William ‘Bill’ Strutton was 18-years-old when he was sent to fight in the Korean War.
“I had my 21st birthday in Korea,” Mr Strutton said. “I remember the Red Cross rounded up all the mail and a cake from my Mum.
“I served in Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaya. I was called up for national service in 1951.”
Beginning his military career as a Corporal in the 3rd Battalion in the Royal Australia Regiment, Mr Strutton worked his way up in the ranks to leave as a Warrant Officer.
The Castle Hill resident, 83, served for more than 20 years.
More than 50 years on, Mr Strutton still remembers Korea’s harsh terrain and the friendships he made fighting alongside his fellow countrymen in Vietnam.
“It was jumpy. There were no good men or bad men in Vietnam. Someone you saw walking down the street during the day could be trying to blow your head off at night,” he said. “You form friendships that last forever. I met a lot of really good friends and I met the woman who would become my wife.
“She was a nursing sister and that’s how we met. She served in Malaya during the confrontation.”
After returning home from the barracks for the final time, Mr Strutton became an accountant and settled in Castle Hill with his family.
Since his retirement, the former soldier has dedicated hours to the Castle Hill RSL Sub-branch and become an active Legacy member.
“We not only look after the families of veterans who have given their lives but also veterans who have given their health,” he said.
“I believe I need to pay back. The sub-branch looked after my dad and Legacy looked after my mum.”
The veteran praised the thousands of past, present and future Australian men and women who have enlisted.
“This is a marvelous country. It provides untold opportunities and we are extremely fortunate that only in various places have we seen confrontation on our shores,” Mr Strutton said.
“Other places have been totally devastated and so far we have been able to stop that from happening here.
“I gamble to say if the trumpet was blown, the men and women of Australia would answer the call.”