Western Australian Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley was on hand yesterday to help a veteran Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) serviceman who fought in Borneo during World War II to celebrate his 100th birthday.
“It’s fantastic to see a fellow veteran in such good shape and I can only hope I’m doing as well when I’m his age. I take this opportunity to thank Mr Croft, and all those others who served in the armed forces, for their service and sacrifice in protecting our values and way of life.” Minister Tinley commented.
The Minister explained that Robert Croft tried to enlist in 1939, soon after hostilities broke out. But his efforts were rejected by the defence forces which had deemed that his work on a Leonora mine site – where he was in charge of the town’s ambulance service – was an ‘essential service’. It was not until 1943 that Mr Croft was successful in his efforts to enlist. He joined the Australian Army and six months later transferred to the RAAF for the final two years of the war – some of which he spent in Borneo. Following the war, Mr Croft lived in Leonora, and then Kalgoorlie for six years, before returning to Perth where he and his wife had their family. He served with St John Ambulance for more than 30 years.
During a party to celebrate his century yesterday, Mr Croft was presented with a gift and a Returned and Services League Western Australia letter of appreciation signed by State President Peter Aspinall.