Monthly Archives: October 2020

New Remembrance Collection

An item from the folks formerly known as There But Not There.


Our Veterans need Your Support

On the 13th October we launched our new and exciting veterans support club.
Joining us to mark the occasion were Founding Patrons – Antiques Roadtrip regular Raj Bisram, and double Olympic champion Heather Stanning OBE – and a giant (almost 10ft!) Tommy in our Garden of Honour to mark the occasion.
For just £15 a year you can join the Tommy Club and become a Tommy Club Champion. You will be helping to change lives with every penny you raise as a Tommy Club Champion, including your annual subscription, directly supporting veterans with their practical and emotional needs.

In return you will receive exclusive Tommy Club benefits, including your welcome pack with collectable Tommy pin, bi-annual magazine and discounts in the RBLI shop.


A Note to You from a Founding Patron…

“With such a long family history of military service, RBLI’s important work is close to my heart. The military community has always rallied around each other at times of need, and now it’s the nation’s turn to do the same.

Tommy Club, and Tommy Champions across the UK, will ensure vulnerable veterans of all ages will receive the support they need for years to come.”

Tommy Club Founding Patron
TV explorer and Reservist British Army Officer, Levison Wood

In Remembrance

“This year marks 10 years since our friend, Smudge, was killed in Afghanistan during my husband’s first tour.

“Usually on Remembrance Sunday I stand with pride and tears in my eyes as I watch my husband on parade, dressed in his smart uniform. Every year I have a lump in my throat as I watch him march up to the memorial, lay a cross for Smudge and salute.

“This year I may not be able to watch my husband lay his cross, but we will stand Tommy in our window proudly for everyone to see. This is for Smudge.

“In honour of Sapper Mark ‘Smudge’ Smith. Killed in action. 26th July 2010. Aged 26.”

The Inspirational Work of Our Supporters

We are so grateful for our supporters showing the true Tommy spirit. This morning we received this wonderful picture from Emma, showing her little Tommy saluting the big Tommy!

Little Tommy is proving to be quite the supporter, acting as Chief Fundraising Mascot while Emma takes on our Special Forces Tommy 10k challenge!
Emma’s already managed to raise £150!

Wouldn’t you like to be part of such an amazing, supporting Tommy Club community?


Our New Remembrance Collection

Copyright © 2020 Royal British Legion Industries. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Royal British Legion Industries Ltd, Hall Road, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7NL

Are You Up To This Mission?

They’ve added an element of fun to this virtual run for a good cause.

Are You Up To This Mission?
Add some excitement to your Remembrance Day Race Event by completing this Scavenger Hunt Contest!
We are so excited to introduce “Operation Scavenger Hunt”, a new contest in conjunction with the 2020 Remembrance Day Races!
Just register for any one of the three Remembrance Day Races, then complete the tasks from the Scavenger Hunt Checklist and send us your photos…Winners will receive FREE Race Event Entries!
Not only will you receive one of the best-ever medals and race kits, but $10 from every entry goes directly to the Juno Beach Centre honoring those brave Canadians who served!
Visit or VR PRO Races Facebook page for more information about the ‘Operation Scavenger Hunt’. Scroll down for complete Remembrance Day Race event details.
Even though all public Remembrance Dar events are canceled,
you can still commemorate the day in a very special way!
Remembrance Day Races are three Virtual Running & Walking Events to Benefit the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s Second World War Museum and Cultural Centre located in Normandy, France. Choose one of three Historically Significant Distances:
StrongPoint 1500m, Juno Beach 8K, or Remembrance 21.1K
There truly is an event distance for everyone!
Each amazing virtual race kit includes an incredible, over-sized, commemorative medal, as well as a beautifully imprinted neck gaitor or mask, a Remembrance Day poppy, a Juno Beach D-Day souvenir map, a keepsake race bib, and more!
Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.
VR PRO Inc | 905.512.2488 | |
VR PRO Inc. | 561 Brant StreetBox 85030Burlington, Ontario L7R4K3 Canada

Bringing a Commemoration (Memorial) Day Service to San Francisco

Note this item which has been posted to the Downhome website.

Bringing a Commemoration (Memorial) Day Service to San Francisco

1 likes   51 views

As November is the month that we traditionally turn our attention to the act of remembrance, I wanted to share a story of how I was able to bring a bit of Newfoundland tradition to the Canadian community in California. Four years ago when I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was one of fourteen areas in the United States that has a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. As an Associate Member of the Legion for 18 years at that point, I quickly transferred my membership to US Branch #25 and began attending meetings. It wasn’t long before I had the opportunity to take a leadership role in the branch (and later at the International Western Zone USA level), and being a proud Newfoundlander I wanted to bring a piece of my home province to the veterans community throughout California.

