Our Charity

The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) provides welfare support for ex-service men and women of Commonwealth countries who at some time served the British Crown, and who are resident overseas.

Founded by Earl Haig in 1921, RCEL has 52 Member Organisations in 46 countries, covering the Caribbean, West, East and Southern Africa, the Indian sub-continent to Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Australasia. RCEL provides support in the form of welfare grants to provide the equivalent of two meals a day. The key objective is to ensure that no eligible ex-service man or woman shall be without help if in need. 

The significant investment by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in recent years has delivered improved resilience and governance and we recognise and thank them, on behalf of over 7,000 beneficiaries from across the Commonwealth who served The Crown and have been kept alive during this time. Much of what we do is delivered by volunteers, our Board of Trustees and Commonwealth Council Members in the UK, and those overseas who commit so much time and energy to helping others. 

The RCEL conducts all key management meetings in person in the UK and HQ Staff conduct several annual Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) visits to our Member Organisations to satisfy our contractual requirements under the FCDO Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA).  Please refer to our Welfare pages for further details on these visits. 

We estimated that some 3,600 beneficiaries still need support for up to a further five years, and we were delighted to have secured a further extension of 3 years to our Commonwealth Veterans Programme from April 2024 to March 2027. 

The League has committed to providing matched funding for the FCDO Commonwealth Veterans Programme and to keep our side of the arrangement, and therefore we rely on the generosity of the UK Service Charities and others who support us. 

RCEL Patronage (May 2024)

We are delighted to announce that His Majesty King Charles III has accepted the Patronage of The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League. His Majesty takes on the Patronage from the late Queen Elizabeth II who had been our Patron for more than 70 years. RCEL are proud and honoured that His Majesty wishes to continue the incredible link between the League and The Royal Family.

Thank You to our generous Funders

RCEL could not distribute aid to those who need it most without the support of FCDO, the Service Charities and those who very generously fund our work.
We would like to particularly acknowledge the following generous supporters:


RCEL - Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League - Registered Charity No. 1174874 - Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA, United Kingdom - Telephone +44 (0)20 3207 2413

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