Legion 101 Long Branch
The Great War (the war to end all wars) created the problem
of returning Veterans in magnified numbers. More than 600,000
served in World War 1, over 60,000 were killed in action;
between 117,000 and 137,000 received medical discharges.
Canada and the Canadian Government had never before faced the
problem of the mass return of men from war. There was no
experience of war pensions and their administration. There was
no united voice, no united effort, and no united representation.
Veterans interests were represented by Regimental
Associations in scattered, splinter groups. Their effectiveness
was limited due to the vastness of Canada and the isolation of
each group - each conceiving that their problems were peculiar
to themselves and could best be handled and resolved by
themselves. New Veterans groups sprang up almost every time a
new problem arose.
The Great War Veterans Association ("GWVA") was the largest and
the most influential of the many Veterans groups. Formed in
1917, it comprised of more than 700 branches by 1925. In 1921
they started pressuring for the unification of all the
various Veterans groups as being the best way to represent the
many Veterans and their dependants. In 1924,
"The Veterans", the national magazine of the GWVA stated,
"until the last Veteran goes to his final resting place - there
will be problems arising from War service. But the major work of
the GWVA in the future ,will_ be nation building". Prophetic
The British Empire Service League ("BESL") was formed in
November 1921. Its main inspiration was Field Marshall Earl
Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies (including the
Canadian Corps). He became the first Grand President of the BESL.
- In 1923, he became interested in assisting: the unification of
the multiple Veterans organizations in Canada. The GWVA acted as
the Canadian voice of the BESL. In June 1925, the GWVA held its
Dominion Convention in Ottawa, coinciding with the visit of Earl
Haig. Haig addressed the convention, appealing to all Veterans
groups in Canada to follow the example of the BESL, and
amalgamate for more effectiveness
A Unity Conference was held in Winnipeg on November 25, 1925.
From this conference emerged "The Canadian Legion of the BESL",
commonly referred to as "The Canadian Legion". The word "Royal"
was not added to the name until 1960, signifying recognition of
The Legion is organized in 10 provinces in Canada, 5 US
States, and branches are now being organized overseas, where
Canadian troops are stationed on a more-or-less permanent basis
- e.g., Branch #002 in Lahr, West Germany.
There is no uniformity in the manner in which Commands are
divided. Some have Districts and Zones, other have Districts and
no Zones, while others have Zones and no Districts. But all have
at least one level of authority between the Branch and
Provincial Command. Dominion Command, located in Ottawa, is the
highest level of authority. Branch 101 is one of 5 Branches
within Zone D l, which is one of 5 Zones within District D.
There are 9 Districts in the Province of Ontario.
Branches are numbered in the order in which they received
their Charter, within their respective Provinces. Our Branch is
#101 in the Province of Ontario - our Charter being granted on
June 10, 1927. Our Branch is named LONG BRANCH, after the
village, which later gave its name to the ship, HMCS Long
As members of Branch 101, we are justifiably proud of our
Branch and its history.