As the branch had been doing outreach with other Canadian and Commonwealth organizations in the area, I saw opportunities for the Royal Canadian Legion to get involved. On behalf of the branch, I became the Poppy Chair and facilitated the distributed of thousands of poppies to Canadian ex-pat organizations and Canadian owned businesses throughout Northern California. I also began representing the branch at the annual ANZAC Day service in April that was organized by various Australian and New Zealand groups in San Francisco. In 2018 I was even given the opportunity to speak about the involvement of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in Gallipoli (as 25 April was chosen as ANZAC Day honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who served in the Gallipoli Campaign).

Then came the pandemic… And everything stopped, including all of the activities of Royal Canadian Legion US Branch #25! Now the Legion has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area community for more than 80 years. While the branch is a relatively small these days, with only about 40 members and no physical location, it continues to strive to be active in veterans and remembrance activities. When the closure began in March our members watched as the annual inspection of a local division of Sea Cadets that they had been sponsoring for the past 25 years was cancelled. Then March became April, and then May, and the annual ANZAC Day events and our US Memorial Day service were both cancelled. By June, the branch had cancelled is third monthly membership meetings and planning to commemorate for the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations charter, which occurred in San Francisco, was postponed indefinitely.

In late May or early June a Canadian ex-pat organization called the Digital Moose Lounge contacted me to see if the branch wanted to participate in the virtual Canada Day celebration that they were planning. As a native Newfoundlander, I saw an opportunity to bring a bit of Newfoundland culture to the Canadian community in the Bay Area and throughout California. As readers of the Downhome are aware, in addition to being Canada Day, July 1 is also Memorial or Commemoration Day in Newfoundland and Labrador – a day when we remember the tragic events of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel. To honour that tradition, and as a way to begin to engage both the members of our the branch and our local cadets again, I sought to create a virtual sunrise service for Memorial Day.

Over the next few weeks I reached out to friends and family to find Newfoundland and Labrador performers – many of whom were living outside of the province – to record themselves singing national anthems, playing the Last Post and other traditional remembrance pieces, and providing components of the service. The response was amazing, and even included the local Canadian Consul General in San Francisco and Newfoundland’s representative in the federal cabinet (who was also the former Minister of Veterans Affairs). Additionally, members of both US Branch #25 and all of the branches of the International Western Zone USA, as well as our local U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps-Arkansas Division sent in videos. The Legion Magazine even gave us permission to use their “Military Moments: Battle of Beaumont-Hamel,” which is narrated by Newfoundlander Gordon Pinsent, as a part of the service.

At 6am local time on Canada Day, US Branch #25 of the Royal Canadian Legion hosted almost 50 attendees in a virtual sunrise service. The service was repeated at 10am for another 25 people who were unable to brave the early hour of the initial viewing. The service is still available online at for anyone to watch. As a former social studies teacher at Discovery Collegiate in Bonavista, it was just my way of educating my fellow ex-pats about a bit of Newfoundland and Labrador history.

Michael Barbour Vacaville, CA

Original item at

Canada’s contributions to the world

Note the items related to the Korean War, first aid during World War I, the Cold War and Pugwash, and the conflict in Afghanistan in this newsletter.

Plus: Hope Amid the Ruins, Peace in Pugwash and First Aid
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Reserve your spot and ride the rails! Heritage of Halifax and the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Canada's History
Charles Best (left) and Frederick Banting (right).

Made in Canada — Insulin

Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and James Bertram Collip perfected the extraction of insulin leading to a treatment for people with diabetes. Watch now

Canadian light infantry on board a ship for Korea.

Korea: 1951

It is known as the “Forgotten War,” but Canada’s role in Korea should be anything but forgotten. Read more

Canadian Joe Boyle with the Queen and Princess of Romania.

First Aid

Old-fashioned chivalry drove one Canadian’s heroic efforts to help Romania after the First World War. Originally published in February 2012Read more

Group photo with participants of the Pugwash conference.

Pugwash Gives Peace a Chance

Visitors to the small village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, might not imagine that in the midst of the Cold War it played host to one of the most important scientific conferences of the era. Originally published in October 2007Read more

Writer Matthew Fisher in Afghanistan.

Hope Amid the Ruins

A veteran foreign correspondant in Afghanistan reports on Canada’s role in rebuilding the war-torn nation. Originally published in April 2012Read more

Emmanuel Jal, left, with Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire (retired).

Marching Orders

By Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire (retired): Perhaps the most powerful demonstration of true statesmanship and forward-thinking leadership to which we could commit ourselves as a country would be taking on the reform of the United Nations. Read more

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Canada’s History Archive featuring The Beaver

Please note: Some items featured in our newsletters and social media will include links to the Canada’s History Archive. The Beaver magazine was founded, and for decades was published, during eras shaped by colonialism. Concepts such as racial, cultural, or gender equality were rarely, if ever, considered by the magazine or its contributors. In earlier issues, readers will find comments and terms now considered to be derogatory. Canada’s History Society cautions readers to explore the archive using historical thinking concepts — not only analyzing the content but asking questions of who shaped the content and why.
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