.

 1974 – Golden girls

 On 18 May 1974, the Legion’s Grand President, HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother attended the Women’s Section Jubilee Conference in Inverness, marking the section’s 50th anniversary.

 “Our aims are the same – to do all we can for ex-service men and women who need help,” said Admiral Sir Nigel Henderson, the national president of The Royal British Legion Scotland. “You have had a wonderful 50 years, and with your care and guidance, you have played a large part in what has been done.”

 1983 – Poppy power

 As reported on the front cover of the April 1984 edition of Legion magazine Claymore, the Scottish Poppy Appeal exceeded £500,000 for the first time. Ten years later, the appeal topped £1m. The contribution of Legion branches is hugely significant every year, with many branch members volunteering as collectors and area organisers.

 2010 – Riders branch forms

 On 30 November (St Andrew’s Day), 60 members of the Legion came together in Glenrothes to form the Riders branch – a specialist branch for those with a love of motorcycles. Today this branch has around 750 members.

 2014 – Legion Scotland Today launches

 In 2014, Legion Scotland members receives their first issue of a new magazine, Legion Scotland Today, with Paralympic powerlifter Micky Yule on the cover. It won Front Cover of the Year at the PPA Awards for independent publishers.

 2017 – Veterans Community Support Service launched

 Legion Scotland welcomed five veterans to be the first Veterans Community Support Coordinators, helping to connect volunteers with people in need of a helping hand or a listening ear. The service is now stretched out across the country and has taken great strides during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to support isolated and vulnerable veterans, delivering food to families in need, and much more.

 2021 – A virtual anniversary

 We are celebrating one hundred years since the formation of Legion Scotland – though not in the way we expected. Virtual events have been held to mark various military anniversaries and we are still working on plans for the rest of the year, as uncertainty over pandemic restrictions and safety remains. Thankfully, 2020 saw us connect with Legion Scotland members and the broader veterans community online, with thousands watching our virtual Remembrance service on Facebook.

 Here’s to many more years ahead!