Date of Entry: 22/11/2019
Surname: Bright
Christian Names: Edward James
Country: Australia
State or Province: Victoria
City or Town: Hawthorn/Wangaratta
Service #: 374464
Service: CMF
Branch: Infantry
Case Notes:


Edward James Bright was the President of the Hawthorn, Melbourne Branch, of the Returned and Services League (RSL). Members of the Hawthorn Branch became disenchanted with his leadership, and through constitutional means, successfully launched action to have him removed.

Bright is also involved with the Melbourne Tramways Brass Band and used the Hawthorn RSL as a practice venue for the band. There is no evidence of payment by the band for the use of the facility

He initiated the journey to his "Waterloo" by not allowing current, and recent serving members, to join "his" RSL Sub Branch. This was opposite to current RSL objectives and principles, and very insulting to potential members, most of whom have returned from active service

Those insulted by Bright's lack of empathy, were able to initiate democratic action at the sub branch that had him removed from office, we believe with ignominy. Investigations into Bright's background indicated that as well as his attitude towards membership he lacked military credentials to be a member of an RSL .

Since his departure One Hundred and Seventy Five new service members have been enrolled at the Hawthorn RSL.

ANZMI became aware of the problems at Hawthorn RSL and launched an investigation.

A problem was, that Bright consistently refused to provide any details of his military service. The information would curtail any investigation, and allow him the privilege of being an RSL service member.

It was significant and concerning, that Bright could not remember his regimental number.

Eventually information was sought through RSL channels and a regimental number 374464 was produced. The number was used by Bright on RSL membership documents.


All army personnel records for the era of service claimed by Bright, are available from National Australia Archives (NAA). There are no NAA records, listing Bright, or any other person having served in the Army, using that regimental number.

An independent and skilled researcher discovered the following:

"Research regarding that name and regimental number, found no military service for any person with the Regimental Number 374464 There were documents found that show that Edward James Bright completed a National Service registration form, however, he never served as a National Serviceman. In addition, with the National Service document there is a letter from him requesting to be withdraw from a Citizens Military Forces (CMF) service obligation".

All that was asked of Bright, was that he produce evidence to support his claim that he served with CMF 1st Battalion, Royal Victorian Regiment (RVR) in the early 1970s. He refused to do that, and threatened legal action against any person who doubted his "service"
Throughout Australia, RSL Service membership is available to current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and Allied Armed Forces who give a minimum of six months service. All Bright needed to do was prove his service. He refuses to do that simple task, and obviously he was not required to produce his credentials when he originally joined the Hawthorn RSL in 1998.

It is scandalous that Bright was a Service Member of the Hawthorn RSL, and rose to be the President without proof of his service.

In addition to Bright, and aiding and abetting him, is the ex Secretary of the Hawthorn RSL who refuses to communicate with our researchers. An investigation is also pending regarding his bona fides for RSL membership.

To date, Bright's only defence is that "he gave twenty years of hard work to the RSL and is distressed that his credentials should be questioned".

Any person falsely claiming military service for the purpose of joining the RSL is well deserved of the being named and shamed. Credentials of military service, and the kudos of being an RSL President are not to be usurped by those pretending to have served.

There have been other Victoria RSL senior executives "defrocked" by ANZMI over the years. A prominent pretender was:

Mr Lance Mailer Smith See here:

Bright is now enlisted into the hall of shame as a soldier of ANZMI, where he will remain for eternity. It is unfortunate, for Bright that ANZMI membership does not entitle him to RSL membership
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