ANZMI were contacted by Peter MICKELBUROUGH, of the Melbourne Herald/Sun Newspaper, advising us that he had been confided in that the incumbent President of Kyneton RSL was suspected to be a bogus veteran wearing medals that he had no entitlement to. Should this prove to be fact it would be the fourth bogus Victorian RSL President unmasked in the past 12 months.
Whilst awaiting confirmation from British Navy records, a background check began on LYLES. This man was a Minister of religion who had ministered to five Uniting Church congregations in the rural areas of Kyneton, Barfold, Metcalfe, Mia Mia and Sutton Grange for six years, until his retirement in October 2013. Surely a "man of the cloth" would not pose as a bogus veteran?? Read on.....
ANZMI received a copy of LYLES' RN service which clearly displayed he had served, but only from June 1964 to January 1966. His only postings were to shore based training establishments where he qualified as a Junior Radio Operator Class 1 - and then was "Discharged Shore - Unsuitable". Hence, a minimal term of service which saw LYLES never embark on any operational service. Why was it then that he had worn Active Service medals for Borneo/Malaya supposedly awarded by the RN?
Proudly pinned to his left breast at many RSL functions this pretender wore the General Service Medal and two medals depicting Borneo/Malaya service - one being the Pinjat Singh awarded by the Malayan Government. When correspondence began, the main comments were that LYLES was a reputable upstanding member of the community, a religious man who had represented the Uniting Church, surely he would not cross the line and hoodwink genuine veterans into electing him a "Veteran" President of their RSL? Contact also made by a member of the Kyneton Masonic Lodge made clear the ill-feeling within their ranks - the word "betrayed" cracks more than one mention.
Folks, this is not the first such case of its kind, ANZMI debunked a bogus Archbishop a few years back, have a look at him on this website:
When the first article of LYLES suspected fraud hit the streets, members of Kyneton RSL were stunned. One female member received a 30 day suspension from the Sub Branch for questioning LYLES at a general meeting. Instead of answering her questions regarding club financial matters and his veteran status, this "offended" President had her suspended. A Vietnam veteran who questioned LYLES' bona fides was also suspended for 30 days. Such was the power this pretender held over his committee.
Time moved on and the State President of the RSL became involved. Here we must give kudos to Peter MICKELBUROUGH from the Herald/Sun Newspaper.
He had begun a crusade to wipe out wannabes in the RSL, personally
investigating and reporting on four bogus presidents in the past 12 months. Surely the National and State Branches of the RSL need to sit up and do more that harrumph and splutter. It is time to re-write the "Rules of Engagement" and properly vet every person who holds office in Victoria.
It is interesting to read Major General McLACHLAN's statement where he says:
"There is no tolerance whatsoever in these situations and the individuals have been required to resign and the matter referred to the civilian authorities (police)".
We all now are awaiting notification of this ex minister of religion and bogus veteran having his day in court. All we require is a date and location.
Even after LYLES became the fourth bogus President to leave office in disgrace in the past year, his control over the current committee is still obviously present. In a letter to the suspended female member, the replacement President Graeme DAY writes - inter alia - "Because ANZAC House was notified by you and the media contacted by persons unknown - this has been the catalyst for unnecessary anguish for the former President". People - I ask you, who is this LYLES character? We also suggest that current President Graeme DAY enrol himself in a course of "ethics and moral behaviour." He may learn how to treat the members of the Sub Branch with more respect for doing their duty and questioning the alleged service and medals entitlement of a suspect Sub Branch President.
History teaches us that many years ago a mad Russian monk named RASPUTIN gained control over Czars and Counts by using hypnotherapy and mind control - has he been reincarnated in Kyneton? Get real and take a broom to the entire committee of this RSL. Proper governance and probity needs immediate attention.
Geoffrey Philip LYLES - you have walked through the blood of our brothers, men who never got to wear their issued medals. Men and women who paid the ultimate price for your freedom.
May your God take pity on you because we don't.
The extract shown below is from the latest issue of the Victoria RSL Magazine "Mufti". It reflects how serious Victoria RSL Headquarters are about eradicating frauds and wannabes from RSLs
ILLEGAL WEARING OF MEDALS
"Over the past year or so, we have detected in our membership a number of individuals wearing campaign and service medals to which they were not entitled.
Unfortunately in four cases the individuals concerned were in leadership roles in Sub-Branches and, as a consequence, attracted adverse publicity for the Sub-Branch and the RSL in general. There is no tolerance whatsoever in these situations and the individuals have been required to resign and the matter referred to the civilian authorities. As a matter of governance, it is now seen as necessary to have all candidates for leadership positions in the sub-branch provide evidence to support their entitlements to medals worn. I know this will not go down well, but we need to protect ourselves from further embarrassment. I therefore ask you to work with me in this regard.
Amendments to reflect this requirement will be prepared for the Corporate Governance Bylaw as a matter of urgency".