Horsham's Bill Purchase honoured for Vietnam War service

HORSHAM’S Bill Purchase has received national recognition for his service in the Vietnam War.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad presented a certificate of appreciation to Mr Purchase in Horsham last week, as part of the federal government’s Saluting Their Service commemorations program.

Mr Purchase was part of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and served as a cook in the war in 1970.

“I lost a few mates and I remember them every time something like this comes up,” he said.

“I’ve got a couple of mates still in Horsham who served with me. They went with the first tour, and I went with the second.

“We get together on Anzac Day if we can.”

Mr Purchase has post-traumatic stress disorder.

It took until 2004 before he was able to get treatment.

“When I came back I was very unsettled for a long time, like most Vietnam vets,” he said.

“I went and lived in Queensland for 10 years, then came back to the Wimmera to help look after my parents.”

Mr Purchase followed a line of family members who also served their countries during war.

“My grandfather was part of the British Navy, and I had uncles on both sides of my family who served in the Second World War,” he said.

“My oldest brother also served in Malaysia.

“The military side doesn’t go out of you. There are things that I still do that are because of my background.

“If I go to meetings or events, I’m always about half an hour early.

‘If I have to get up and go anywhere, I’m always out of bed before the alarm clock goes off.

“And meal times are at set times during the day.”

Mr Broad said it was important to acknowledge the contributions of the region’s servicemen and women.

“It’s great to highlight these people in our towns – they are everyday people who have done extraordinary things,” he said.