From a young age Billy wanted to be a soldier. When he was 8 years old his cousins Joe and Henry were on holiday on the Island and Billy’s mum said she would take them out for a big walk with the dogs. They were all dressed in camouflage gear and they went off to hide and Sue was to try and find them. Using the dogs she managed to flush out Joe and Henry but could not find Billy, eventually with the light fading and Sue getting a bit worried he shouted out from his hide and showed himself, he had been hiding in a tree.
Jump forward 8 years and he was starting his army career at Army Foundation College, Harrogate. We dropped him off on the 6th of January 2008 and said our goodbyes to him, we were to pick him up in 6 weeks time after the official passing in parade. Well, what a massive change after his first 6 weeks, no longer the slouching teenager now a straight backed man. The next 10 months he went from strength to strength, his old headmaster at junior school had written on his last report “Billy will be a leader of men”. At the end of his time at AFC Harrogate he was a parachute regiment junior sergeant, narrowly missing out on the junior RSM position which he was gutted about.
The next phase was Catterick Infantry Training Centre to do P Company, this 14 week course sorts the men from the boys. There are plenty of YouTube videos about if you fancy a watch, in true Billy fashion he passed with flying colours and was given his posting. 1 Para Special Forces Support Group.
Now the hard work started, intense training on different weapons. The jumps course at Brize Norton to earn his wings. Counter terrorism training, anti-piracy training in the English Channel in the dead of night. Then pre-deployment training in Oman. All preparing him for his first tour of Afghanistan in November 2010. Aged just 19 this was a baptism of fire, on night ops support Special Forces. After a tough six months he came home a changed man.
By June 2012 he had transferred to F Company so he could rotate back out to Afghanistan for another tour, this was a shorter tour as he had to come back for Junior Officer Training to get his first promotion, which again in Billy fashion he was joint first.
His last tour started in May 2014, it was more of a training role this time. He was operating with Afghan Special Forces training them up to take up the fight themselves. He made some very good friends that tour. For his R & R in August he had signed up to ride in the Manx Grand Prix Newcomers and Junior races. Dad Dave had prepped the bike ready for the Mountain Course and all Billy had to do was ride it, which he did once again in Billy fashion to a win in the Newcomers race and a second in the Junior race. Then a few beers on the night after the Junior getting his awards then back to Afghan to finish the tour.
2015 brought more training and his first promotion, then some discussions with the regiment to take a year out (2016) to train and compete in the TT. Unfortunately that never happened as he lost his life in the April of 2016. He had a full military funeral held on Friday the 13th of May in Douglas on the Isle of Man at which he was well represented by the Special Forces Support Group. There was a surprise visitor in shape of a Tornado jet fighter flying over pit lane at the TT grandstand at about 400 feet with full afterburners on. That turned a few heads!!!
Billy Redmayne Memorial Fund
Registered charity number 1297
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