Event recognises Eric Tweedale's role in RSL
The NSW Returned Services League has commemorated the 100th birthday of Umina resident Mr Eric Tweedale with a presentation from the Merrylands Sub-Branch and the State RSL president.
The presentation recognised his role at Merrylands RSL as well as his contribution to rugby, being the oldest living former Wallaby player.
Mr Tweedale grew up in Merrylands after his family migrated from England in 1924.
After returning from the Second World War, he became an active member of the RSL and helped it establish a youth club in Merrylands.
The presentation was held at Club Umina, which is now owned by Merrylands RSL Club.
"Eric has been involved with the RSL since 1956 both as member and help in running youth services in the Merrylands area," said Merrylands RSL member Mr Terry Forbes.
"Merrylands Sub-Branch president Mr Robin Grimley presented him with a certificate.
"State RSL President Ray James presented him with a special drink coaster to mark the occasion."
Mr Tweedale was also presented with a quilt by RSL Auxiliaries co-ordinator Ms Pauline James.
"The quilt is made for our troops overseas normally but it was thought that Eric deserved recognition so he is the first local to receive this honour," said Mr Forbes.
He said 16 people attended the luncheon, mostly from Merrylands RSL Sub-Branch.
Others to attend were another local former Wallaby Mr Jim Phipps and Woy Woy Rugby Club patron Mr Peter "Fab" Fenton, former first-grade player, sports writer and rugby coach.
"Eric Tweedale was born 5 May 1921 in Rockdale, Lancashire, England.
"Eric attended Guildford Public school and the Parramatta Intermediate School.
"When war was declared by Prime Minister in 1939, Eric applied to join the navy in 1941.
"After training at Flinders Naval Depot for convoy duty until May 1942 when Sydney was attacked by the Japanese midget submarines.
"To honour the dead, he served as a pallbearer at the military funeral for the dead Japanese captured in the midget subs.
"Eric was drafted to a naval ship escorting merchant ships up and down the Australian coast.
"After four years of service as convoy signal man, he moved to Queensland to protect ships carrying iron ore and coal.
"After his discharge from the war, he returned to working for Shells Oil Company while also pursing his sporting career.
"Eric retired from his rugby playing in 1959 by which time he was an active member of the RSL."
Media release, 8 Jun 2021
Terry Forbes, Merrylands RSL