PLEASE help us in wishing one of our very special Veterans, Military Cross recipient Gerry Stretch, a happy 100th birthday.
William Gerrard Farquhar Stretch, better known as Gerry, is celebrating his centenary with family, friends and fellow Veterans in Busselton today.
Born on 15 August, 1919, in Bridgetown, Gerry enlisted in the Australian Army in Claremont on 4/12/1940, joining the 2/24 Infantry Battalion – before going on to enjoy a somewhat brief yet remarkable World War II military career.
Gerry’s Military Cross (read his jaw-dropping Commendation Letter in full at left) was received thanks to the Lieutenant’s bravery in Tarakan, Borneo, toward the end of the campaign, on 6 May, 1945.
His solo assault on a pillbox dugout on a ridge – armed with a flamethrower and then sub-machine gun – nullified the enemy, clearing the path along ANZAC Hwy for his battalion and resulting in the ultimate capture of Tarakan Airport.
Gerry’s five-and-a-half years of wartime service took in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea and Tarakan, to name just a few.
In a personal letter to Gerry, RSLWA President Peter Aspinall wrote: “It gives me great pleasure to offer the sincere congratulations of the Returned and Services League of Australia WA Branch Incorporated to you as you celebrate the wonderful milestone of turning 100 years of age.
“From all at RSLWA we offer our respect and best wishes to you and your family for an enjoyable celebration of this key event in your illustrious life.’’
We all salute you Gerry, as a living treasure and an ANZAC legend!
- Maxine Brown