TOMORROW’S Anzac Day service at the Claremont War Memorial is another reminder of the passing of comrades for Claremont RSL sub-branch president Geoffrey McClements (94).
“I’ll get up early, shower, shave, get the paper to read, and coffee at the Coffee Club, and wait for someone I know,” Mr McClements told the Western Suburbs Weekly last week.
“But I don’t see anyone I really know anymore. They’ve all gone.”
The branch had 189 members when Mr McClements became its president in 1983. It now has just three.
Mr McClements served in the Royal Australian Navy between 1941 and 1946, was the Anzac of the Year in 2016 and became a Freeman of the Town of Claremont last week.
His father was one of the original Anzacs who joined the 10th Light Horse in 1914.
Mr McClements said gaining new branch members had been difficult when the RSL had said they could only be those who had served overseas.
“And the Vietnam and Korean wars’ veterans seem to have their own associations,” he said.
With falling memberships, Mr McClements has tried to merge the RSL sub-branches of Claremont, Cottesloe, Nedlands and Subiaco.
His efforts have included three meetings with the RSL’s State leadership and five merger submissions.
The proposals did not succeed and Mr McClements said the branches’ demise was unfortunate because they were some of those initially established after World War I, when the western suburbs were some of the few established areas of Perth.