Veteran Cpl Glenn Mercer loves the fast lane and his time spent at the Geraldton RSL

Liam Beatty & Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
Retired Corporal Glenn Mercer
Camera IconRetired Corporal Glenn Mercer Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Best known around the Geraldton RSL sub-branch as “Padre”, retired Cpl Glenn Mercer loves anything that moves fast.

Coming from a long line of military men, with both grandfathers serving at Gallipoli, Cpl Mercer knew he wanted to serve from age 10.

Seven years later, he put his hand up for the air force because he loved fast things and “ships and tanks are only targets for airplanes anyway”.

He served almost a decade as an aircraft engineer working on C-130 Hercules transport planes, and later on the Mirage fighter jets at the RAAF Base in Williamstown.

We just sat there because you can’t outrun a missile.- retired Cpl Glenn Mercer.

It’s only thanks to a little luck he’s here to tell his story.

“One day we’re working away on our aircraft refuelling and stuff like that. I’m not sure exactly how they did it, but a missile launched from another aircraft,” he said.

“Fortunately, it hit the tarmac, skipped off and zipped between the two aircraft we were working on and off into the bush.

We just sat there because you can’t outrun a missile.”

Cpl Mercer retired from the service in 1983 and worked as a Qantas engineer, but he found it difficult to readjust to civilian life.

“I got in trouble all the time for ordering my subordinates around,” he said with a chuckle.

He kept up an active role in the reserves for six years before becoming a Presbyterian minister and an assistant RSL chaplain in New South Wales.

Retired Corporal Glenn Mercer
Camera IconRetired Corporal Glenn Mercer Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Cpl Mercer said he “fit in pretty well with the boys” at the Geraldton RSL branch, saying he appreciated that space had not been commercialised like some of the branches on the east coast.

“We don’t have poker machines and stuff like that,” he said.

According to Cpl Mercer, the branch is a place where veterans — especially those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder — listen to each other and say the things they can’t say anywhere else.

“A very good friend of mine talks about his experience in Vietnam, and to some pretty horrific details,” he said.

“He couldn’t just go to the pub and talk to some other person who hasn’t experienced a similar thing themselves.

“They won’t know what you’re talking about.”

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