Tag Archives: Branch 25 – 90th Anniversary

90th Anniversary Challenge Coin Design Competition

In the lead up to our 90th anniversary on August 12, 2021 we have been exploring ways to provide some form of commemoration of this milestone for our membership.  Other branches have undertaken everything from t-shirts and jackets to ball caps to lapel pins and buttons to cookbooks to ceremonial plates and spoons – even matchbooks and ashtrays.  For example, this is a throwback lapel pin from Branch 25.

Many will recall that last year we produced a challenge coin to mark an occasion.  In 1995, Branch 25 of the Royal Canadian Legion began its affiliation with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Arkansas Division.  In his initial proposal to the branch, Comrade Fred Rutledge wrote that the relationship between the two organizations was natural, as it was quite common for Legion branches in Canada to sponsor a local cadet corps.  At the time, then Commanding Officer Lt. Lee Smith wrote that this affiliation would assist the cadets in participating to the fullest in the many training opportunities available to them.  To commemorate that anniversary, Branch #25 sponsored a competition to design a challenge coin that reflected this 25th anniversary, as well as both Branch 25 of the Royal Canadian Legion and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Arkansas Division.

Branch 25 is currently sponsoring a competition for the design of a 90th anniversary challenge coin. To providing you with some inspiration, below are example of existing Royal Canadian Legion challenge coins.


Over the years, there have been branches of the Royal Canadian Legion in Oakland, Sacramento, Alameda, Redwood City, Petaluma, Berkeley, Hayward, Santa Cruz, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and San Francisco.  Today, only the branch in San Francisco remains.  However, as branches ceased to exist the San Francisco branch assumed responsibility for their members and commitments – including maintaining and honouring the plots with Canadian and British veterans at Liberty Cemetery in Petaluma and Greenlawn Cemetery in Colma.

So submit your design of a 90th anniversary challenge coin to commemorate the occasion and recognize our history to mkbarbour-at-gmail.com


Bass Drum Donated to a RCL Pipe Band in 1977

We recently received this request for information.  If any member have any details that they are able to share, please contact Paul Ritchie directly at mbb624-at-shaw-dot-ca.

I am writing to you on behalf of the Calgary Highlanders Regimental Museum and Archives.

To summarize a long story, we have a bass drum, which started life some time before 1917. The period before 1917 is described in a 1940 newspaper article but cannot be verified.

In 1917 through 1918, it was used by a Canadian Army band (17th Reserve Battalion). Following that, it was used by various bands in Alberta during the interwar period. It was given to the Calgary Highlanders in 1940 and used until approximately 1952. The next information I have is that the drum was donated to a Royal Canadian Legion pipe band by James P Gilsenan in 1977. Lastly, it was donated to the Calgary Highlanders by David Maisch on Labor Day weekend 1981. We have retained it since then.

I would like to discover more about the drum during the 1952 – 1977 period. Are there any Legion members who recall anything about this drum, the band it was donated to, the donor (James P Gilsenan) or the circumstances under which it was donated?

Enclosed is a rundown of the information I have on James Gilsenan.

Best regards

Attachment: Gilsenan, James P Life Events.pdf

Archive Searches for the Canadian Legion

Over the past few weeks we have been searching various archives to locate more of the history of the branches that formed the Royal Canadian Legion in Northern California.  For example…

A California Business Search for “Canadian Legion” yields articles of incorporation for 17 different organization in the state that have had those words in their name – two of which are still active.

A search of the images contained at Calisphere for “Canadian Legion” reveals 13 images in 9 different collections.

A search of the Online Archive of California for “Canadian Legion” yields eight results – and the first one we already spoke about yesterday in Bancroft Library Collection – Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League records : San Francisco, Calif., 1939-1943.

A more general search of the California Digital Archives for “Canadian Legion” generates almost 500 results, while a query of the subscription service Newspapers.com for “Canadian Legion” in California sources returns over 18,000 items.

What branch history might you have in your possession?  Or what branch history have you been able to find?

Bancroft Library Collection – Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League records : San Francisco, Calif., 1939-1943.

As we’ve been searching for items – both physical and digital – related to the history of US Branch 25, we can across this collection.

Collection Title: BANC MSS 2013/232

Collection Number: Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League records : San Francisco, Calif., 1939-1943.

Get Items: No online items No online items
Collection location Offline. Contact UC Berkeley::Bancroft Library

Collection Overview

Title: Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League records: San Francisco, Calif., 1939-1943

Creator/Contributor: Royal Canadian Legion, creator

Creator/Contributor: McMurray, J. W. C., correspondent.

Creator/Contributor: Romeril, Wilfred, correspondent.

Abstract: Contains mostly correspondence sent to the adjutant generals of the San Francisco chapter (Post No. 25) of the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League from various other dignitaries and civic, government, military, and service organizations dedicated to supporting military personnel. Correspondence includes invitations to events, recognition of services performed, awards, etc. Includes one folder of correspondence sent from other Canadian Legion posts in California including: Contra Costa (Post No. 138), Marin County (Post No. 30), Oakland (Post No. 15), Peninsula (Post No. 52), San Jose (Post No. 35), Petaluma (Post No. 57), Hayward (Post No. 114), and Stockton (Post No. 34). Also includes some correspondence from the Legion’s main office, Dominion Command in Ottawa Canada. Also includes receipts for subscriptions to British Empire Digest, a monthly publication of the Canadian Legion, B.E.S.L., articles, and a printed leaflet, prepared by Dr. Graham Stuart of Stanford University, summarizing the third report of the “Commission to study the organization of peace” and the potential for a United Nations organization.

Date: 1939 (issued)

Subject: n-us-ca — n-cn—
McMurray, J. W. C — Correspondence
Romeril, Wilfred — Correspondence
Royal Canadian Legion — Archives
Royal Canadian Legion — Correspondence
Canada. — Canadian Armed Forces.
World War, 1939-1945 — Veterans — Services for — Canada
World War, 1939-1945 — Veterans — Services for — California — San Francisco
Veterans — Services for — Canada
Veterans — Services for — California

Note: Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League records : San Francisco, Calif., 1939-1943, BANC MSS 2013/232, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Purchase; from Bolerium Books; 20131029.
In November 1925, the Canadian Legion, a non-profit veterans organization, was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II granted the Legion royal patronage and it became the Royal Canadian Legion.
In English.

Physical Description: print
1 box (0.2 linear feet)

Language: English

Identifier: BANC MSS 2013/232

Origin: California

Documenting Our History

Recently I inherited a few boxes and bags of Legion-related items from the Past President, Comrade Fred Rutledge.  For example, yesterday you were introduced to the flag of the Northern Zone of the Western Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.  Also included among those items was an old wooden Walford Marquise Invincible Tobacco box were these interesting printing press pieces.

Another item, among the treasurers, was this gavel.

The plaque reads:

Presented by
Ed Trayler P.S.C. 1987
Royal Canadian Legion

A picture of a similar item was submitted by Comrade Charlie Martin that had been handed down to him by his grandmother.

The plaque reads:

Imozene Martin
– President –
Ladies Auxiliary of San Francisco Post #25
Canadian Legion BESL – 1935

If you have any historical items related to the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League / Royal Canadian Legion from an of the former branches in the Bay Area, please submit them and we’ll feature them.