• Cirieco Design - Graphic Design and Marketing Services
  • Advertise on www.knowitall.ch
  • Association Alzheimer

Jonathan Elzingre, RBL Swiss Branch Chairman (right) with James Pearsall, RBL Swiss Branch Committee Member (left) at the recent Expat-Expo fair in Geneva.

During the recent updating for the 10th Edition of Know-it-all passport®, we had a series of emails with the the Swiss Branch of the Royal British Legion. As we corresponded it became apparent that there are many potential areas of interest for our readers. Read on to find out more!

What is the Royal British Legion ?

The Royal British Legion, was founded in 1921 on the initiative of Field Marshal Earl Haig, following the First World War, which left thousands injured and scarred by their experiences. For those who returned home leaving millions dead, particularly on the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium, the world would never be the same. Haig’s aim was to provide dignity and self-respect through employment, particularly for the disabled.

There have been many casualties in conflicts since the two World Wars. The Legion is today the United Kingdom’s leading charity safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the Armed Forces and their dependants. The Legion currently spends more than £73 million pounds providing welfare services and relieving distress. Support is given at every level – from advice about benefits to grants for household appliances, as well as the provision of nursing homes.

The Legion is largely funded by its annual Poppy Appeal which raised £35 million in 2010. The rest comes from legacies, special events, corporate donations, sponsorship, trading and direct mail.

RBL Standard Bearer500

The Royal British Legion Swiss Branch

The Swiss Branch of the Royal British Legion was created in 1947 by British and Commonwealth ex- Servicemen and women who came to live and work in Switzerland after the Second World War. The Branch currently has over 140 members who support the Legion’s objectives in their area of action. To that end and to ensure their commitment to both the memory of the fallen and the future of the living, their main missions are to:

  • Provide welfare care support service to former service personnel and their dependents in Switzerland and to members of the Crown armed forces everywhere.
  • Represent the charity at commemorative and fundraising events in Switzerland and nearby France.
  • Organise and ensure the financial success of the annual Poppy Appeal in Switzerland.
  • Promote comradeship by organizing social and fundraising activities for the enjoyment and benefit of members.

Typical events where you can expect to see the Royal British Legion Swiss Branch locally include:

  • ANZAC day in Vevey
  • VE Day in Lausanne
  • The French commemoration of the liberation of the Haute-Savoie in Chaumont
  • Ceremony of Mon-Repos in Geneva
  • Remembrance Day in Vevey
  • Paying respect at the war graves in the Jura

There are also joint social activities with other British associations such as the Royal Air Forces Association Swiss Branch and the British Residents’ Association of Switzerland. The 90th Birthday celebration for Queen Elizabeth II, held at the Geneva English School on 28 May 2016 is just one example of this kind of joint collaboration.

legion poppy

Much effort is devoted to organizing the annual Poppy Appeal with a team of Regional Organizers throughout Switzerland. The Swiss Branch is one of the overseas branches which has consistently collected the most money for the Appeal. On average, over Fr. 40,000.- is collected annually, most of which is sent to assist those in need in the United Kingdom, as well as beneficiaries in Switzerland.

Who can be a member of the Royal British Legion?

The Legion welcomes men and women of all ages as members. Anyone can join whether or not they have a connection with the Armed Forces. All they ask is that you are in sympathy with the aims and ideals of the Legion. Their motto is “Service Not Self” There are currently 370,000 members in the United Kingdom and a further 11,000 overseas.

What is the membership cost?

There is a one-off entrance fee of Fr. 10.- and an annual subscription of Fr. 50.-. If requested, a membership badge can be provided for Fr. 10.-. The bulk of the subscription is sent to the UK to maintain the Royal British Legion’s administrative structure but in return, members receive an attractive magazine at regular intervals.

Support network

In addition to the 140 members, the Swiss Branch draws on the support of a network of dedicated volunteers working in companies, churches and sport clubs, who support their cause throughout Switzerland. Typically their help is needed to distribute poppies, and to help organize and participate in events.

If you would like to become part of this network, or become a member of the Swiss Branch, you are invited to contact the RBL Swiss Branch Chairman, Jonathan Elzingre, via their website or the following address : info [at] britishlegionswitzerland [dot] ch.  Now is a great time to get involved with the organization as the Poppy Appeal starts to gain momentum and volunteers are in high demand!

The Royal British Legion Swiss Branch
info [at] britishlegionswitzerland [dot] ch