100 years of Grafton RSL Sub-branch
MORE than 100 members and friends of the Grafton RSL Sub-branch joined a 100-year- anniversary lunch celebration on Saturday.
The Grafton Sub-branch, part of what was then known as Return Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, was granted its initial charter in 1922, but was formed in 1918.
A replacement charter was then issued in 1987, in the name of the Returned Servicemen's League of Australia, now the official title of the organisation.
Grafton was one of the earlier sub-branches because it opened before the end of the war to provide welfare help to World War I veterans.
The RSL has supported veterans from every conflict since, including World War I and II, and the Vietnam War.
Grafton RSL Sub-branch president for the past 20 years, Brian Bultitude, said the branch founders recognised there would be people coming home from the war.
Mr Bultitude said post-traumatic stress disorder was not known back then.
"Those guys didn't put their hand up to say 'look we are suffering', they were too proud,” he said.
He said the RSL was still working to help people returning from war and the community.
Mr Bultitude said veterans were sometimes too proud to register their disabilities, which meant their partners would miss out too.
"I've had to visit hospitals and extract information from veterans,” he said.
The RSL provides welfare, links to hospitals, social contact to members in nursing homes, and a place to meet friends.
It also archives information on members for future generations to access.