Story 25 - RSL Ban Troops

By Bill Whitehead

Click for the Newspaper story 'RSL ban on Viet troops'Prior to our departure in 1967, it was decided that we should have a going away party and Terry Bradley, myself and a few others whose names unfortunately have been deleted from my memory bank, were given the job of organising it.   We immediately thought of the Gaythorne RSL as the venue and phoned to book their hall only to be promptly told 'NO', they didn't rent their facility to Army.

After the shock wore off, as you know we were about to be return servicemen (hero's) we phoned around only to find that there was nowhere within cooee of Enoggera available.  While mulling the information over, someone said we should tell the paper about about these terrible people at the Gaythorne RSL.   As I was acting transport NCO with telephone. I phoned the Sunday Truth and passed on the sad story of how we were denied a farewell party before going to war.

The next Sunday, the Sunday Truths banner outside every newsagent in Brisbane and probably Queensland, read in big black type, 'RSL BANS TROOPS'.  It was also the lead story in the first edition.

Needless to say, the RSL state organisation were upset, the Commander Northern Command wanted the perpetrators balls (severely dealt with) and Danny Evans, our SSM, thought it was the best thing that ever happened - he disliked the RSL!   Following publication of the article 'RSL ban on Viet troops', the paper received many offers of assistance which they passed on to us and Steve Jenkins, our Sgt cook.  I had the use of the OC's Falcon Ute to check out the offers.  Among many venues offered and many glasses of beer, the offer of the Ithaca RSL hall was gratefully accepted and the donation from Mr Jim Tomoney paid for all the beer we drank at the party.Click for the newspaper story follow up story on the farewell supper dance.

The party we had was a good one, the cooks put on the food, and part of the North Command Band provided the music and we all had a good time.  Hangovers notwithstanding, some of us went back next morning to clean up as the RSL were checking up on us and fortunately for someone, we found him sleeping peacefully under the stage.

Footnotes:  That was not the end to the partying, which climax on the last night with 104 in combat with the Queensland Police Force - See the Veteran Story  No 18 'Last Night in Brisbane'

Bill Whitehead served in 104 Sig Sqn in South Vietnam, April 1967 to April 1968 and currently lives in Keperra, Brisbane.


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