Bill died on 16 March 2008, aged almost 72.

SSgt WH Kelly BEM
SSgt WH Kelly BEM

He enlisted at Omagh on 22 October 1956 and started training with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards at Catterick, then with the 16th/5th Queen’s Royal Lancers on 14 January 1957.

On 6 May 1957, he was allocated to 16/5L. He attended a wireless assistant’s course at Bovington which he passed. He married Louise on 30 July 1957.

He was appointed Lance Corporal on 1 August 1957. He attended a wireless instructor’s course at the RAC Centre from 26 August to 2 November 1957, which he passed.

On 7 December 1957, he was transferred to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, then stationed at Luneburg, joining ‘C’ Squadron. His rank of lance corporal was re-instated on 10 December 1957, and his promotion to corporal came on 8 February 1958. James was born on 12 May 1958.

Just prior to amalgamation with the 4th Hussars on 10 March 1958, he and his wife had the honour of being visited in their newly built married quarter by the Colonel of the Regiment, HRH The Prince Philip.

He was posted to the North Irish Horse, the Regiment’s affiliated TA Regiment, joining ‘B’ Squadron at Caw Camp, Londonderry, his home town. Jeremiah was born on 17 April 1959 and William on 5 January 1961.

He returned to the Regiment in Aden on Balaklava Day 1961, joining ‘B’ Squadron. He remained in 3rd Troop, ‘B’ Squadron on their move to Singapore and on to Brunei in October 1962, returning to Singapore in March 1963. In October the Squadron moved from Singapore to Kuching and up to Ipoh in February 1964.

Bill was now Troop Sgt of 4th Troop with Cornet Pusinelli, having been promoted on 11 July 1964. Paul was born on 26 September 1964.

He returned to the UK on 30 October 1964, rejoining the Regiment in Wolfenbuttel on 19 November 1964. He returned to the RAC Centre to take his release on 5 August 1965, being discharged on 26 October 1965.

He re-enlisted on 1 February 1966 and returned to the Regiment at Wolfenbuttel on 9 March 1966. In March 1967 he moved to Omagh as a special recruiter, remaining there until 29 July 1970. He was promoted to staff sergeant on 1 July 1970. Vincent was born on 12 January 1968 and Peter on 6 January 1969.

He returned to BAOR on 30 July 1970, joining the Regiment at Paderborn. He took the appointment of RHQ Troop Leader where he first made his acquaintance with Bispingen. During this time he was popular with those of the Warrant Officers’ Duty Roll as he clocked quite a few extras.

In 1972 he took over as Officers’ Mess Steward, and what a marvellous job he did. He received his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in February 1975.

He took over the PRI in 1976. His entrepreneurial skills came into full play in this appointment, as profits soared.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal on the 1978 New Year’s Honours list, a just award for his valuable service to the Regiment.

He took his release on 2 February 1979 and took up residence in Bispingen with Regina, whom he married in 2002. They had a daughter Sabrina.

Initially, he was employed as the Sergeants’ Mess Caterer at HQ 7 Armoured Brigade, and then as a BIA in Munsterlager and transferred to Fallingbostel to join Arthur Smith and Alec Norwell.

He took early retirement on redundancy in 1998.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. A short history of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  3. Aden and The Persian Gulf 1961
  4. Malaya and Borneo 1962-64