In May 1921, the people of Ammanford proudly declared that their town had an official branch of the Royal British Legion.

A hundred years later British Legion members this week celebrated their centenary by planting a tree in recognition of the loyalty shown through the decades by members but also by the community of Ammanford as a whole.

“Since the Ammanford branch was formed in 1921 it has served the ex-military community and their families and has raised tens of thousands of pounds with the Poppy Appeal,” said Major Kenneth Burton who is branch president.

“But over a hundred years later we’re still continuing with that work which is only possible by the generosity of all who contribute annually to the Poppy Appeal. Last year alone we raised over £18,000.”

Major Burton went on to explain how the branch was established.

“Towards the end of 1917 local men started returning from the war in France mainly due to their physical wounds but also their mental exhaustion.

"A local support group was set up to help those men and their families and initially this was organised by men who had themselves fought and distinguished themselves at the front line, men like RSM Isaac Jones, Corporal R F Rainford and Corporal James Prout.”

The group enjoyed the patronage of local industrialist W N Jones, Cllr Charles Shaw, Chair of Ammanford UDC, who lost his son in the conflict, their wives and others, who worked hard to raise funds for the organisation.

As the war ended and more men returned, the groups’ workload increased significantly.

“The group was taking on the full effects that the years of conflict had had on service personnel, their families and the families of the men who did not come home,” continued Major Burton.

And so in May 1921, the British Legion was formed and, after membership was granted, the Ammanford Branch was duly registered on the September 18, 1921 becomong one of the first official national branches.

Meetings in those early days were held in the parlour of 14 Talbot Road, the home of Ex Cpl Prout the first Branch Secretary. The branch later built the now demolished Legion Club at Manor Road.