Four East Maitland RSL sub-branch members have been honoured for an extraordinary 50 years dedication to the Returned and Services League of Australia.
Bruce Lauder and Peter Harvey have been members of the league since 1967, while Anthony Mulquiney and Ian Durham joined in 1968 and 1969 respectively.
The men were presented certificates by RSL NSW state president James Brown at a ceremony at East Maitland War Memorial on Saturday.
Mr Lauder served in the Australian Army Corps of Engineers.
His operational service includes service in North Borneo in 1964-65 during Confrontation with 1st Field Squadron, and South Vietnam with 3 Field Troop 1965-66 and 1st Field Squadron in 1966.
3 Field Troop were made up totally of hands up volunteers from members of 1st Field Squadron who had recently returned from operational service in North Borneo. The troop was awarded two meritorious unit commendations for their service with the United States Army’s 173 Airborne Brigade.
Mr Lauder was one of the first to enter the Chu Chi Tunnels when they were discovered during Operation Crimp in January 1966 in the Ho Bo Woods region of South Vietnam.
Mr Harvey served in the Australian Army in the Infantry Corps. His operational service was with 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in Malaysia 1963-1965 with deployments to the Thai Border Area in 1964 and Sarawak (Borneo) in 1965.
He served in the Australian Army for six years and then a further four years in the Reserve, and was also the sub-branch president from 2001 to 2004.
Mr Harvey said he was “honoured” to be awarded for his time with the RSL.
“Fifty years is a long time to be involved with any organisation and I have really enjoyed my time in the RSL, especially the camaraderie,” he said.
Mr Mulquiney was a National Serviceman in the Australian Army Infantry Corps. He saw operational service in South Vietnam with the 1st Australian Reinforcement in 1967, Headquarters 1st Australian Logistics Support Group from 1967-1968 and with the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in 1968.
While with 3RAR, he participated in the Battles of Coral and Balmoral in 1968 for which 3RAR was awarded a Unit Citation for Gallantry.
He has been the welfare officer at East Maitland RSL and still holds that position with the Maitland Vietnam Veterans.
“I was happy to serve my country and looked on at it as a boy’s own adventure, although it certainly changed my life and I hope for the better,” he said.
Mr Durham was a National Serviceman serving in the Australia Army Corps of Engineers. He served in South Vietnam with 17th Construction Squadron in 1968, during which he was attached to the 1st Australian Land Clearing Team as a D8 dozer operator during Operation “Lyre Bird”.
He joined Ganmain RSL Sub-Branch on return from Vietnam on in 1969 and was a member of the Ganmain Sub-Branch until he moved to Maitland in 2017 where he transferred to the East Maitland Sub-Branch.
While at Ganmain, he was vice president of the sub-branch for a number of years and then president for 30 years.
Mr Durham was awarded life membership of the Returned and Services League of Australia in 2006.
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