Welcome to the New Brunswick Command of the Royal Canadian Legion web site. These pages provide countless information as to the goals, involvement, services, and programs that the New Brunswick Command, and the 71 Legion branches provide on a daily basis. Following is a bit of the history of The Royal Canadian Legion, the services they offer, and how they became the leading force in veteran rights in Canada.
By the end of World War 1 there were a total of 15 veterans’ groups and a number of regimental associations representing former service members in Canada. Despite their common goal to help returned servicemen in need, their efforts were fragmented and largely unsuccessful. In 1925, an appeal for unity led to the formation of the Dominion Veterans Alliance, out of which evolved The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League (BESL) the following year.
The BESL was originally founded in 1921 with the same ideals. It was a coalition of five nations veterans organizations ( Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand). Today it is known as the Commonwealth Ex-services League (CEL) with 52 member organizations from Commonwealth and former Commonwealth nations.
The Legion quickly became a persuasive advocate for improved pension legislation and other benefits for veterans and their families, including: treatment and appeals procedures, returned soldiers’ insurance, and help for those suffering from tuberculosis.
Passage of the 1930 War Veterans’ Allowance Act was a major breakthrough, winning financial assistance for thousands of men who had not been eligible for disability pensions even though they had been incapacitated by war service.
World War II Preparation
World War 2 brought an influx of new demands. The Legion provided canteens, entertainment and reading material for those serving abroad and at home, as well as correspondence courses to help them on their return to civilian life.
But most importantly, from the onset of war, the Legion began to prepare for the returning troops. Financial compensation, clothing allowances, pensions, medical treatment, preference in the civil service, vocational training, land settlements were all routinely arranged and provided. To this day the Legion maintains a nation wide network of professionals helping veterans, ex service members and their families to secure the pensions and benefits to which they are entitled.
The New Millennium
As the Legion moves into the 21st century, its members have re-dedicated themselves to ensure the care of Canada’s veterans and the perpetuation of remembrance. The implementation of the “Two Minute Wave of Silence” in 1999, and the establishment of “The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier” in 2000, are just two examples of how the Legion is preparing Canadians to never forget the lessons and sacrifices of the past. Continued pressure on the federal government to improve benefits for those who have served the country in uniform is the Legion’s other major cornerstone. And, as times change, so will the needs and the Legion’s work to ensure they are met.