Meet our Veterans
Want to hear more from the veterans at the heart of everything we do? By joining the Tommy Club you can view our exclusive new Champions Area. Every month we will share the stories of the brave men and women who risked their lives for our precious freedoms – available only to you, our growing community of Tommy Club Champions!
Joan Edwards now 96, moved into Royal British Legion Industries’ assisted living accommodation Queen Elizabeth Court in 2015 after she had a fall which took place when she was chasing off a burglar at a time when her husband was in a home with dementia.
She joined the forces and became a leading aircraft woman in the RAF, serving from 1942 to 1946. “I’m sure people were celebrating and the pubs were full,” she says remembering VE Day. “My step-father was an engineer in the First World War. He was still having great trouble from having been gassed in the First World War. I just knew at the end of the second, he didn’t want any more war. People should consider themselves lucky living in times of peace.”
John Riggs, now 100-years-old joined the Army just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. He served throughout the Middle East, rising to the rank of captain in the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire regiment and joined the Chindits – a special operations unit formed to fight behind enemy lines to protect India, then part of the British Empire, from Japanese invasion. John is believed to be one of the few remaining Chindits. John has been living on RBLI’s Aylesford village, which provides homes and welfare to more than 300 veterans and their families, since 1956. After suffering a stroke in 2018, John moved to the charity’s high-dependency nursing home Gavin Astor House from its independent living accommodation Queen Elizabeth Court. John was the first of 15 residents to move into the charity’s new £2m state-of-the-art care facility which was officially opened during November 2019 as part of the charity’s Centenary Year.
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