On the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, we want to recognise both the sacrifice of those officers who died, as well as the struggles faced by officers on returning home to a changed world. Of those who survived the hardships of war, many were left without jobs or access to the financial support available to other Service personnel. The impact upon them and their families was devastating.
Recognising the great sacrifice these men had made, and determined that something should be done, Field Marshal Earl Haig galvanised support from the City of London. He, together with Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty and Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, set about creating a charity dedicated to the needs of officers.
In 1920 the Officers’ Association (OA) was founded, with King George V becoming patron of the organisation. One year later, when the Royal British Legion was formed, the OA handed over their own fundraising department to form the basis of the Poppy Appeal and, in return, received a share of the funds raised by the Legion. To this day, the OA receives 7.5% of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal Street Collection.
Although the services of the OA were originally anticipated to be needed for only three to five years, our support continues today.
How we provide support now
In the decades following the founding of the OA we have supported thousands of former officers and their dependants. Although the reason we exist remains the same, our approach to supporting former officers reflects their changing needs.
As the centenary of our formation draws closer we are reminded of the role the OA plays in supporting former officers. In 2016-17 we helped 4,782 officers with employment support, including one-to-one career consultations and networking events. Our Grants and Welfare team dealt with over 1,000 cases, providing advice, signposting and vital financial support.
Image credit: © IWM (Q 6793)