What was the Comrades of the Great War?


The Comrades of The Great War were formed in 1917 as an association to represent the rights of ex-service men and women who had served or had been discharged from service during World War I.


Comrades of The Great War was one of the original four ex-service associations that amalgamated on Sunday 15 May 1921 to form The British Legion.

The organisation was founded by John Joseph Woodward who was also secretary and Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby as a right-wing alternative to the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (NADSS) and the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers (NRDSS). In particular, the NFDSS had put a candidate up against Derby’s son in the 1917 Liverpool Abercromby by-election. Historian Niall Barr has stated that the movement was intended to “form a buttress against Bolshevism”: its leader, Conservative Party MP Wilfrid Ashley was also secretary of the Anti-Socialist Union.


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