Welfare Tours 2012

Secretary General

The visit to Zambia was most timely. RCEL’s recently appointed Council member, Lt Col Mike Reeve-Tucker, had arrived in Zambia in February 2012. Mike wasted no time in making contact with our associate organisation, the Ex-Serviceman’s League of Zambia (ESLZ). On their books they have 407 Veterans and 31 Widows recorded.

A very good working relationship now exists between him and the Chairman of the Interim Veterans Committee, Brigadier General Masonda, and there is a very positive mood about the future for ESLZ. A number of initiatives have been discussed, including establishing regional committees and a national register of war veterans and widows. Welfare payments have resumed.

The success story which started in 2006 has been the alliance forged between RCEL and Zimbabwe a National Emergency (ZANE) in the co-ordination of welfare grants to military veterans and their widows. This year RCEL, through ZANE, have distributed over £350,000 in grants to those most desperately in need and it is unlikely to be reduced in the near future. The adoption of the US$ had helped everyone budget and plan, but has significantly increased the cost of everything, especially for those living in the care homes.

The South African Legion (SAL) represents RCEL’s interests in-country and very efficiently deals with the increasing number of individual welfare cases that are funded through our Agency work. In 2000 we processed 62 grants totalling £18,775 to ex-servicemen and widows; in 2012, Agency grants totalling over £107,000 were provided to 172 beneficiaries. Clearly, the demand is not diminishing and the services of RCEL and SAL will be required for the foreseeable future.

Controller Finance

The Montserrat Legion has 9 registered eligible Veterans; 3 of these receive welfare grants from the Royal Canadian Legion. Mr Lionel Nanton MBE (ex RAF who returned to Montserrat in 1967) has been the Honorary Secretary for many years. Lionel has been wheelchair bound for a number of years because of back problems and required surgical treatment which was not available locally. In December 2012, RCEL in partnership with the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, The Royal British Legion and The Royal British Legion Industries arranged funding and accommodation for Lionel to return to the UK and have surgery at Kings College Hospital in London; the surgery was a success and he returned to Montserrat in April 2013.

The Trinidad & Tobago Legion have 70 identified Veterans and Widows; 19 Veterans and 9 Widows received welfare support from the Royal Canadian Legion in 2012. Mr Emmanuel M Bailey who served with the RAF during WW2 has been supported by the RAFBF since 1995; he currently resides in the Marion Villa Residential Home.

The Guyana Legion have 41 registered eligible WW2 Veterans who are now in their 80’s and 90’s. The Royal Canadian Legion provided financial support for 40 of these Veterans in 2012 and 15 Widows who were also in need. The National Veterans Rest Home which came to fruition mainly due to the efforts of the Guyana Legion President (Colonel Carl Morgan), was opened in March 2012 and one of the first residents was one of our WW2 Veterans, Vernon Cheesewright who served with 4th Battalion The Caribbean Regiment and saw service in Egypt and Italy between 1941 and 1947.

Controller Welfare

The Indian Ex-Services League have 13,800 Veterans and Widows who are eligible for assistance. IESL is very well organised and efficiently disburses grants to those most in need. RCEL assisted over 3,700 beneficiaries in 2012 who each received a small grant.

The Chennai office of the Ex-Services Association India administer and care for our beneficiaries in Bangalore. There are 32 registered beneficiaries; 28 widows, 3 ex-servicemen and 1 ex-servicewomen. The widows are supported by a grant from the Women’s Section of The Royal British Legion. The Indian Red Cross Home has been the residence for one of our eligible ex-servicemen for a number of years; Mr Dass who is 92 years old is now confined to his bed.

Glenn and Marion Doll who between them have served ESA & RCEL for over 20 years, very effectively operate the Chennai office and care for a total of 91 Anglo-Indian ex-servicemen, servicewomen and widows throughout the Chennai and Deccan area (plus the 32 in Bangalore).

THE GAMBIA 30 January-3 February 2012
Controller Welfare

The Gambia Legion had identified 837 eligible Veterans and Widows at the time of the visit and the SCOWP funds provided by RCEL were utilised to assist 134 of the most needy.

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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