THE TOTTON AND ELING BRANCH.

At the time that the Great War of 1914-1918 ended the area around modern Totton consisted of several small villages and hamlets of which the principal one was Eling.
As the carnage ended the local communities, like most people, wanted to forget about the War. However, every year on Armistice Day (11th.November) throughout the entire nation, on the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month everyone stopped what they were doing and paid homage to the thousands who had been killed. Traffic came to a standstill, men doffed their hats, and all stood in silence for two minutes to show their respect. Eling and the local area took part but, like most small villages there was no War Memorial around which to gather, and not enough people to form a Legion Branch.
However, by 1935 the growing population of Eling and Totton provided sufficient numbers for the formation of a Branch of the British Legion, and this came into being on 21st. August of that year. (The Legion was not granted Royal status until it had been in existence for fifty years.) It was formed for the usual reasons of self-help, mutual assistance, and to remember fallen comrades.
Eleven eventful years followed, in which the country fought Germany and its allies for a second time from 1939 to1945.
With the return of the conscripted servicemen and women in 1946 the Branch suddenly expanded to over four hundred members.
There was at one time, no less than one hundred and forty seven Welfare Cases which required the help of the Branch. These cases mainly consisted of fighting the authorities regarding the issue of War Pensions, but also for the medical aid for both the ex-servicemen and their families, for at that time (from 1945 to 1948) there was no such thing as a National Health system, and payment was required for most medical treatment.

The oldest records still held by the Branch is the Minute Book for 1946 which shows a thriving and active membership of over three hundred and fifty, compared with the current membership of some seventy one.

Reasons for the decline in membership are many and varied, but in all fairness by the end of the Forties and Fifties people were moving away from the countryside and into the newer urban areas to find better living conditions and higher wages.
Many ex-servicemen, having served in other countries, sought a better life for themselves and their families by immigration to the Dominions and Colonies. The Ten Pounds Assisted Passage to Australia affords a good example of this country losing the very people needed for its reconstruction. They chose to leave behind a county still racked with Rationing, and a life still in the throes of a class society.
The ending of conscription in the early Sixties meant that there are now fewer retired servicemen around and those that are still with us are of an age to be far less active.

The majority of new recuits are not ex-military and so the Totton & Eling Branch of the Royal British benefits from members of all ages, genders, ethnic origins and religions.