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Royal British Legion

Last modified: 2013-11-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: british legion | royal british legion |
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[British Legion] image provided by Bob Rankin, 10 July 2006


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Royal British Legion Standard

The British Legion was formed in 1921 and adopted the branch standard shortly afterwards. In 1971, when granted the title 'Royal', the Legion asked the College of Arms if they might add a crown to their badge. It was not usual for the title 'Royal' to confer the right to a crown badge, but it was approved by the Queen on 27 September 1971 in view of the fact that the Royal Canadian Legion already had a crown badge. It was noted in correspondence on the matter that technically the Standard was a Blue Ensign and had been adopted without authority. The Deputy Under Secretary of State (Navy) wrote that after half a century of use the Navy had no objection to the Standard and that the addition of a crown was a matter for the Home Office. The design of the badge, for use on the Legion's stationery, Standard and as a lapel badge was approved by the Queen 6 July 1972. Public Record Office HO 290/46.

I imagine that there may still be some Branch Standards that have not been replaced since 'Royal' was added to the name. The National Standard has a badge, but most Branch Standards do not seem to have the badge, which probably adds considerably to the cost.
David Prothero, 12 November 2002

The official website of the Royal British legion Scotland ( shows a standard with the name "the Royal British legion Scotland" in full so the local branches might have it too instead of simply "British Legion". If you look at a picture from a RBL parade in Scarborough at you will notice that on at least some of the standards, the inscription seem to include "the royal". On the other hand, it might simply be that the image we shown above is wrong and all branches (Scottish or not) have it.
Marc Pasquin, 30 May 2004

The British Legion was established in 1921 out of amalgamating 4 other ex-service organisations. However The Standard was designed by Colonel E C Health the First General Secretary in 1923, see our page by link at The blue indicates loyalty and fidelity and the gold signifies service - "as gold is tried by fire" - and reminds us of all those who gave their lives for our country.
Bob Rankin, 10 July 2006

The Standard was adopted, without authority, in 1921. This was stated in a letter dated 20 March 1972 from Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter, King of Arms, to MoD(Navy). It would therefore appear that the unauthorised Standard of 1921 was submitted to the College of Arms by the General Secretary of the British Legion, and properly authorised in 1923.
David Prothero, 11 July 2006

[British Legion] by Marcus Schmöger

[British Legion] by Marcus Schmöger

The British Legion is an organisation of British military veterans; see their website (and some of the branches' websites including images of their standards) at The standards are obviously of a standardized design: three horizontal stripes of blue, yellow and blue; in the canton the Union Jack; in the central yellow stripe the blue inscription "British Legion" and the blue inscription of the respective branch name; around the standard a yellow fringe. These two standards were seen in Hexham Abbey: The one of the "Hexham Branch" and the one of "Northumberland County".
Marcus Schmöger, 25 September 2001

These examples show sample flags of the pre-Royal Legion. A recent visit to north Cornwall took me to Boscastle Church where there are two standards of the local branch of the Legion - an old one, presumably laid up in the Church, with the inscription "British Legion", and a new one - either now laid up or kept there when not in use - with the inscription "Royal British Legion".
André Coutanche, 11 July 2006

Reverse of the Flag

[British Legion] image by Ivan Sache, 10 August 2008

This image shows the flag of Royal British Legion, Harpenden Branch (Hertfordshire). It is not really different from the flags of other branches. But it is a backside, and one could see that only the yellow stripe was stitched on both sides in order to read the inscription, not the blue ones.
Source: I spotted this flag on 5 May 2007 in Harpenden in front of the legion's local building.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 August 2008

Royal British Legion Rider's Branch

[British Legion Riders Branch] image by Marc Pasquin, 9 May 2012

The flag of the Royal British Legion Rider's Branch can be seen at The RBLRB is a section of the mother organisation made up of motorcycle enthusiasts who participate in various events including some charitable ones as well as being present for the repatriation of bodies.

The flag appears to be of the same basic design as the RBL one except that the bottom band is of equal size to the top one. Note that the flag has the spelling as "rider's" although the logo has it as "riders" as can be seen here:
Marc Pasquin, 9 May 2012