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RSL doors open

Friday, 24th May, 2019

Ex-servicemen Jake Peters, RSL secretary Allan Turner and Ian Polanski encourage other ex-servicemen to join and strengthen the local defence force community spirit. PICTURE: Myles Burt Ex-servicemen Jake Peters, RSL secretary Allan Turner and Ian Polanski encourage other ex-servicemen to join and strengthen the local defence force community spirit. PICTURE: Myles Burt

The RSL is looking to unify all ex-servicemen groups under one banner to attract more members and strengthen the local defence community.

Ex-soldier Reg Garrard said the defence force community in Broken Hill is currently fractured, due to the varied ex-service groups, leading to a reduction of cohesion, communication and direction.

“You’ve got all your different organisations and it’s so fractured, they’re all trying to achieve the same goal but they won’t speak to each other,” Mr Garrard said.

“We’ve only decided to do this in the last month or two and we’re hitting walls everywhere we go.

“I found out that one of the people that live in Broken Hill actually went out and joined an RSL from away.

“To me that’s just wrong, you’ve got to get over personalities, whatever happened to the phrase ‘adapt and overcome?’.”

Mr Garrard said the RSL is in need of unity regardless of a member’s ties to the Defence Force. Especially as people who have served across the Defence Force hold strong ties to one another and share many similar experiences.

“We’re a community within a community, defence has always been that way,” Mr Garrard said.

“We’ve got our own language and I’ve found before if I go out with all my mates from home, I start talking and they just look at me like I’m stupid because they’ve got no idea what I’m saying.

“If I ask you have you got any goffers for sale, the normal person would not have a clue that I’m talking about a can of Coke.

“Navy call its cordial limers and sauce redders, these are service-specific terminologies.

“But it doesn’t really matter, because once you get down to the RSL whether you’re a WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor veteran or served within peace time, we all know what you’re talking about.

“There’s a lot of camaradarie regardless of what theatre of war you went to, regardless of what year you grew up in, you’ve all gone through the same type of stuff.”

Ex-solider Ian Polanski said the local RSL is run by a majority of Vietnam era veterans who are looking for fresh faces to eventually take the reins.

“They’re getting too old, as they say, to be running it and need someone to start stepping up and be able to take over,” Mr Polanski said.

He said it’s important for younger vets to get involved in the RSL, which can quickly become a comfortable environment for most as a majority find it hard to relate back to civilian life again.

“It is a good place to join and go to for a beer or soft drink, but to talk to guys that understand you,” Mr Polanski said.

“To talk to guys and women who understand where you’ve been, who you are and any troubles you may be dealing with at present.”

The Broken Hill RSL’s doors will be open from 5pm on May 30 for a drink and some light snacks for anyone interested in joining and talking to current members. Those who join will be able to claim a 50 per cent reimbursement on their membership up until June 30.

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