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Disappointment over Legion closure


Dear Editor, I write regarding the recent closure of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 building in Lewisporte. As a very proud World War II veteran, and founding member of Branch No. 31, I feel it is quite important that our citizens, and especially our young people who may have had little or no exposure to the Legion and its activities, are aware of the important contributions our branch and its individual members have made to Lewisporte and surrounding communities over the past half-century. On May 18, 1953 16 ex-servicemen (nine World War I veterans, seven World War II veterans) held a meeting. The first meeting was chaired by the late Comrade Harold Sceviour. Following some discussion, we made a motion to apply to the Provincial Command in St. John's asking permission to form a Legion Branch in Lewisporte, which after some time was granted.

Letters to the editor - Dear Editor,

I write regarding the recent closure of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 building in Lewisporte. As a very proud World War II veteran, and founding member of Branch No. 31, I feel it is quite important that our citizens, and especially our young people who may have had little or no exposure to the Legion and its activities, are aware of the important contributions our branch and its individual members have made to Lewisporte and surrounding communities over the past half-century.

On May 18, 1953 16 ex-servicemen (nine World War I veterans, seven World War II veterans) held a meeting. The first meeting was chaired by the late Comrade Harold Sceviour. Following some discussion, we made a motion to apply to the Provincial Command in St. John's asking permission to form a Legion Branch in Lewisporte, which after some time was granted.

After many unsuccessful attempts to acquire a building to hold our meetings, we had a small building built. When we formed our Branch No. 31, we applied to the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation in St. John's to sell wines and spirits. Our requests were turned down several times. We then decided to hold a plebiscite in town to get the town citizens opinion, and with only a few minor objections, the majority won. The request for the liquor license was granted to the Branch.

The first donations made by Branch No. 31 were $30,000 to help start the construction of North Haven Manor, and $17,000 for the purchase of a van for the manor. We made a lot of donations to various charities, etc. over the years, but never reported much in the local paper or the Legion Magazine.

We also sponsored the 617 Dambuster Squadron (Air Cadets) for 44 years, giving an average donation of $6,000 a year. On a personal note and because I participated in the 617 Dambuster Squadron for 43 years, I am pleased to hear that the Kinsmen Club of Notre Dame has taken over the sponsorship of the squadron. (The Kinsmen are a good bunch of boys.)

Our by-laws state we have to have 15 members for a general meeting and nine members for an executive meeting. In September 2004, our membership printout showed 53 ordinary members and 40 associates paid up. Although attendance at dinner functions was very good, there were times we couldn't get enough for a meeting.

Also, Memorial Day/Canada Day services are poorly attended by Legion members. Since the start-up of the branch, 112 veterans have passed away. I know that there are a lot of members who had fathers, grandfathers in the service; however, they fail to show up at these services.

I have to say that president Russell Moyles and his executive have tried their best to keep her going, but due to the high cost of maintenance for the building (insurance, heat and light, salaries, etc.), the Legion building has been closed. However, to date we still hold our Charter, Branch No. 31.

I am very disappointed to see the closure of the Legion building after 55 years.

G. H. Heath, C.D.

Lewisporte

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