The following was prepared in 2005 by Ernest Burgess, Chairman of the Sedlescombe Branch of the Royal British Legion:
It is not known the number of Sedlescombe men who answered the call from Lord Kitchener when he said on the outbreak of the First World War, "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU". But what is known, is that thirty four young men paid the final sacrifice for their King and Country, which is a high loss to such a small village bearing in mind that the total population taken at the 1911 Census was only 568.
After WWI ended there was a period of three years before the British Legion was formed to support the ex-Service community. Now the membership stands in the region of 550,000 nationwide and a figure of 13,000 members overseas. But the Sedlescombe branch was not formed until the 17th November 1930 and as the year of 2005 is the 75thanniversary, I, as chairman would like to mention some details of its formation and it's history.
The inaugural meeting was held in Gregory's Tea Room which stood where the entrance to Gregory Walk is now. 54 members attended. The meeting was chaired by Captain Woodhams of Battle Branch. A committee was formed from those present and they were as follows:
PRESIDENT. MR. A. L. RYDON
CHAIRMAN. COMMANDER H. CHESHIRE
SECRETARY. MR. R. H. SELLENS
TREASURER. MR. A. J. BAKER
DEC. 29/1930. At a meeting in December of that year a vote was taken from the members attending as to whether a branch club should be established -the voting was -FOR 25 AGAINST 10.
FEB 26/193 Proposed and Seconded that Rev. W. H. Noble be appointed "Chaplain" of the branch. Accepted.
AUG. 27/1931. The first mention is made sofa Branch Standard. This was held in abeyance until a Branch Headquarters was established.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 1931. Forty members of the Sedlescombe Branch of the British Legion marched to the Parish Church under their president Captain A. L. Rydon.
SEPT. 22/1932. Mr. Rydon having left the district offered his resignation and as a parting gift presented the Branch with its first Standard. The first Branch Standard Bearer was Mr. F. Skelton who held this post until May 1934 when Mr. E. Taylor replaced him.
NOV. 25/l936. It was agreed to purchase a pair of Gauntlets for the Standard Bearer.
1939/1 945. The Branch continued during the war years raising money for the troops comforts fund. Annual parties were given for children of the village and a small gift was provided for the elderly villagers.
MARCH 28.1945. Letters were sent to village residents serving in the forces informing them of the branch existence waiting to welcome them home.
MAY. 1945. Inauguration of the Women's Section. Twenty two members were enrolled.
JAN. 23/1946. Eleven names of the fallen in the]939/45 war were added to the Church Memorial Tablet.
SEPT. 25/1946. The formation of"Group 9" was established. It consisted of twelve local branches and the first meeting was held on the 19th November 1946 in Battle.
Dec. 17/1947. Resumption of Branch Annual Dinner was suggested and it was agreed to invite members of the Women's branch to join us. One representative from Battle, Hastings, Westfield, Bodiam, Brede and Mountfield would also be invited. The cost of the dinner would be eight pounds per person. The date suggested would be the 131h March 1948 and it would be held in the Coach and Horses Hotel, Sedlescombe. It is noted that the membership on this date is a total of twenty three
Oct. 29/1948. This is the first mention of the branch meeting taking place in the Village Hall. The Remembrance Service would take place on the 7th November at 1100 and the parade would leave the Coach and Horses at 10.30 led by Col. Swann. Wreaths were to be ordered for both Church and Chapel and should not be more than 30/-each.
July 27/1950. The first mention is made sofa Group 9 meeting to be held in Sedlescombe Village Hall
Apl 24/51 The Hon. Treasurer reported a balance of £44 was in the bank
May 15/51. The chairman Mr. Hodsoll welcomed Mr. I. Winchester as a new member. He went on to pay tribute to our Standard Bearer Mr. Ernest Taylor for his conscientious way he carried out his duties especially his visit to Hyde Park the previous Saturday and County Conference.
Oct. 28/52 After a discussion regarding a Branch Club, Mr. E. Waller was asked to do all he could to "Put it on it's feet" (sic).
Nov. 25/52 Hon. Sec. was asked to write to War Graves Commission offering to care for the grave of AlC Smith who is buried in Sedlescombe cemetery.
Jan. 27/53 A mention is made that the Club was in arrears of 26 weeks @ 51-per week but there is no mention as to when the Club was formed and where it was being held.
Apr. 28/53. Club arrears has now been paid to Mr. Wooster.
Sep. 15.53 Sixteen members attended. The usual Xmas parcels would be sent to those serving in Egypt and the Far East. The Coronation raffle raised £5.10.0 which would be sent to St. Dunstans Brighton. The branch had 57 paid up members.
Dr. Wright becomes a branch member.
124 children attended the Christmas party.
Oct. 18/57. At the monthly meeting members stood in silence in memory of Mr. N. Dawson M.M. He was awarded his M.M. for going over the top into no-mans land to recover injured comrades.
Sept. 21/60. Chairman proposed a fine of 6d for attending a meeting without a Legion badge on display. Two members paid up. The branch offered a Cup to Group 9, it would be called "The Sedlescombe Cup" and would be awarded to the branch with the highest attendance at Group 9 meetings at the end of each year excluding the A.G.M. (Battle were the first winners.)
Members attending the monthly meeting stood in silence in tribute to .Mr. Ernest Taylor who had recently died. Ernest had been Standard Bearer since 1934, a total 29 years. It was proposed and seconded that Mr. G. Taylor becomes the Branch Standard Bearer.
Oct. 21st/64. At the A.G.M Mr E. Waller offered to provide the Branch with a new Standard, the old Standard was beginning to show wear after 32 years. A vote of thanks was taken for Mr. Waller's generous offer. It was subsequently decided to hold the dedication service on the 9th May 1965.
Feb. 16th/66. At the Branch meeting in the Coach & Horses the Chairman welcomed Mr. R Binfield as a new member. (He subsequently became Branch Secretary and held that post for many years.)
Sedlescombe Branch of Royal British Legion