June 16, 2024 9:24 PM

Red Shield Defence Services Marks Homecoming


Major Peter Spindler highlights the importance of Red Shield Defence Services.

After an eight-year absence, the Red Shield Defence Services (RSDS) marks a commemorative return to the Singleton Lone Pine Barracks – Australian School of Infantry, reigniting a partnership supporting Australian soldiers for generations.

Major Kenneth (Kenny) Delamore, a spokesperson for the RSDS in Canberra, emphasised the enduring alliance and vital support provided by the RSDS since 1899.

“The relationship between the Australian Army and the Salvation Army spans 125 years,” he explains. “Our support greatly assists young trainees in understanding the welfare and morale benefits offered by the RSDS, which they can carry forward in their future careers to aid fellow soldiers, especially when training can be physically and emotionally challenging.”

The Essence of the Sallyman/Sallyma’am: Major Peter Spindler, based at Singleton Lone Pine Barracks School of Infantry and a Cessnock resident, brings over 30 years of varied and challenging roles with the Salvation Army.

“It’s both a privilege and a challenge,” says Peter. He not only embodies the Salvation Army’s compassionate outreach but also adopts an innovative approach to meeting the evolving needs of today’s military personnel.

“Our non-judgmental approach treats everyone equally, respecting diverse beliefs, offering moral support, and serving as a referral service to other support services within the defence force and civilian community.”

At the heart of the RSDS’s mission is the embodiment of the ‘Sallyman’ role, a tradition upheld by generations of Australian Diggers.

The mobile brew truck, synonymous with ‘having a brew,’ is a vital gathering spot for soldiers. Major Kenny Delamore explains: “Every generation of digger can tell a story of the Sallyman/Sallyma’am rolling up in the truck to share a brew,” underscoring the truck’s significance in maintaining morale. Beyond providing beverages and snacks, Peter’s mobile brew truck is more than just a vehicle. “When we talk about ‘Having a Brew,’ it’s more than just a break; it’s a vital component of maintaining morale,” explains Peter. “The truck offers soldiers a space to pause, refresh, and engage with someone who genuinely cares, significantly uplifting their spirits and it’s about offering practical support, directly impacting their well-being, day-to-day.” Efforts are also underway to establish the familiar RSDS Hop-In centre, providing a space for defence staff to gather and converse.

The reintroduction of the Salvation Army Officer at Singleton is more than a nod to tradition; it’s a renewed commitment to the well-being of Australia’s military personnel, ensuring that the spirit of the Sallyman/Sallyma’am continues to inspire and comfort future generations.