On Friday morning The Ensign received the sad news that World War II veteran and long-time Benalla RSL member Alan Ould OAM had passed away.
Alan, who was 96, was only featured in The Ensign last week when he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal marking 75 years service to the RSL and local community.
Long-term friend and fellow RLS member Tom Heaney said Alan would be missed.
“I've known Alan since I was in my 20s, and I'm in my 80s now,” Tom said.
“He was a manager at Harrisons hardware when I first met him. And we became good friends.
“He was a member of the Weary Dunlop Committee with me for a long time.”
Alan was instrumental in arranging the Weary Dunlop statue to be erected in the Botanical Gardens.
“He came on to that committee to help out and ended up managing all the memorabilia and books that we had printed.
“The day after the statue was unveiled he took over as treasurer.
“And he did a great job as we didn't have much money and even owed a bit by then.”
Alan's passion was Benalla, and when asked about his hobbies, Tom said his favourite was doing his bit for his community.
“He always enjoyed doing community work,” he said.
“He was involved in a lot of community committees and activities, and was very involved in the RSL.
“He even received the Meritorious Service award the day before he died.
“I talked with him after he was given the award and we had quite a long conversation.
“He knew he was getting the award and I'm quite sure he made sure he was still alive to get it.
“It's a very prestigious award, having been in RSL for 75 years, and I doubt there would be many people across Victoria who have received one.
“But it was well deserved. He put a lot into the RSL and was always in the forefront.
“And at 96 and he was still mobile.
“You would see him down the street on his scooter and he'd be saying hi to everyone - from young kids to older people, everyone was happy to see him.”
Alan, who was honoured with an OAM in 2014, was also involved with the Benalla Uniting Church.
“He even played the organ there for a few years,” Tom said.
“He was a great person, one of life's true gentleman.
“He was always well-dressed, even when he had been retired for many years.
“He always wore a jacket and tie.
“He was a remarkable man.”
Tom concluded by saying Alan would be missed by all at the Benalla RSL and on their behalf he would like to offer condolences to his family.
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