Haig Housing Trust, as it is today, has its roots in the charity HAOF, the Housing Association for Officers’ Families, created in 1916 by Mrs Willie James to house wounded officers returning from the Great War who had lost their livelihood, and also officers’ widows. Mrs James was a renowned Edwardian society hostess and a tireless campaigner and was able to raise a great deal of money from her rich and influential friends to build homes in Morden and other sites across the UK.
When Field Marshal Earl Haig died in 1928 a fund was created in his name by huge public subscription to provide housing for the non commissioned wounded and their families. This new charity was administered by the same executive and board of Trustees and was named the Douglas Haig Memorial Homes; later to be known as Haig Homes.
On the inception of the new charity at the Guildhall on 2nd March 1928, HRH The Prince of Wales, who served under him in war and worked with him in peace, said “it seems entirely fitting that a National Memorial to Lord Haig should be created, a memorial which will ... remind us of his outstanding qualities and preserve the continuity of the work which he had so much at heart.”
The two charities ran alongside each other until 1995 when they were officially merged; housing was now to be provided based on need rather than formerly held rank in the Armed Forces, a principle that continues today. In 2010 Haig Homes set up a sister charity to buy and adapt homes for those severely wounded in recent combat. This was also merged in 2013 and the name of the combined charities became Haig Housing Trust.
With the growth in the 1950s following WW2 and a development programme from the mid-1990s including new build, acquisition and mergers, Haig now has over 1,500 properties located mainly on small estates throughout the British Isles, each with its own history of benevolence and support. The charity has always had Royal Patronage, from the Prince of Wales in 1928 through to our current monarch HM the Queen, and is governed by a Trustee body drawn from a wide range of professional experience.