The tale of World War II digger Marcus Gillespie and his beloved Spotswood Kingsville RSL is one of survival.
Mr Gillespie, 94, is the oldest within the sub-branch, the membership of which numbered six, two and a half years ago. It has since grown to 218 after younger generations stepped up to help.
The club rose from the ashes after being destroyed in an arson attack that Mr Gillespie recalls with precision.
“In 1999, 4th of September, around 4am in the morning, the club was burnt down completely,” he said. “When we burnt down, we had to decide whether we were going to rebuild or not.
“After two or three years of negotiations, getting things together and that, we rebuilt this one as you see it now.”
On Remembrance Day, he and other veterans will be joined by schoolchildren and community members at 10.45am for an 11am service at the Spotswood War Memorial, on the corner of Mary Street and Williamstown Road.
Mr Gillespie, who joined the army as soon as he turned 18 in 1942, closed his eyes when asked what he would reflect on at the Remembrance Day event: “There should not be any wars at all.”
Friends of Williamstown RSL, whose sub-branch was dissolved, will hold its Remembrance Day service at Williamstown Cenotaph, gathering at 10.30am for 11am.
The Newport RSL sub-branch remains closed as Victorian RSL examines its financial position, with news on its future imminent.