Our View (7-8-2018): Support RSL clubs

IT was heartening to see a good turnout at the march and ceremony for Wallaroo RSL sub-branch’s 100th anniversary on Sunday, August 5.

The sub-branch turned 100 last Wednesday, August 1, and members organised a range of activities for the five days leading up to and including the ceremony.

There will be several more centenary celebrations for local sub-branches in the near future — Moonta already has one planned — and I hope public interest continues to grow.

Every year local dawn services are absolutely packed. This shows the community’s appreciation for those who served our country in war and the characteristics they displayed which would form our national identity.

Sub-branch events allow people to focus more specifically on locals who paid the supreme sacrifice.

For example, a book entitled Wallaroo Sub-branch Centenary, released to coincide with the 100th anniversary, features the town’s entire enlistment history — 278 names — as well as extensive research and stories about locals at war. The book remains for sale at the sub-branch and I’d expect anyone with Wallaroo forebears involved in war, or who are interested in military and local history, will want a copy.

Author Craig Wharton has supplied profiles of Wallaroo soldiers for the paper every few weeks this year. Like the war documents provided by Dr Don Longo in our monthly News from the Front series, each article has been fascinating reading. The most recent shared the story of Isaac Leonard McLean, whose courage I could barely believe. An officer noted Isaac’s bravery and planned to nominate him for the Victoria Cross, but was killed before he had the chance.

Such history is well worth retaining.

As local RSL sub-branches contend with ageing memberships, including the last of our World War II veterans, they deserve our support.

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