RSL state secretary Brigadier Michael Annett CSC and branch president Arthur Owen
On Wednesday 26 February, members of the Red Shield Sub Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) gathered at Waverley Temple Corps (Vic.) for the branch’s final meeting.
Founded in 1964, the branch not only provided a meeting place for Salvationists who had served in the services of Australia and allied nations, but raised significant funds for the support of returned service men and women.
During the meeting, a number of people reflected on the work of the branch and the times of fellowship that they had been able to share.
President Arthur Owen welcomed attendees and spoke about the tireless work of office bearers and members and how it was them who had made the branch such a success, saying that the key was the spirit of giving that was always present.
He made special mention of branch secretary Patricia Keech and her ongoing work over the past years and her efforts to ensure that the history of the branch would be preserved and existing memorials moved to Howard House.
Patricia also spoke about her memories of the branch, and explained that members would be able to transfer to other branches of the RSL. She was presented with a bouquet as a token of appreciation from the members.
Lieut-Colonel Rusty Adams spoke of his own cherished memories of the branch, and paid tribute to the many members who had contributed to the branch over the years, such as Edward (Eddie) Cooper, Majors Walter and Jean Smart, David Llewellyn and Brigadier William Shaw.
Major Wayne Pittaway then thanked the members and officer bearers on behalf of the National Commanders, and spoke about the unique place that The Salvation Army has in the hearts of Australians, especially those in the defence forces.
State Secretary Brigadier Michael Annett CSC spoke on behalf of the RSL, and outlined some of the contributions the branch had made over the years, thanking them for the decision to roll over funds to the RSL’s welfare programs. In his words, the branch’s 54 years was an “honourable story with an honourable close”.
After Brigadier Annett was presented with the branch charter by the president, chaplain Lieut-Colonel Edwin Hayes closed in prayer, reciting the Ode before the meeting was concluded with the playing of the Last Post.