ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION,
The initial meeting of the Crescent Legion Branch 240 was held in the Crescent Beach fire hall July 14, 1951. Founding members were D.W. Brown, F. Fowler, H.S. Johannson, W. Normoyle, G.C. Rydal, S.V. Rigby and R.D. Tearoe. The Ladies' Auxiliary of Branch #240 was organized at a meeting in the same hall August 23rd 1951. There were sixteen Ladies present, Mrs. Edna Johannson was elected as president. The Crescent Legion and the Ladies' Auxiliary received their charters at a meeting in the Elgin Hall, October 4, 1951.
The present building site was purchased in 1953. Building began in 1954 with volunteer labor and salvaged lumber. The Ladies' Auxiliary provided hot coffee, sandwiches and carried water. By 1955, the outside was completed and the grounds leveled. The first meeting on record was held December 13, 1955. The official opening of the hall was held January 27, 1956.
This picture is taken from an old newspaper clipping of hall in 1956.
In 1959 the first bond issue was paid off with many bondholders donating their bonds to the Branch. The Branch applied and was granted a liquor license. A grand opening of the bar and lounge took place September 8, 1962. Many local dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting.
This picture is of the official ribbon cutting for the opening of the Crescent Branch bar in 1962.
Unfortunately the bar took the place of the ladies' kitchen. The one the ladies received in its place, they described as a hole in the wall where two round and fully packed individuals couldn't pass. This was remedied seventeen years later when the Branch put on an addition, which included a larger kitchen and lounge.
This picture is of the turning of the sod by Branch President Milt Whitlock and Ladies Auxiliary President Joan Rivett for the first extension, the new kitchen and lounge, for the Crescent Legion in 1979.
In 1990 another wing was added to the building to accommodate billiard tables, dart boards, wheelchair accessible washrooms and two BS tables that had been fashioned out of tree trunks by a local artisan. The entrance to the building was relocated and the bar moved so it could serve both sides of the building. BC Gaming Commission's pull-tabs and Keno had been installed for the benefit of members. Later, after inside smoking restrictions were imposed by the city, an outside patio was added where those who still cared to smoke could go and enjoy a pint under overhead heaters in winter or shaded by umbrellas in summer.
Crescent Beach did not have a cenotaph. The nearest one was six kilometers away in White Rock. The Branch in its early years had a reasonable facsimile constructed out of wood and painted. This cenotaph was setup on the stage where wreaths and poppies could be placed. Remembrance Day ceremonies were then conducted indoors out of the weather. These services proved very popular. The building was packed to capacity every 11th of November. In 1986 the Branch had a cenotaph erected and dedicated on Legion property.
Services are still conducted indoors but those who desire can go outside and sit under a canopy to watch the laying of wreaths and poppies. The annual poppy drive, conducted by Branch members and the Ladies Auxiliary, sees donations increasing by approximately ten percent each year as the population of Surrey keeps growing by leaps and bounds.
The Crescent Beach Legion Pipe Band was formed in 2000. Since then it has earned many honors and has proved itself to be an asset to the Branch. It has grown to fifteen members.
The photo of the World War I vets contained some notable Crescent citizens. Stan Herron, has a park at the entrance of Crescent Beach named after him. Sid Rigby was postmaster during the World War II years and was a noted hand writing expert. Bill Wickham was the village carpenter who helped build the Crescent Legion, Camp Alexander, the Lynch Gate, the first church and many Crescent Beach homes. Bill Wickham also has the lane which ran back of his house on McBride named after him.
Branch membership in 2005 averaged around 850. The Ladies Auxiliary membership was 57. Over the years, the Crescent Legion and Ladies' Auxiliary have honored their commitments by supporting veteran's housing, care facilities, hospitals, schools, community groups and other miscellaneous appeals too numerous to mention. Many Legions have failed, but due to good management, the hard work of its members and especially the Ladies' Auxiliary, Crescent Legion Branch 240 has survived.
Further Information may be acquired by phoning the Crescent Legion canteen at 604-535-1043 or the office at 604-535-1080