Royal British Legion Scotland bestows honour on George Wise

OFFICIALLY A SPECIAL MOMENT: Captain Richard Otley, right, presents Laurieton RSL Sub Branch secretary George Wise with honorary life membership.

OFFICIALLY A SPECIAL MOMENT: Captain Richard Otley, right, presents Laurieton RSL Sub Branch secretary George Wise with honorary life membership.

Laurieton RSL Sub Branch secretary George Wise is one of those people who quietly goes above and beyond when helping others.

A keen researcher, George’s work through the sub branch recently travelled via Skype across the world to the Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS), Wick branch.

Captain Richard Otley, whose late father William was a member of the Laurieton RSL sub branch, forged links between the Royal British Legion Scotland and the local RSL. William served with the Royal Navy during the Normandy Landings in World War 2. He and his wife Joan moved to Laurieton in around 2003.

George, Captain Richard Otley said, showed great care to ex-servicemen and women who immigrated to Australia, in particular his father.

In December, George addressed the annual general meeting of the RBLS, Wick Branch, via Skype. The legion is similar to the Australian RSL. Following his presentation the members voted to make George an honorary life member of their branch.

“You are the fourth honorary member ever to be awarded membership, so quite rare,” Captain Otley wrote in his thank-you letter to George.

During his presentation to the RBLS, George highlighted the number of Australian War Graves in Scotland.

“It was proposed that we provide details of the Australian War graves that are under our care within the Wick Commonwealth War Cemetery, with photos upon the future annual dates when pipers and our colour party honour your Australian heroes that rest with us,” Capt. Otley wrote.

The members also voted that on Anzac Day 2017 and in perpetuity, in Scotland, a ceremony will be held to honour those soldiers.

“Members of RBLS Wick would like to explore ways in which we can assist Australian members when visiting the UK through practical and network assistance. We are also looking to potential future liaisons between cadet organisations,” Capt. Otley said.

Captain Otley is the chairman of the RBLS and an active serviceman. He travelled to Laurieton to present the life membership in person on February 26.

“It is an unexpected honour,” George said at the Laurieton RSL sub branch meeting where he was presented with the parchment certificate, banner and letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Caithness in her role as the sovereign’s representative on behalf of RBLS patron Her Majesty the Queen.

“When I was nominated I told Richard that I would only accept it on behalf of the Laurieton RSL sub branch. 

“It was a wonderful experience to be able to talk via Skype [to the RBLS Wick] and discuss the Australian effort in World War One. I have a lot more to tell them and I hope to do that in future.”

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