Meet a Member - Leone Wilson

RSL Queensland
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Bundaberg RSL Sub Branch member Leone Eugenie Wilson OAM joined the WRAAF in 1962, however, she had to wait until 1982 to join the RSL when the eligibility criteria was expanded.

Leone Eugenie Wilson OAM

What is your service history?

I joined the WRAAF in 1962 and served at Base Squadron Wagga, Base Squadron Williamtown and Headquarters Operational Command Glenbrook as a Clerk Supply. In 1972, I was attached to 38 Squadron Port Moresby for 16 days – this was rare, as servicewomen did not serve overseas at that time and special permission had to be given. I married John in 1973 and took my discharge in 1974, when he was posted to Singapore.

When and why did you join your local RSL Sub Branch?

John’s return posting was to Amberley, and as Bundaberg was my hometown and my parents were still living there, there we planned to eventually return.

This happened in 1980. John served in Vietnam and was already a member of the RSL; however, I was unable to join until 1982 when RSL Queensland expanded its eligibility. I wanted to be a member quite simply because I wanted to belong to the RSL, having served.

How have you been involved with your Sub Branch over the years?

In 1986, I joined the Sub Branch committee and took over production of its newsletter soon after. I produced regular newsletters for the 30 years I served on the committee. Although I retired from the committee in 2016, I helped with a few issues after I left, and this year returned to the committee as secretary to assist with a review of HR requirements.

My interest in newsletter communication expanded when I founded the District Digest for Wide Bay & Burnett District two years prior to becoming an executive member of that District. I also founded a newsletter, Chests Out, for the local ex-servicewomen’s association, of which I am secretary. For the past 17 years, I have been the editor of Bundaberg RAAF Association’s Hangar Doors newsletter. After more than 12 years as District Secretary, I finished in 2009, when it became a paid position.

What Sub Branch activities are you particularly passionate about?

Communicating within the veteran community is a personal passion; however, the overall welfare support that Sub Branches provide is important. The team of volunteers that deliver support is the backbone of local Sub Branches, and we should applaud their service.

What role does your Sub Branch play in the lives of veterans?

Like all Sub Branches, Bundaberg RSL strives to provide activities for members that allow them to come together to enjoy friendship and receive support. We encourage volunteers to join the Sub Branch team, and it is the strength of these members collectively giving up many hours each day that delivers the outcomes needed.

What role does your Sub Branch play in the local community?

The Bundaberg community has an expectation that the RSL be there for the veteran community and carry out commemorations to honour the fallen.

What should RSL’s top priorities be over the next five to 10 years?

Over the coming years, the RSL must continue all efforts to be relevant for its wide-ranging membership and encourage increased involvement from younger veterans. The RSL should work together with all veteran organisations for the common good of servicemen and women and our nation.

What do you hear as the top three issues on RSL members’ minds?

The RSL is an organisation that allows the service ‘family’ to continue beyond service, and this can provide a member with friendship, support and a feeling of self-worth – all very important for our veterans and their families.

What is your greatest achievement?

Greatest achievements are judged by others; just knowing that I have given what I am capable of is my personal achievement. I am very proud and humbled to wear Life Membership awards received from the RSL, RAAF Association and Bundaberg Ex-Servicewomen, as well as the RSL Meritorious Medal and the national awards for my service to veterans, the Centenary Medal and, more recently, the Order of Australia Medal.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I don’t have an ambition to be talented; however, it would be wonderful to be able to place a name to a face the instant I meet one of the many wonderful RSL members I have known.

What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured material possessions are the medals and badges I have been awarded. I know that I have tried to contribute to help fellow servicemen and women – and that my high regard for many RSL members and service people and their families is genuine – but these items tell me that others believe I may have succeeded along the way. They are very humbling.