The British Legion in Sandon in the 1950’s

Staffordshire’s Senior Museums Officer, Chris Copp, shares more of Kathleen Dewberry’s collection of pictures – this time in keeping with the month, we carry a selection from the Sandon British Legion

This month, we have a second set of photographs of Sandon from Mrs Kathleen Dewberry’s collection, this time with a strong British Legion theme, appropriately enough as Remembrance Sunday comes round again. The British Legion was founded on 10 June 1921 to provide a voice for the ex-Service community in the aftermath of the First World War.

Maypole dancing in the grounds of Sandon Hall, 1953.  Lady Harrowby is second from left in the foreground.
Maypole dancing in the grounds of Sandon Hall, 1953. Lady Harrowby is second from left in the foreground.

It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and for the organisation of Remembrance Services, but it also campaigns for those who have served or are still serving in the British Armed Forces, providing financial, social and emotional support.  It received a Royal Charter on its 50th anniversary in 1971 and has since been known as the Royal British Legion.  These photographs show some of Sandon British Legion’s fundraising activities and the important role they played in village life.

Sandon and Burston Parish councillors takng part in a presentation in the village hall, 1950s.  From left to right: John Siddall, Sam Berrisford, Rev Greenup, Ken Clowes, Roger Siddall, Richard Dewberry.
Sandon and Burston Parish councillors takng part in a presentation in the village hall, 1950s. From left to right: John Siddall, Sam Berrisford, Rev Greenup, Ken Clowes, Roger Siddall, Richard Dewberry.

Wilmot Martin, who appears in a couple of these images, was a Hixon farmer who became well known for his charity activities based around his impersonation of Scottish music-hall star, Sir Harry Lauder.  Wilmot Martin saw Lauder perform on Blackpool Pier, bought himself a kilt and Tam o’ Shanter, and set about perfecting his act.  Between the wars, his charity concerts raised thousands of pounds for local good causes.

Sandon & District British Legion Dinner, about 1958-1960  Photograph taken in the function room upstairs in the Dog and Doublet Inn, Sandon.  In the back row are Richard Dewberry (far left) and Wilmot Martin 'Staffordshire's Harry Lauder' (3rd from left).  Far left, front row is Rev. Geoff Greenup, Vicar of Sandon.
Sandon & District British Legion Dinner, about 1958-1960 Photograph taken in the function room upstairs in the Dog and Doublet Inn, Sandon. In the back row are Richard Dewberry (far left) and Wilmot Martin ‘Staffordshire’s Harry Lauder’ (3rd from left). Far left, front row is Rev. Geoff Greenup, Vicar of Sandon.

 

Committee members of the Sandon and District Royal British Legion Fete, about 1957  The fete was held on the cricket field and  the Dog and Doublet Inn can be seen in the background.  The fete would have been opened by Lord and Lady Harrowby.  In the back row are Sam Berrisford (far left) and Richard Dewberry (4th from left).  Holding the flowers in the front row is Lady Harrowby, then Dudley Ryder (Viscount Sandon and later 7th Earl of Harrowby), and the 6th Earl of Harrowby.
Committee members of the Sandon and District Royal British Legion Fete, about 1957 The fete was held on the cricket field and the Dog and Doublet Inn can be seen in the background. The fete would have been opened by Lord and Lady Harrowby. In the back row are Sam Berrisford (far left) and Richard Dewberry (4th from left). Holding the flowers in the front row is Lady Harrowby, then Dudley Ryder (Viscount Sandon and later 7th Earl of Harrowby), and the 6th Earl of Harrowby.
Sandon & District British Legion Dinner, about 1958-1960  Wilmot Martin is seated at the top table, wearing his Harry Lauder costume.
Sandon & District British Legion Dinner, about 1958-1960 Wilmot Martin is seated at the top table,                               wearing his Harry Lauder costume.
Celebration at the  Dog and Doublet Public House, Sandon, 1955.
Celebration at the Dog and Doublet Public House, Sandon, 1955

These details and all the images featured will shortly be seen on the Staffordshire Past Track website (www.staffspasttrack.org.uk).  If you have any images to lend, or any extra information, please contact the Past Track team: Staffordshire Past Track, Staffordshire Archives & Heritage, Shugborough, Milford, Stafford ST17 0XB.  Telephone 01889 881388. email: past.track@staffordshire.gov.uk.  You can also keep up to date with what’s new on Past Track by ‘liking’ our facebook page.