SUB BRANCH MEMBERSHIP

The following are eligible to join the Merimbula RSL Sub branch:

  • Any person who has served in any of the Australian Defence Forces in either of  the two World Wars or in any theatre of conflict.
  • Any person who has served for not less than six months in the Regular or Reserve Forces of the ADF or of any country not an enemy of Australia. Shorter service can also qualify if discharge was honourable and for reasons beyond the individual’s control.
  • Any Australian citizen who has served overseas for not less than six months as a member of an approved Peacekeeping force.
  • Any Australian or allied citizen who served with or in support of the ADF or Allied Forces in any theatre of conflict or during World War II, as a member of the Australian Women’s Land Army or a Voluntary Aid Detachment in a Military of Convalescent Hospital.

The Merimbula Sub-Branch meets every 3rd Monday of the month at 2.00pm, all visiting members of the League are very welcome to attend.

RSL SUB BRANCH CONTACTS:

Allan Browning (President) 02 6495 1828

Tony Toussaint (Secretary) 6495 1693

Graeme Williams (Treasurer) 6495 6975

Kevin Webb (Membership enquiries) 6495 6975

RSL NSW website | http://www.rslnsw.org.au/

SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL RSL (RETURNED SERVICES LEAGUE)

In 1915, in at least four of the Australian States (QLD, NSW, VIC and SA), there had come into being Returned Soldier’s Associations. These had sprung up out of the Returned Soldiers Clubrooms provided by public subscription for invalids from, first, New Guinea, and later, Egypt and Gallipoli. These clubs had become a gathering place for returned men and a centre for discussions regarding the serious problems, which they faced. Many had been seriously wounded or they were in extreme ill health because of their war service, and they were faced with a lack of organized Repatriation facilities.

The Repatriation system, at best, was inefficient and there were practically no medical services available.  At an informal meeting of one representative of each of the four States, held in Sydney on the 10th May, 1916, it was agreed to hold a more representative meeting in Melbourne in an endeavour to reach agreement regarding the formation of an Australia-wide Returned Soldier’s Association, as it was realized that without unity nothing would ever be attained. This meeting was held from the 6th to 12th June, 1916, at which a Provisional Constitution and Statement of Aims and Objects was drawn up for the formation of the League as we know it today. It was also at that meeting that the name – Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) was suggested.

In 1940 the League changed its name to include “Airmen’s” thus becoming Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airman’s Imperial League of Australia. In 1965, the name was changed to the Returned Services League of Australia and in 1990, to the Returned & Services League of Australia. As stated, it was at the first meeting that the League, as we know it today, was born and the formation date for historical purposes is stated to be 6th June 1916. Australian service men

Australian service men

In 1916 there were no welfare services such as we know today, so the League committed itself to provide for the sick, wounded and needy among those who have served and their dependants. Today the RSL has an Advocacy, [pensions and Welfare section that caters for members and non-members].

With over 200,000 members nationally and 87,000 members in NSW 400 Sub Branches, the League remains as relevant today as in 1916.


THE PRICE OF LIBERTY IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE

In Flanders’ Fields

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We loved, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders’ fields.

John Macrae