Special service to mark Legion centenary

A special service to commemorate Field Marshall Earl Haig will be held at Dryburgh Abbey on Sunday.

Baroness Goldie, who will attend Sunday's event at Dryburgh Abbey.
Baroness Goldie, who will attend Sunday's event at Dryburgh Abbey.

Marking 101 years since Earl Haig founded British Legion Scotland, the event will be attended by former leader of the Scottish Conservatives and minister of state for defence in the House of Lords, Baroness Goldie, as well as the Haig family and veterans.

The belated ceremony to mark the centenary of the organisation will be the last major scale event at the Abbey, bringing together Legion branches from across the Borders and the Lothians.

A pipe band will lead a parade from Dryburgh Abbey Hotel to the Abbey, the final resting place of Earl Haig and his wife, who founded Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

Sir Alastair Irwin KCB CBE and Lord Astor of Hever will address the service of remembrance.

Members of Earl Haig’s family, and representatives from Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, will then join others in laying wreaths on their graves.

Dr Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “This day marks an important milestone in our history, as we commemorate the life of our founder, Earl Haig and the centenary of Legion Scotland’s formation. This will be the last time we hold this major event, reflecting how the way we remember evolves over time.

“In June 1921, Earl Haig brought together veterans support organisations from across the country to form the British Legion Scotland, now known as Legion Scotland. As its first president, he worked tirelessly to champion the needs of the Armed Forces community.

“He also launched the Poppy Day Appeal the same year, the start of modern remembrance and providing vital support for veterans and their families. His wife went on to found Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, and their legacy continues to this day.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Baroness Goldie, members of the Haig family, and Legion branches from across the Lothians and the Borders. While this concludes a chapter for us, we will continue to remember Earl Haig in future years with a wreath-laying at the Scottish National War Memorial and tributes at our annual conference.”