In 1930 he was elected as vice chairman and in 1932 became chairman and their representative on the Kent Council of the British Legion.
He was always trying to encourage people to join their local branch as it seems membership numbers throughout the country were not as good as they should be. He wrote the following letter to the local newspaper, The Kent & Sussex Courier, which was published on Armistice Day 1932 :
He said that he was greatly honoured to reply to the toast, for the Legion was an organisation that he had very much at heart and one to which he gave such spare time as he was able.
“You do not need me to tell you that the Poppy Day collections are the life blood of the Legion. Without these we can do absolutely nothing and there is no need for me to tell you that unfortunately, as the years go on, the need does not grow less. Any benevolent secretary will tell you that he has probably more cases of sickness and general distress than ever before. For the next five or six years that distress is going to increase.”
The Kent & Sussex Courier reported : Major LESLIE BIRD, county vice-chairman, in response, struck a serious note with regard to National Service. In a speech, he said that in 1918 they thought that they had finished the 'war to end war’ and they had hoped that their sacrifices might have resulted in peace and happiness for the next generation. It is possible, of course, that European affairs have been mishandled since 1918, but it is certain that circumstances have been such that no one at that time could have foreseen the subsequent trend of international affairs. At any rate, the present result was that our country, probably for the first time in its very long history, was facing facts and every man and woman was called to service, not for a war of aggression, but for the preservation of peace. He said, "This call to service is, as you will agree, characteristic of our methods in that it is voluntary and not compulsory, and if it fails it seems to me that democracy as we know it has failed also."
So far as British Legion members and ex-Service men were concerned he thought the majority had not waited for that call, but had enrolled in the various defence services last September or before then. Theirs was essentially a patriotic organisation and the action of the members in enrolling was only to be expected. "I am rather wondering," he commented, "if that example is always being followed by the younger generation. In the drill hall at Tunbridge Wells I see many young men keen to do their bit. but going about the country I do find too many young men who are not realising their responsibilities ........ We must have men trained now, and we must realise our responsibilities now.”
Six weeks later ........