To the majority it’s just another war story. A story that is starting to fade into the vastness that is the other 102,000 stories on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.
The difference with this story however is that the story is modern and uncomfortable. Matt’s friends still remember him well, joking on the top of his LAV under the Victory Arch in Baghdad. They also know that not all good soldiers get a good deal. That when you go to war to serve your country, you quickly learn to accept that not everyone will be telling epic war stories on ANZAC day when they are old.
Matt passed away on 28 August 2015 at age 36.
Matt was a Trooper serving in Iraq with Australia’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment when the ASLAV he was driving was struck by a VBIED on 25 October 2004. He was knocked unconscious but awoke and ran to the aid of LT Garth Callender who was severely injured. Garth later recovered from his physical wounds, but as a result of the blast Matt was diagnosed with younger-onset dementia which claimed his life 11 years later. He has since been listed on the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll as a casualty of the Iraq War.
Matt was a Tasmanian. He was a Cavalryman, husband and father. In the words of Lt Callender, “Matt could be relied upon in a crappy situation” and it was Matt’s reliability that lead him to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Matt’s wife Terese remembers him as the most loving and caring of men, charming, a little cheeky and a man who loved their daughter.
Terese now runs The Matthew Millhouse Salute 2021 in Hobart. The event raises awareness for Mental Health issues as well as funds for White Cloud’s Meals for Mums program in Tasmania. When you view Matt’s photos stop for a moment to reflect on Matt and his family’s sacrifice.
War is not pleasant and not everyone has the capacity to confront it. The Australians that do are amongst the bravest of us indeed.