Busselton resident Gerry Stretch turns 100 years old

Busselton resident Gerry Stretch celebrates his 100th birthday on Thursday August 15.
Busselton resident Gerry Stretch celebrates his 100th birthday on Thursday August 15.

Busselton resident Gerry Stretch is celebrating a huge milestone when he turns 100 years old today.

William Gerard Stretch was born on August 15, 1919 in Bridgetown where he spent most of his life.

After he returned from World War II, Mr Stretch owned a farm in the hilly South-West town where he ran cattle, sheep and grew various orchards.

The WWII veteran said while he had seen many changes during his lifetime the biggest change was starting out life using horses and carts to seeing people travel to the moon.

"Incredible," he said.

During his time in the military, Mr Stretch was awarded a Military Cross for bravery during his five years of service in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Papua New Guinea and Borneo.

"I was awarded a Military Cross for being silly I guess, and doing what needed to be done," he said.

"You are a changed man for things you did then that you would not dream of doing, you were praised for what you did then, now you would be hung."

Mr Stretch married his wife Margaret Corker of 56 years in 1947, they met in Bridgetown where she was based as a school teacher.

The couple had two children Cynthia and Mark. He now has six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

He moved to Busselton about 30 years ago when he retired.

"I do not feel much at all on turning 100 years old, it is not much different to any other day, but it depends what I am doing," he said.

"My biggest achievement has been managing to stay alive.

"I feel pretty lucky, I am lucky I am reasonably healthy."

Mr Stretch celebrated his birthday with family last weekend and a morning tea with the Busselton RSL.

His granddaughter Fiona Stretch said her granddad was a a very inspiring man, who was fortunate enough to still have good health.