The year 2020 was one we all hoped to forget – we all looked forward to a return to normality, but 2021 is now shaping up as a year of possibly even more uncertainty and instability. Nevertheless, RSL members in the Western Suburbs are ever- optimistic and are resuming their activities.
There are no surviving Veterans from the Great War, and the remaining ranks of the WW11 Veterans are thinning quickly. Those who served in the Vietnam War now assume the mantle of our ‘Senior Veterans’, and we are aware that there are many living in the Western Suburbs. They certainly now make up the bulk of the RSL Seniors.
Their stories are many and varied; different units, different ranks, different roles and different experiences – too numerous to summarise here but all served with distinction. However, it’s worth mentioning just one example, long term resident of the Western Suburbs, Mr Ray De Vere MC OAM.
Ray joined the Army in 1955 and held a number of crew positions in armoured vehicles, from Driver to Sergeant Commander and various instructor postings, until he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1966 . He served in Vietnam as a cavalry troop leader in 1969, and later in a variety training postings including as a tank squadron commander. Other overseas service included stints as CO of NZ School of Armour and a brief diplomatic tour in Fiji.
After retiring from the Army in 1982, he led an equally illustrious career in academic and civilian life with a special interest in Veterans Affairs through the RSL. From 1987, he has held a number of prestigious ex-service organization positions, such as State Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Association, State President of the RSL and various state and national appointments. Ray is a Life Member of the RSL and Vietnam Veterans Association and an Honorary National Vice President of the RSL. He was also chairmen of RSL War Veterans Homes Ltd (RSL Care) from 2002 to 2008 before retiring to introduce new blood into the nations largest ex-service care provider. Ray was awarded the Military Cross for operational service in Vietnam in 1970 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997.
More details of Ray’s interesting career are available in his book ‘Three Zero Alpha,’ available through Amazon Australia or Amazon America. His portrait hangs in the Tank Museum in Puckapunyal.
Lest We Forget