Royal British Legion



The Royal British Legion has been supporting Service men and women, ex-serving personnel and their families since 15 May 1921. It was established initially to care for those who had suffered as a result of service during the First World War and has been helping the Armed Forces community and their families ever since. There are now approximately 2,500 Royal British Legion branches across the UK and overseas. More information on the RBL can be found at

Newnham is proud to have a Branch of the Royal British Legion. Today, our members are a small, friendly group of ex-military, and civilian personnel who enjoy meeting and continuing the proud tradition of supporting our veterans and their families through the Royal British Legion. In order to do  this successfully, the Newnham Branch is actively encouraging new members to help us continue to support those in need, and you don’t have to have a military background to join. If you would like to more information, please contact: –

Men’s Chairman: – Nigel Hughes 01594 516411

Ladies’ Chairman – Sue Wilks 01594 516393

Men’s and Ladies’ Secretary – Helen Foster

Membership Secretary – Steve Foster

Further information on membership can be found here-

Poppy Appeal November 2023

Armistice day was marked Last November with 2 minute silence both at the War Memorial and at the Church where a coffee morning was being held to raise more money for the Poppy Appeal.

Both events were well supported by the Newnham Residents and we would just like to thank everyone on behalf of everyone the RBL supports.


The Remembrance Service took place on Sunday 12 Nov 23 with a gathering at the War Memorial from followed by a service at the church.

Residents are thanked for  keeping the area around the memorial free from cars on both days – it was very much appreciated.

A final total of the money raised for the Poppy Appeal was £1,599.10. Thank you everyone!

The RBL completed the year by celebration Christmas at the club – a good time was had by all.

In 2024 we recognise the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and commemorate all those brave souls who took part in this massive turning point in the war and remember those who paid the ultimate price.

Sue the Women’s Section Chairman kindly lent me a book about the Wartime Memories from Newnham put together in 1986 which contains some interesting stories about those from Newnham (both during the War and afterwards) who were an integral part of the War effort.  My thanks to those who contributed and my apologies for unashamedly pinching some of those memories for this site.  All those mentioned in the book deserve an accolade but here are just a few names and thoughts.

Captain Ralph Kerr RN was lost with all but 3 of the 1500 strong crew during the sinking of HMS Hood in 1941.  His wife and children were living with his sister in The Haie at the time and the news was announced on the nine o’clock news before the relatives were informed.   His father had a window commemorating this tragedy placed in the church and is a memorial to three generations of his family who fought in the Crimean to the Second World War.

Reginald Hartley joined the Air Force when war was declared and became a Navigator and eventually took part in one of the bombing raids over Berlin on 22 Nov 1943.  Four nights after this on another mission the crew crash landed in a fog but despite 7 months of treatment in various hospitals he flew again on another 25 raids.  He spent all his leaves in Newnham with his Mum and was eventually awarded the DFC.  With an elder brother in the Army, younger brothers in the RN and merchant navy and a sister in the WRNS the family was known as The Fighting Hartleys.

Jack Hooper joined the Army in June 1940 and became a member of the Gloucestershire Regiment.  After strenuous training, he was in Rangoon when war was declared with Japan.  Eventually over run by the Japanese troops his battalion was driven all the way through Burma to Mandalay and finally to Assam.  Once they regrouped he was in charge of a group that had to keep the road open to the Railway head which was difficult due to the Monsoon weather.

Helen Hiram (nee Cottle) joined the Land Army and has brilliant memories of working the farms and eventually moving to Oaklands Park which was a hostel for Land Girls and using The George where she met her husband.

These are some images of some Armistice Day parades in Newnham between the wars.


One personal story comes from our membership secretary, Steve Foster whose Dad landed on Sword Beach on D day.   This is Corporal Herbert Alma Hope Foster and others on their first rest day after that event.  It is a Cromwell Tank and Corporal Foster is second from right.

Later on 3 Sep 1944 the first Allied vehicle to enter and relieve Brussels after a brutal campaign in France and the Low Countries was a tank belonging to No. 3 Troop, No 1 Squadron, 2nd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, Welsh Guards.  The tank Commander was Steve’s Dad and he is Front Row Left.

We will always remember the actions of our predecessors and the Battle Honours they were rightly awarded.  Gold Beach now has a memorial that is haunting…. and remembers all those who lost their lives

      Standing in the Shadow of Giants……..

The Newnham RBL marked the anniversary of D-Day by holding a 40’s themed Coffee and Tea morning at St Peter’s Church on 1 June 2024.   We thank everyone for their support on that morning and for all the donations that were made to the RBL.

The day itself was marked at the War Memorial.  


As we build towards the Poppy Appeal in November then please note we have another coffee morning on 9 November and a quiz at the Club in Newnham on 16 November and if you would like to attender next meeting on 10 July then please contact Nigel or Sue – their details are above.