ON April 22 Ernie Chester Walker will celebrate his 101st birthday.
He was born in 1916 at Forest Lodge near Glebe to Will and Amy Walker.
He is the middle of seven children with four brothers and two sisters.
Ernie attended school at the nearby Forest Lodge Public School and later at the Technical School at Ultimo.
Up until the early 1930s, Ernie lived at Forest Lodge before his family relocated to Eastwood where he resided for about 10 years.
After his first marriage Ernie resided in a rural environment at North Ryde for nearly 40 years.
The next place of residence for Ernie was on acreage at Luddenham.
He then moved to Penrose in the 1980s where he still resides today.
Ernie enlisted in the Australian Army on May 4, 1940 at Paddington.
His total effective service in WWII was 1,478 days of which 932 days were served outside Australia.
He is a Rat of Tobruk, having served during the Siege of Tobruk (which resulted in Hitler's first defeat on land) and also served in the jungles of Papua New Guinea on the Kokoda Track.
As his father was the proprietor of a carrying business that operated via horse drawn vehicles, horses were always a large part of Ernie's life.
Horses were, no doubt, responsible for him meeting his first wife Jean Whiteman who he married in 1940 and also his second wife Bev Hines who he married in 2001.
Ernie, Jean and their children Chris and Joy were very much involved in the equestrian world, as were he and Bev. In the 1980s when Ernie became a resident of Penrose, he and Bev established a stud and training stables complex.
Here they bred Australian stock horses and trained and instructed in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping.
At the age of 80 Ernie took part in the inaugural Multiple Sclerosis Ride. The ride was just over 200km over six days between Taree and Port Macquarie.
In 2016 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division.
Mr Walker was recognised for his service to veterans through the Rats of Tobruk Association of NSW. Anyone who wants to wish Ernie a happy birthday can visit him at home- Forest Lodge, 100 Westwood Track, Penrose.