"The Chronicles of a Country Parish" - A village appraisal of Sulgrave published in 1995

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In the mid 1920s, branches of the British legion were formed all over the country, and, in 1926, the Culworth and District Branch was formed, comprising eight villages in the area, Culworth, Sulgrave, Moreton Pinkney, Thorpe Mandeville, Chipping Warden, Eydon, Greatworth and Marston St Lawrence.

Members of the British Legion Culworth and District Branch
march to the Culworth War Memorial in 1961

Each village had its own Section, with equivalent officers and Committee to the main Branch. They raised their own funds and administered help and relief in various forms to members who were ill or experiencing difficulties. Sulgrave was able to boast a membership at one period after the 1939-45 war of over 50 fully paid up members.

Sulgrave British Legion organised many fund raising events and held whist drives on a regular basis. It sponsored children's parties in the school during the Christmas holidays; and supported the church in its annual garden fete by being responsible for the preparation of all the stalls; manning many of the stalls on the day; clearing up afterwards and providing all the transport. The motto of the British Legion is 'Service not Self', epitomised in the building of the village bus shelter by the voluntary labour of legion members, with materials supplied at cost by Wootton Bros (Contractors) Ltd., and paid for from the funds of the old village hall committee.

Stalwarts of the British Legion and their wives - organisers of
superb children's Christmas parties in the early 1950s.
Click on this image to see a bigger version.

For many years after the 1939-45 war, Reg Butcher was the Secretary, and his dedication and sheer hard work enabled Sulgrave to go from strength to strength, both in numbers and achievements, and Lew Wootton never missed an opportunity to enrol a new member.

The highlights of these years were the review of the British Legion by the Queen in 1953, when over 100,000 Legionaires assembled at Hyde Park in London, four coachloads going from this district; the annual Remembrance Day Parade at each of the local churches when extra seating had to be brought in to accommodate everyone; individual members' joy and pleasure at being allocated a seat in the Albert Hall for the Festival of Remembrance in November, and, of course, the companionship and comradeship of service life which was perpetuated.

Due perhaps to the changing ways of life and the difficulty of holding a Branch together with no real focal point, the Culworth and Dsitrict Branch finally closed down in 1973, and the Legion Standard was ceremoniously laid up in Thorpe Mandeville Church some years later. The Sulgrave members then joined other branches in the area, mainly at Wappenham and Brackley, where the work of the now Royal British Legion is still carried on.