LEGION Scotland branches from across the country came together on Sunday June 27 at Dryburgh Abbey to mark its centenary and to commemorate its founder, Field Marshal Earl Haig, who is buried with his wife, Lady Haig, at the abbey.

The belated ceremony, which celebrated the organisation’s founding in 1921, had been postponed due to the pandemic.

The Jedburgh Royal British Legion Pipe Band led a parade from Dryburgh Abbey Hotel to the 12th century abbey, with standard bearers from across the country.

Legion Scotland cetenary celebration at Dryburgh AbbeyLegion Scotland cetenary celebration at Dryburgh Abbey

The service was jointly led by Revd Dr Karen K Campbell, Legion Scotland’s National Chaplain, with Revd Michael Scouler, and Revd Sheila Moir, of Dryburgh District Churches.

The Joint Lowland and Highland Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland provided music with local support from the Opera East Lothian choir.

Earl Haig’s granddaughter, Sarah Lopes, speaking on behalf of her brother Lord Astor of Hever, paid tribute.

She said: “My grandfather recognised that on their return from the frontline, men needed employment more than charity, and he became very vocal on their behalf.

“My grandmother was equally dedicated to relief work; in 1926 she set up the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

“I’m sure that Douglas Haig would have been pleased that the two Legions on both side of the Border have done so much to help those who have put service before self in defending the freedoms of our United Kingdom.”

She joined Baroness Goldie and representatives from Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland to lay wreaths on their graves.

Legion Scotland cetenary celebration at Dryburgh AbbeyLegion Scotland cetenary celebration at Dryburgh Abbey

The service concludes a chapter in Legion Scotland’s history, as the national Founder’s Day event has been held at the Abbey since 1949.

Sir Alastair Irwin, Legion Scotland’s former President, said: “As grateful as we are to our Founder, we feel that the time has come to honour his memory in a different way.

“Each year we will mark the day of his death by laying a wreath at his memorial plaque in the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle.”

Dr Claire Armstrong, Chief Executive of Legion Scotland, said: “In June 1921, Earl Haig brought together veterans support organisations from across the country to form the British Legion Scotland, now known as Legion Scotland.

As its first President, he worked tirelessly to champion the needs of the Armed Forces community.

Legion Scotland cetenary celebration at Dryburgh Abbey

He also launched the Poppy Day Appeal the same year, the start of modern remembrance and providing much-needed support for veterans and their families. “Today was an important milestone in our history, giving us a chance to reflect on this legacy and the improvements in the care of countless veterans over the past century.

“The work of Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland is just as vital today, providing comradeship and welfare support for tens of thousands of former servicemen and women and their families.”