Branch History

April 2nd, 2009

A History of Branch 44

A branch of the Tuberculous Veterans’ Association in Vancouver, BC was sanctioned in November, 1925 by the TVA Dominion Executive in Ottawa. David McKee and Roy Lipsett, formerly President and Secretary respectively of the Tranquille Branch in 1924-25 were given the task of organizing this Branch. On Wednesday, December 9th, 1925, the first meeting of the Vancouver TVA Branch was opened, and endorsed David McKee as acting chairman and Roy Lipsett as Recording Secretary. This meeting was held in the recreation room of the TB Pavilion behind Shaughnessy hospital with over 60 members present. At that meeting, David McKee was subsequently elected as President, with W.D. Rylett as Vice President and Roy Lipsett as Secretary Treasurer.

When the TVA Branch moved to the Province Building on Hastings Street, on January 1st, 1926, W.C. Woodward of Woodward Stores Ltd., and former Colonel of the 69th Battery Overseas, arrived in the company of his Secretary to find Branch 44 President, David McKee and Secretary Treasurer, Roy Lipsett and some members of the Executive, seated on boxes or on the floor. Colonel Woodward told his Secretary to compose a list of everything needed for the Branch, and within days, a desk, a table, chairs, a filing cabinet, even a waste basket were donated.

On December 8th, 1926, the Vancouver TV (Pacific #44 Branch) Royal Canadian Legion was granted its charter.

A History of the TB Veterans

The Tuberculous Veteran’s movement started after WWI. These particular soldiers’ wounds were not broken bones, missing limbs, or mental distress. Their wounds were, for the most part, invisible. In Canada, after WWI (between 1919 and 1927) 12,000 veterans were treated for tuberculosis.

Veterans with this particular chest disability gathered forces to gain the consideration of the government – their objective being to establish a rehabilitation plan for the tuberculous veteran. However, the government did not recognize their plight, and it was because of this oversight by our Canadian government, that the Tuberculous Veterans’ Association was formed. The pension legislation enacted for the tuberculous veterans during those early years, and which remains in existence today, is testimony to the unselfish service of our World War I comrades. Countless numbers of tuberculous veterans have benefited, thanks to their endeavours.

The Tuberculous Veterans’ Association was in existence long before the Legion became the Canadian Legion and was restricted to tuberculous veterans only. On October 1st, 1925, the Tuberculous Veterans’ Association became the Tuberculous Veterans’ Section (TVS) of the Canadian Legion. At Dominion Convention, held every two years, a separate day is set aside to deal with the business of the TVA/TVS.

In 1930, dual membership for the TVS and the Canadian Legion was granted. That is to say, only a tuberculous veteran can belong to an ordinary Branch as well as a TB Veterans Branch.

During and after World War II, pulmonary tuberculosis again became a threat and, until 1940, the only cure for tuberculosis was bed rest. In December 1945, it was evident that the government was accepting responsibility for the treatment of 6,212 veterans suffering pulmonary TB and lung-related diseases.