Thailand’s noble veterans this past week marked 100 years for the formation of the Royal British Legion. To commemorate the centenary, veterans placed four wreaths at three locations: Pattaya Branch HQ, the British Club Bangkok War Memorial, and Kanchanaburi War Graves Cemeteries Don Rak & Chungkai.
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions in place, our planned meeting and small event had to be postponed.
As Chairman of the Chonburi Branch here in Thailand, myself along with our Standard Bearer Richard Holmes carried out a small wreath-laying at the Home of the Royal British Legion at the Tropical Restaurant on Soi Khao Noi.
Elsewhere in Thailand, ex-Royal Military Police Michael Newbatt, branch member and manager, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, placed a wreath at the Kanchanaburi War Graves Cemeteries Don Rak & Chungkai.
At the British Embassy in Bangkok, a wreath was laid by Col Anthony (Tony) Stern, serving, Defence Attaché ex Intelligence Corps now General Staff, attended by Paul Cheeseman, Honorary Secretary of the British Club Bangkok.
This is a proud milestone for the RBL and all members associated with them. Long may they continue to offer help, support and assistance for those in need for many more years to come.
We will remember them.
The Royal British Legion “Chonburi Branch” Thailand was formed in July 2007. We are indeed the only branch in Thailand and cover the whole of the country. We are a reasonably active branch with most of the members centred in and around Chonburi province but we have members in all areas of the “Land of Smiles.” Our branch HQ is in Pattaya at the restaurant of one of the founder members and currently we have 170 members or thereabouts.
During the pandemic we have been active in supporting the local community. Thailand does not have any welfare state benefits to speak of so the branch has been involved in handing out food parcels and necessities to those in need through donations outside of RBL or Poppy Appeal fundraising. We also have a very productive welfare section, helping those veterans in need here in Thailand.
Every year we organise and participate in Remembrance services at the war graves cemeteries on the banks of the River Kwai. The cemeteries at Don Rak and Chungkai in Kanchanaburi hold those servicemen and one lady, who gave their all during that horrific period of being forced to build the Thai – Burma railway in WW2. These services are multi-denominational, significant and well attended. We honour not only the British services but those of our allies and also the local and bordering populations used as forced labour during that time.
Those attending these services held on the 11th November include ambassadorial dignitaries representing all the allied and participating countries along with our Thai hosts. Attendance is normally now well over 250 to 300.
In addition we help organise and attend the British Embassy remembrance service held at the British Club in Bangkok on Remembrance Sunday each year. Another well-attended event.