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Remembrance Day wreath laying ceremony Thursday: ‘100 Years of Poppy Day’
By Stirling Strachan
Nov 5, 2021 - 10:18:11 PM

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Pictured during Remembrance Day press conference Thursday, November 4, 2021 at Cabinet Office are from left: Chairman, British Legion Bahamas Branch Adina Munroe-Charlow; Cabinet Office National Events Coordinator Antoinette Brown; and Pastor Roslyn Astwood, Bahamas Christian Council. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Nassau, The Bahamas - On the 11th hour, the 11th day, the 11th month the fighting of World War I ended in 1918.  “On Thursday 11th of November, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will honour all of our veterans who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom,” said Antoinette Brown national events coordinator, Cabinet Office.

This year the British Legion Bahamas Branch and all other Commonwealth British Legion Branches celebrate, along with the international headquarters, the Royal British Legion (London), 100 years of existence as a non-profit organization serving all World War II veterans throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Africa, Australia and The Caribbean.

It was on 15th May 1921, 100 years ago, The Royal British Legion (London) was incorporated as a non-profit organization as the result of the merging of four veteran associations that were already established three years after the Great War ended in 1918.

(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The main objectives of the Royal British Legion upon its incorporation were:

1. To financially provide for all war emergency service workers, including soldiers, who were wounded during the Great War;
2. To provide companionship to all soldiers who had no families and homes to go to after the Great War ended; and finally
3. To remember all war emergency service workers, including soliders, who lost their lives defending freedom and who protected the way of life during that time.

Today, the British Legion Bahamas Branch and its Commonwealth World War Association Branches continue the main objectives of headquarters RBL (London) in the provision of financial monthly war grants to now five Bahamian registered World War II veterans (ages 93-98) and eighteen (18) World War II widows of the fallen, whose ages range from 68-96.

Names of the current WWI survivors registered with the British Legion Bahamas Branch are:

1. Comrade Jeremiah Neymour (98)-Gregory Town, Eleuthera, Bahamas (RAF)
2. Comrade Nathanial Wallace (95), Nicholls Town, Andros, Bahamas (B.B.)
3. Comrade Henry Kellman (93) Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas (RAF)
4. Comrade Vernon Pinder (96) New Providence, Nassau, Bahamas (RAF)
5. Comrade Leonard Knowles (95), New Providence, Nassau, Bahamas (RAF), and finally;
6. Remaining Bahamian female WWII Survivor, Corporal Doreen Carmel Jones-Rickards (97), who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during World War II and who currently resides with her daughter in Kingston, Jamaica.

This year also marks 100th birthday of the poppy. It was 100 years ago that of the poppy came into existence.

The Royal British Legion's then President, the late Earl Haig, announced the introduction of the poppy as a symbol representing the blood shed by thousands of soldiers (including Bahamian soldiers), who died during The Great War of 1914-1918. He announced that on the 11th day of every November, which was formerly known as Armistice Day, would now be known as Remembrance Day": A ‘Poppy Day’ to raise funds for the care of surviving war veterans. Since that very first Remembrance Day, in 1921, eight million poppies were purchased and worn in support of this worthy cause.

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