The British Legion in Fovant

After Mr. Sidney Wyatt kindly donated a poster to our group, advertising the opening of the British Legion hut in Fovant, contact was made with the British Legion in London and the following information was gained:

On July 1st 1921, an amalgamation of three similar, smaller organisations – the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers and Sailors and the Officers Association, became the British Legion. According to Royal British Legion records the branch in Fovant was opened on 14th February 1922 and closed on 14th May 1970.

Our British Legion Hut, an ex-army hut obtained when the military camps in Fovant were demolished at the end of the 1914–18 war, was situated close to the road in what is now the front garden of ‘Nutwood’ in Tisbury Road. The poster indicates that it was officially opened on Saturday December 16th – and we have established that the year was 1922. In 1964 when the site was sold to a property developer, the hut was removed and sold to a local farmer.

We know that Mrs. J. Coombes of East Farm was the mother of Lawrence, more widely known as Bob Coombes – a name and personality very familiar to some of our older residents. We know practically nothing about the rest of the people or activities mentioned on the poster. We would be delighted if anyone can enlighten us, and on cue, up comes Roy Simper whom we would like to thank for the following information:

“Mr Harry Blake was the organist in Fovant Church when I was a lad, I think he was a Salisbury man, but used to come out to the Levers at the Firs (the house behind Truckles and Hope Cottage) and Pop Lever or Fred to give him his proper name, although nobody called him that, used to take him to church as Mr Blake was totally blind, also Mr Blake used to play at lots of parties and social events, so I have no doubt that was the reference on the poster.”

The Legion Accounts Book for 1956–59, which is also in our possession, gives a very good indication of just how much the hut was used by the village people. Whist Drives, Scout meetings, Youth Club meetings and dramatic performances, W.I Concerts, Conservative Association Meetings, film shows, jumble sales, dances…. the list is endless.

We have only this one photograph of the hut but hope that others exist. If anyone has any other pictures of the hut please may we borrow and copy them to add to our collection. Great care would be taken and prompt return assured.

Oct. 2003

Content last updated
2 May 2012