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.
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.