104 veterans and Serving Personnel stand together in the shape of the Tommy to mark 104 years since the birth of the tradition of Remembrance and the formation of Royal British Legion Industries
The tradition of Remembrance was born 104 years ago in 1919 when the first Services were held throughout Britain and the Commonwealth. It was also the year the national veterans’ charity Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) was founded to help those returning from the First World War with TB.
On 1st November 2023 for Remembrance, and to mark the founding of RBLI, veterans who live at RBLI’s veterans’ village in Aylesford, and RBLI’s staff who have served in the Armed Forces joined with serving personnel from 36 Engineer Regiment and The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers at Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone to form a human Tommy.
It was a moving and poignant time as they thought of those they had Served with. It was a time to remember and a time to mourn, and a time of comradeship as veterans and serving personnel stood together.
Each person held one of RBLI’s Tommy military figures that was engraved with the name of a veteran that RBLI has supported with housing, employment, and welfare between the year of its inception to the present day.
One of RBLI’s veterans who took part was 92 year old Nigel Bird who served in the Grenadier Guards from 1952 to 1954. Speaking of standing with his fellow veterans and serving personnel Nigel said, “It was a moving moment as I thought of the last time I was at Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone. It was the day I was told that a colleague had been killed in Iraq and I thought of him as we stood in the Tommy formation.”
Vicky McLennan (41) a Sergeant who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a combat medic for 19 years in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan said, “Standing there I felt so proud and holding the Tommy was poignant as it symbolises everyone. It’s timeless as it symbolises people I’ve served with, and it will symbolise future members of the Armed Forces.”
If you would like to buy one of the Tommy figures that are shown in the image please go to