Princess Alexandra looking at the children's book 'Mary Poppins from A-Z' at the Park Lane book fair, London, which was held in aid of the Forces Help Society.

Forces Help Society

Forces Help Society

In January 1997 SSAFA merged with the Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts Workshops.

The Forces Help Society, originally known as The Soldiers & Sailors Help Society was founded in 1899 with Princess Christian, Queen Victoria’s third daughter and a founder of the Red Cross, as its first President. It received its Charter of Incorporation in 1901. Following the creation of the Royal Air Force, the Society became the Incorporated Soldiers Sailors and Airmens Help Society.

The Society’s role was very similar to that of SSAFA and it had similar numbers of branches nationally and overseas, its own caseworkers and fundraisers, and almonised benevolence in a similar fashion. However it also had responsibility for the governance of the Lord Robert’s Workshops which had been established following the South African War to provide sheltered employment for disabled ex-servicemen.

In 1948 the Society changed its name to the Forces Help Society.  Co-operation between the Society and SSAFA began tentatively in 1988 with one branch establishing a Joint Liaison and Welfare Committee, made easier by the co-locating of both organisations in the same building. This mutual assistance, including fund-raising, continued until the formal amalgamation of the two organisation in 1997.

Pictured above is Princess Alexandra looking at the children's book 'Mary Poppins from A-Z' at the Park Lane book fair, London, which was held in aid of the Forces Help Society.