IPSWICH gathered to mourn the passing of a community legend today, at the funeral of RSL stalwart Phil Gilbert OAM.

Michael Blaine, secretary of the Ipswich RSL sub-branch, described Mr Gilbert as 'a mate to many' who was involved in numerous activities with the sub-branch, including the purchase of buses for the Milford Grange retirement village.

"He would even drive the buses himself, to get veterans and widows to events," Mr Blaine said.

"He also organised and conducted poppy services for our members who passed away."

 

Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at the Ipswich RSL Services Club. Ipswich Sub Branch RSL president Phil Gilbert.
Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at the Ipswich RSL Services Club. Ipswich Sub Branch RSL president Phil Gilbert. David Nielsen

Mr Gilbert who was born in the United Kingdom in 1936, joined the Royal Navy in 1957, after completing an apprenticeship with the De Havilland Aircraft Company.

He started as a Stoker, working in the engine rooms of ships, before finishing his service as a Petty Officer.

Phil French, who conducted the Naval Eulogy as part of the funeral service, said Mr Gilbert served on a number of ships, including HMS Victory, and naval shore bases during his naval service, as well as a 12 month posting to Maralinga in South Australia from December 1960 to November 1961.

 

Phil and Joan Gilbert at the Ipswich Australia Day Awards.
Phil and Joan Gilbert at the Ipswich Australia Day Awards. Sarah Harvey

Mr Gilbert, with his wife Joan and two sons emigrated to Australia as '10 Pound Poms', settling in a house in Inala in 1970, before adopting a daughter in 1972.

He worked in a number of jobs after arriving in Australia, including Cox Mowers, and as a mechanic for International Trucks, before securing a position with Australia Post, where he remained until he retired in 2001.

 

Phil Gilbert was  upset over the disrespectful use of the Australian flag on Australia Day.
Phil Gilbert was upset over the disrespectful use of the Australian flag on Australia Day. Sarah Keayes

Mr Gilbert joined the RSL in 1974, eventually becoming a board member in 2000, and receiving life membership in 2005.

A passionate supporter of youth activities, Mr Gilbert was involved with Ipswich Naval Cadets, as well as Bremer High School and the Ipswich Girls Grammar School, and the Ipswich RSL Youth Band.

Mr Gilbert received an OAM in 2014 for his services to the community.



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