Accession consists of material documenting General Wingate Branch 256 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Included are member records of Jewish Second World War veterans and others; thank you cards written by students to members of the veterans; a pamphlet titled Portraits of Bravery that contains portraits of veterans, a short history of the branch, and a brief biography of Major General Orde Charles Wingate (1903-44); a certificate issued by the Royal Canadian Legion establishing a ladies' auxiliary within its General Wingate Branch; and a certificate issued by the Canadian Legion establishing General Wingate Branch, Ontario No. 2561.
The Jewish Brigade was a member of the Great War Association in the 1920s. After its first president was installed in the early 1930s, the Royal Canadian Legion granted a charter for a Jewish veterans' branch. The brigade was renamed the General Wingate Branch in the mid-1940s after the British army officer Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO. Although Major Wingate was not Jewish, he was a passionate Zionist, hence the name.
At first, the branch met at a veteran’s hall at Crawford and College Streets in Toronto, but later purchased its own house at 1610 Bathurst Street. In 1968, the branch moved to Eglinton Avenue West. It was then located at the Zionist Centre on Marlee Avenue.
The branch held an annual memorial march and service at the Mt. Sinai Cemetery, and distributed poppies to raise funds for veterans and their families, hospitals and medical research. Members also gave speeches at schools on Remembrance Day. It closed in September 2018 after more than eighty years.