This month, Milton Gregory OAM, or better known as Bill, turns 100 and a half years old!
Bill was born in the wheat district town of Murtoa, in Victoria’s north-west on the 15th December 1921.
“I enlisted in the Army because I was called up in what was a 2nd National call up. Thirty-three boys from Benalla enlisted on the 5th of November to form the 5th Anti-Tank Artillery Regiment.”
Bill became a Lance Sergeant serving throughout Australia with numerous regiments, including the 5th Anti-Tank Artillery Regiment, the 105th Light Ack Ack Regiment, the 556th Light Ack Ack Battery and the 57/60th Battalion.
At the end of the war, Bill transferred to the 2nd/1st Detention Barracks.
Bill’s fondest memories of service are of his promotion to Sergeant in September 1942, and one that perhaps shaped the decades that followed. He says his army years were formative, maturing him and making him responsible.
Of his connection to the RSL, Bill says it was a difficult introduction.
“Being a non-returned member, I was not initially accepted into the RSL, which was then known as the Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA). I joined the Mulwala RSL because they were more lenient to membership.”
After some years passed, Bill eventually joined the Benalla RSL, where he became a Recruitment Officer and proudly recruited 183 new members.
Bill describes his transition into civilian life as “no real big adjustment.”
“It wasn’t hard. I had a job to go into. I had just been married.”
Bill and Betty were married for 74 years and had five daughters. Betty passed away in 2016.
Bill enjoys reading and listening to the radio. He was awarded an OAM for his community work and took great pride in organising the reunions for the 105 Anti-Tank Regiment.
As he celebrates over a hundred years of life at his home in Benalla, Bill shares his secret to a long life.
"I participated in many sports and organisations which gave me a value of mateship. The love of my family and taking one day at a time. Not anticipating."
Bill Gregory OAM