What is the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League?

The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League was founded in 1921 by Field Marshal Earl Haig and General Smuts. The inaugural Conference in Capetown was attended by seven founder members from ex-service associations of the 'Old Commonwealth' countries.

The League's aim, as defined then is to: "ensure that no Commonwealth ex-serviceman or woman is without help if in need."

This aim remains the main purpose of the League today.

Why they volunteered

What made 5 million people from the Commonwealth volunteer to fight the Second World War alongside the 6 million British Forces? Who were these people and what motivated them? They were people who believed in freedom and were happy to fight alongside the 'mother country' to make this World a safer place.

They weren't called up. They didn't have to join us. They chose to.

They came from all over the Commonwealth, a million from Canada; 2.5 million from the Indian sub-continent; from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Far East and from across Africa.

The Commonwealth people were rising up to support Britain and to fight for the freedom the World enjoys today. That was 70 years ago. Today, many countries are now independent and with that independence came new governments - governments which in some cases refused to recognise the contribution made by these brave people because at the time, they were serving under the Crown.



RCEL - Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League - Registered Charity No. 231322 - Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA, United Kingdom - Telephone +44 (0)20 3207 2413

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