Most people would associate the sale of red poppies in Birmingham with the Royal British Legion. However, the Legion was not the only organisation involved in this charitable work. In 1921 at the behest of Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, William Adlington Cadbury, a new organisation was formed to promote, coordinate and administer the sale of red poppies in Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee worked in collaboration with the Legion to organise the Poppy Appeal as well as to distribute grants to other ex-services organisations including the Lord Kitchener Memorial Home, the Regular Forces Employment Association, the South African War Veterans Association, the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) and the Royal British Legion.
For over eighty years The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee played a major role in the Birmingham Poppy Appeal until 2004/2005 when its functions were absorbed by the Legion. The Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee was formally deregistered by the Charity Commission on 09 August 2011 bringing an end to its valuable, and often overlooked, contribution to charity in Birmingham.
The records of the Birmingham Ex-Services Appeals Committee were kindly deposited with Birmingham Archives, Heritage and Photography in 2012. They can now be viewed in the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research at the Library of Birmingham.
Kevin Roberts, Archivist