2018 saw widespread acts of remembrance and recognition of the sacrifice made by a generation of men and women in the First World War. ViceAdmiral Sir Richard Ibbotson, the Senior President of the Officers’ Association, and I were privileged to attend the centenary commemorations of the Battle of Amiens; for me, there could have been no starker reminder of the circumstances which gave rise to the founding of our charity.
Scarcely a community was left untouched by the loss of life. The economic and emotional consequences of the war were devastating. In the absence of a national welfare system, many charities, some already in existence and others newly created, stepped in to help those in need. There was massive unemployment and the Government set up an “Out of Work Donation” scheme, but commissioned officers were excluded from it. Field Marshal Earl Haig recognised the plight of former officers and their families and became the driving force behind the establishment of the Officers’ Association (OA).