One of the last ‘Rats of Tobruk’ has died in Adelaide, aged 101.
- Adelaide veteran Bill Corey has died at the age of 101
- He was one of the last and oldest World War II ‘Rats of Tobruk’
- He was well known for representing veterans at ceremonies
Bill Corey was one of 14,000 Australians who held the Libyan port city of Tobruk against German General Erwin Rommel’s forces in 1941.
He was well known for his generosity in speaking at ceremonies and with young people about his experience in World War II.
In 2016, he cut the ribbon to officially open Adelaide’s Anzac Centenary Memorial Walk.
“There could not have been a more fitting person to represent the veterans’ community at that wonderful occasion,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said today.
“Bill Corey typified the humble nature and selflessness of our diggers, and was very generous with his time in speaking with members of his community and many schoolchildren about the Anzac legacy.
“We owe Bill and his fellow servicemen and women a great debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they made so that future generations could enjoy the freedom and way of life we have today.”
He told the ABC in 2012 his most enduring memory of Tobruk was the ever present dust.
“You ate, slept, drank everything in the dust and if there was a dust storm you still ate and drank your meal in the dust,” he recalled.
“Sometimes when you got to the bottom of your cup of tea, it was muddy.”
Mr Corey also saw action in New Guinea and Borneo.
“I’ve always stated that I didn’t have any effects from the war, but of course I did. You don’t realise it but it has to have an effect,” he said.
“The last few years, all these things come back and I still have a few little cries when I think about it… but you’ve got to get on with life and be positive.”
More to come.