More than 100 people braved the cold Saturday to help the Bob Richardson Branch # 496, Royal Canadian Legion, Sydenham celebrate its 70th anniversary with a hot lunch and speeches.
“We’re doing quite well,” said President George Kish, a Legion member for 40 years, 20 years at the Sydenham branch. “We have 170 members now and 22 years ago, the first time I was president, we only had 118.
“We have more and more vets coming in to help.”
The Sydenham branch participates in many of the Legion activities and programs including the PTSD program and getting homeless veterans off the street. It is also quite active in the community with its poem, poster and essay contests and the hall is a busy place with many groups and individuals renting it out for their activities.
The Sydenham branch was granted its official charter on Jan. 14, 1949. The inaugural organizational meeting took place in the basement of St. Paul’s church in October of 1948. The current hall was purchased in 1965 but was not officially opened until 1972. Prior to that, the branch met on the top floor of the local blacksmith’s shop, also located on Amelia Street.
In 1960, the same year that the cenotaph was dedicated, the branch took on the name Bob Richardson Branch, for Robert Miles Richardson.
Richardson was a Sydenham resident born in 1874. Richardson joined the Canadian infantry in January of 1916 at the age of 41.
He served at both Vimy Ridge and Passchendale with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles and was wounded in December 1917.
He was then repatriated to Canada where he lived until his death in May 1949.