Port Stephens National Servicemen's Association seeks more members

WE WANT YOU: Port Stephens National Servicemen’s Association secretary Stan Allanson. Picture: Sam Norris

WE WANT YOU: Port Stephens National Servicemen’s Association secretary Stan Allanson. Picture: Sam Norris

The call echoes Lord Kitchener’s famous war time plea for men to join the Allies on the Western Front.

Well, as seriously as any Australian serviceman past or present might take himself in the pose of a British, Boer War commander.

Stan Allanson is secretary of the Port Stephens National Servicemen’s Association.

What he “needs” is more Nashos to join their brothers in arms. For nothing more serious than a meal and a little camaraderie.

“In 10 years or less the whole movement could fold up without more members,” he said.

The Port Stephens sub branch is down to 15 members on paper but given the tyranny of old age, not all members are able to attend the monthly meetings and social outings. This year alone four of its members have died.

“We haven’t been able to get a quorum (seven) at our meeting in months,” he said.

“There was 800,000-odd blokes who went into the National Service but we’re struggling.”

For information on how to join in call Stan Allanson on 0468 433 679.

Mr Allanson is 83. He joined in 1953 and narrowly missed action in Korea.

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“They were going to send me on a ‘free trip’ to Japan as part of the training but peace was declared in Korea before it happened,” he said.

Australia ran two National Service schemes. The first from 1951 to 1959 with some of those men involved in the Korea War but most stayed put in a home-defence capacity. The second scheme ran from 1965-72 with Vietnam being the major conflict of the time.

“Many of the Nashos who went to Vietnam were eligible to join the RSL and they did,” Mr Allanson said.

“If we could get a couple of Nashos from Vietnam, it would be nice for them to join us.”

The organisation marks National Servicemen’s Day on February 14, and takes part in Anzac Day and Remembrance Day each year.

The Port Stephens sub branch meets on the third Wednesday of the month, 1pm at the old Raymond Terrace council chambers on Port Stephens Street.

Each month they also organise a barbecue outing, or in winter, a pub lunch.

Mr Allanson said there wasn’t much talk about service, just good mateship.

“If I didn’t have this I would only end up mowing the lawn more often,” he said.

For information on how to join in call Stan Allanson on 0468 433 679 or email stanallanson@hotmail.com.

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