TOMORROW marks a special milestone for one of Australia's last surviving Second World War veterans.
Well-known Coffs Coast resident Bill Owers will celebrate his 100th birthday on Saturday and everyone in the local community is invited to raise their glass for the occasion.
While reaching 100 is an incredible feat for anyone, in Bill's case it is even more outstanding, having served his country across three continents during the war.
The Advocate caught up with Bill this week to hear war stories from his past and his plans for the year ahead.
Bill was 25 years old when he enlisted in the Australian Army, serving in the 2/4th Battalion's X and Y regiments.
In 1940, the 900-rank battalion was deployed to the Middle East as part of Australia's efforts in the Second World War.
Then, with Australia under attack, Bill returned home and was reassigned to the Defence of Darwin in March 1942.
He saw out the war in New Guinea as a radio technician ensuring communications to Port Moresby.
Bill's work in radios continued in peacetime, gaining employment as a technician for radio stations and running his own shop.
He relocated to Coffs Harbour about 15 years ago, bringing with him the "love of his life" - his wife Nell.
Since then, the proud family man has become one of our region's most respected identities.
He's often found at the Coffs Hotel sharing his war stories and knowledge with those lucky enough to join his table.
"Bill is a man who likes to share a beer with good company," Coffs Hotel licensee Marty Phillips said.
"He's seen the hard times, depression and war, but he talks about the good times as well.
"He's a true gentleman and like many other people in our community, I have a huge respect for his generation."
Bill said the highlights of his centenary included playing cricket against Don Bradman near his home town of Katoomba.
He intends to travel to Port Moresby for Anzac Day.
Bill's 100th birthday celebrations will be held tomorrow at the Coffs Harbour Hotel tomorrow.
Everyone is invited. Lunch is at noon, with a 12-piece band playing at 1pm.