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Branch 142, Dunnville
02 February 2013 - Issue #01


Branch 142 is celebrating its 86th birthday this year.  The Legion has been the centre for community activities since its birth in 1927 when the original charter designated the Branch as “Haldimand County Ontario No. 142 Branch of the British Empire Service League” until 1929 when the officers elected at the first meeting were President George R.S. Wilson, Charter President of what is now Branch 142 Royal Canadian Legion; First Vice President and Treasurer William Robbie, Secretary and Membership Chairman, Harry Gardner.  The first meetings were held in the Town Hall or the Haldimand Rifle Company Armoury on Broad Street.

The first Legion Hall in Dunnville was on the third floor of the Newman Block at 162 Queen Street.  A few months after the Charter was received in August 1929, membership increased from the original fifteen to eighty-eight.  The Queen Street quarters soon became too small to handle the many functions that were put on by the Branch and in 1934 the second floor of the old Opera House on Lock Street was acquired.

Fire gutted the building in 1937 when many of the Legion’s records and artifacts were lost.  After utilizing the Armoury on Broad Street for a short time, the Branch moved to the third floor in the Bank of Commerce building on Chestnut Street.  These quarters were occupied until the present building, an empty garage on Queen Street, was purchased and renovated by volunteers in 1943.  A commercial store and auditorium were erected alongside the building in 1950.  The Liquor Control Board operated the store until 1981 when they moved into a new store.  The main floor was completely renovated and is now used for bingo, in-house activities, special occasion rentals and home to Harvard Squadron 611 Air Cadets.

In 1972 an addition to the clubroom was erected and named “The W.C. McCullagh Lounge”.  It contains photos and memorabilia of its namesake, artifacts of our Veterans and the Great Wars and until recently, the old upright piano.  Every Wednesday afternoon, we gather round the old girl (the piano that is) and have a wonderful time singing the ‘oldies’ – come in and join us.  Everyone is welcome.  Marie Glaves leads us all in song and keeps us laughing with stories of her latest adventure.  Doug Elliot with his banjo has become a regular during the summer months and of course Betty McCullagh, who has a personal interest in the lounge, entertains us with everything from Bach to Boogie!

Since the Branch’s beginning, there has been 54 Presidents from R.J. Wilson to Garry Frost at the present who is serving his second 2 year term after weaning himself in with a single term and whom we hope can continue for many years to come.  The Branch, under his faithful guidance, has undergone many changes and improvements.  If you haven’t been in to the Branch in a while, you may not recognize it.  All the buildings, inside and out, from top to bottom, have had a complete re-do with many more upgrades still in the planning stage.  Your support at our special events has helped to make this all possible.  By the time you read this, you will have heard about the great time had by all at our Annual Valentine’s Dance.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the St. Patrick’s Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner on Saturday, March 16th and on Good Friday, March 29th, our famous Perch Dinner will kick-off the season.  Check our ‘calendar of events’ for all of our special occasions.

There is always something going on at the Legion; cards, cribbage, shuffleboard, darts and 2 pool tables.  We have 2 of the nicest banquet halls in town available for rent by calling the Branch 905-774-5942.  Every Friday Night is Karaoke following a homemade dinner for only $5.00 per person.  Take your ‘sweetie’ out for dinner and join the fun.   Feel free to wander in, have a look around and join in the camaraderie.  I just know that you too, will want to become a member of the Legion and be a part of the largest military club in Canada and if you are a veteran, a representative from Department of Veterans’ Affairs comes in to the Branch one day of every ‘even’ month to address any concerns that you might have.  Call our Veterans’ Affairs Officer, Cmrd. Murray Roberts at 905-701-1638 and he will arrange for a one-on-one meeting with her.
A letter has just gone out to all Veterans that we would like you to sign and return to Branch 142 that will then be forwarded to our Member of Parliament to act in her capacity to increase the support for funerals and burials available to Veterans from the Last Post Fund.  Our Veterans and their families deserve to be treated with respect and dignity for their service to our country.

Lynda Roberts, lynda.roberts243@gmail.com  
Public Relations Officer  
Branch 142, Dunnville