How White­hall banned Le­gion

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

THE Royal Bri­tish Le­gion was banned from sell­ing pop­pies in Govern­ment build­ings in the years fol­low­ing the end of the First World War.

Civil ser­vants did not want to be pres­sured into sup­port­ing the ap­peal, ac­cord­ing to Govern­ment pa­pers ob­tained by The Mail on Sun­day.

Both the Trea­sury and the Colo­nial Of­fice re­fused to al­low poppy-sell­ers to set up stalls at the en­trances of their of­fices be­cause they feared it would cre­ate an ‘awk­ward’ prece­dent.

The Le­gion’s first poppy ap­peal in 1921 was an enor­mous suc­cess and the event raised the then stag­ger­ing sum of £106,000.

But civil ser­vants snubbed the Le­gion in 1924 just as the char­ity was try­ing to build up sup­port. In one in­ter­nal White­hall memo dated Septem­ber 16, 1924, a Trea­sury official told a col­league in an­other depart­ment there ‘is a good deal to be said against ad­mit­ting strangers within our doors’, be­fore sug­gest­ing it might be worth try­ing to find some neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity about the char­ity.

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