On the 7th February, 1920, 14 members from the Woodford district met and formed the Woodford Branch of the R.S.S.A.I.L.A. (Returned Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia). The inaugural President was Mr V Burke. Over the following two months, memorial trees with plaques were planted along Archer Street in memory of those from Woodford who had paid the supreme sacrifice during World War One.
At that time an Honour Board was placed in the Police Station embellished with the names of those from the area who had served. Later that same year, the ladies of Woodford started a ‘Lending Library’ in the hall in aid of the returned diggers. This group has changed its name several times since, later becoming the Woodford RSL Women’s Auxiliary and then the Citizen’s Auxiliary. There is no Auxiliary associated with the Sub Branch at this time.
In June 1924, Woodford’s first ‘Memorial Hall’ was built and later renamed the ‘Diggers Memorial Hall’. Hurricane lights were used to illuminate the facility as the township did not have electricity until well into the 1930s.
World War Two saw the Woodford Volunteer Defence Corps formed which was trained under the guidance of local saddler, Mr.W.Cobb. Also formed was the Woodford/Villeneuve Light Horse Troop which saw service in World War Two as part of the 2/14th Light Horse Regiment.
Many men and women from the Woodford District have served in the Australian Defence Force dating back to the Shearer’s Strike of 1891 to Korea, Vietnam, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. History has demonstrated that members of the Woodford community strongly supported their country in all theatres of conflict and proudly served under the Australian flag.
Since 1990, a closer bonding has been promoted between the Woodford RSL Sub Branch and other ex-service organizations such as the War Widows Guild, Legacy, Vietnam Veterans and the National Servicemen’s Association. These organisations have joined Woodford in increasing numbers at both ceremonial and social events.
Membership of the Woodford RSL Sub Branch was at its highest in 1950 when it reached 44 members before falling to below 30. Current Service membership is approximately 65 and a further 45 Non Service Members.
Click on the link below to see the original minute book from 1920 to 1937.