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Herford Branch

The early history of the Herford Branch of the Royal British Legion was one of a determination to shed our nomadic beginnings and find a permanent home. On the 28th February 1992, an inaugural meeting was held in the Gastätte Waldrose in Herford. At that meeting were 33 people who became the founder members of the Herford Branch, electing, among others Alan Clarkson as President and Malcolm Lowe as our first Chairman. After monthly meetings in several different establishments in and around Herford, we began meeting in the Posthorn Club in Wentworth Barracks, and soon held our first social function which was a Karaoke night. At the meeting held on the 2nd June 1992 it was decided to approach the military to request our own premises - remember that date.
At the annual general meeting held on the 14th October 1993, Malcolm Lowe stood down, and our second Chairman, Joe Loewenthal took on the job. After much fund raising and the purchase of standards for the branch, the dedication of the Branch Standard was held on the 24th October 1993 - a proud moment and one which really gave the membership the feeling of having reached a landmark. We were now a 'real' Branch, although we still had no real home.
After moving around various pubs over a period of time, the 1st June 1994 saw us enter a period of relative stability when we began to use the NAAFI Imperial club for our meetings and functions. At the next AGM on the 5th October 1994, we elected our third Chairman, Eddie Hefferman and Joe Loewenthal was made Hon. Vice President. Also in 1994 our Standard, in the capable hands of Standard Bearer Richard Evans, was on parade in the Albert Hall for the Festival of Remembrance.
Remembrance Sunday 1996
In 1995 the Standard and a small party visited Nieuw Dordrecht in Holland where 24 RAF Aircrew are buried, a tradition which continues to the present. Unfortunately. our spiritual 'home' in the Imperial Club was no longer available after January 1996 so we were back to meeting in the Kater Stuben, but not before we had hosted a very successful District Annual Conference in February at which Terry Salmon our Secretary was elected to the office of Chairman, District of Germany.

Terry Salmon receives the Jellicoe Shield

The first high point of 1996 came in May when the Branch was awarded the Jellicoe Shield this being the annual award to the Branch with the best increase in membership over a three year period, our membership having gone from the original 33 to 190 by September 1995. Unfortunately, this was to drop to 128 by the following September, but as many of our members were still serving and as such posted on every few years, this was not unexpected, nor did it dent the high moral of the Branch membership.
The second high point, and perhaps for all of us the better of the two was the news that, at last, we had been allocated premises in Wentworth Barracks. There then followed a very hard and very hectic three months in which time, the new HQ was completely renovated. Herforder Brewery installed the bar and a thousand and one other things were achieved. As with most new ventures which try to build something worth while were there was almost nothing, at times we thought we would never get there.
Brigadier J.J. Keeling Opens the Branch HQ
All this hard work culminated on the 29th September 1996, 4 years 3 months and 27 days after the meeting in which it was decided to seek premises from Herford Garrison, with the dedication of the new District Standard, followed by the official opening of the new Branch Club and HQ by Brigadier J. J. Keeling, in the presence of Graham Downing our National Chairman. The rest as they say is history. We were then firmly established with a permanent home and buliding up a membership of around 300, which made us one of the biggest Branches in Germany, but of course, the hard work of welfare, fundraising and maintaining the membership still goes on.
In November 1996, the Reservistenkameradschaft (RK) Herford were invited to participate for the first time in the Station British Remembrance Service which led to an official partnership being formed on the 18th October 1997 between the Branch and the Reservistenkameradschaft (RK) in a ceremonial act and the signing of the partnership agreement.  Since 1998 the Reservistenkameradschaft (RK) Herford have used the Branch premises for their monthly meetings and many members of the RK have become members of the Branch and actively support our events.

© RBL Herford 2005

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