Photography: Steve Brown
A WW2 Veteran is being honoured by an RSL Sub-Branch more than 40 years after his death.
Frankston RSL has had an established Veterans’ and Families’ Wellbeing Hub since 2015. Initially it operated offsite, before moving to the Frankston RSL in 2019. This Remembrance Day it finally got a name - The Dr. Akeroyd Veterans’ and Families’ Wellbeing Hub.
Dr. John Finch Akeroyd (AM., MBE., ED., MB., BS., FRACP., FACRM.) dedicated much of his life to supporting veterans and the Returned and Services League of Australia.
“We looked at some past members of the club, whilst looking for worthy names to put up and we came across Dr. Akeroyd,” says Kevin Hillier, Frankston RSL President.
Dr. Akeroyd enlisted in the Army in 1940 and served for seven years. He was a prisoner of war in Rabaul. Having escaped, he subsequently returned to aid those who remained.
A citation nominating Dr. Akeroyd for an MBE in 1946 says, “During the campaign in Rabaul area in January and February 1942, Capt. Akeroyd carried out his duties as RMO 2/22 Bn AIF with outstanding gallantry and utter disregard for his personal comfort or safety.”
“A plan was made for the remaining members of Rabaul Force to escape by marching along the North Coast of the island. Capt. Akeroyd was asked to accompany the escaping party, but voluntarily returned to Rabaul into captivity to care for the sick and wounded.”
After the war, Dr. Akeroyd returned home to Frankston, where he worked as a doctor and dedicated his life to helping veterans and serving the RSL.
He held several positions at both the Frankston Sub-Branch and the Victorian Branch throughout the years, including President FRSL 1950-1968, Vice President Victorian Branch 1964-1968, 1975-1979 and Senior Vice President 1979-1982.
Dr. Akeroyd was also the recipient of the Gold Badge - the RSL’s highest award for outstanding service to the League, ex-service personnel, or their dependants.
His daughter, Margaret, proudly attended the official naming ceremony.
She says her family welcome the honour bestowed on her father, who, despite his own terrible ordeal, devoted his life to others.
“He is deserving because he spent the rest of his life working to restore the wellbeing of servicemen from all the services, including women and children of.”
Margaret says her father was also a loving family man to his wife Barbara and his two children.
Kevin Hillier from the Frankston RSL says Dr. Akeroyd’s actions in life speak volumes about his character.
“His caring nature and serving others before serving himself. This is what our Hub is all about, assisting the veterans after their service and during their service in any way that we can.”
Kevin Hillier says Remembrance Day was the apt time to name the Veterans and Families Wellbeing Hub.
“It is a time of remembrance and commemoration for those that have gone before us.”