Here at Woody’s Lodge, we were incredibly sad to find out that William, known to us as Bill, sadly passed away at the end of March.
We first met Bill in September 2018, when he first started coming to Woody’s Lodge. He always referred to Woodys as his ‘Club’ and enjoyed being ‘co-pilot’ to our Transport Officer, Kimberly, on the rides to and from Woodys in the minibus.
Bill was born 21 August 1928 to Winifred and William Broomfield in Portsmouth, which is where he stayed until the outbreak of the Second World War and his family was divided: his father joined the army and his mother moved him and his sister, Joan, to Streatham in London to avoid the bombing of Portsmouth Harbour by the Germans.
In 1944, towards the end of the Second World War, Bill joined the Royal Air Force as an Airframe Apprentice, where he then served as RAF Ground Crew and a Flight Engineer in the UK and overseas. Once the Second World War was over, he then served with the RAF for a further 30 years. He had an interesting life, of which he would tell us stories here, telling us all about his serving days, his family and his travels from around the world.
At only 16, Bill became the breadwinner of his family when his father was killed in action by friendly fire when moving back from the Arnhem Bridge in December 1944.
In the mid 50’s, Bill was posted to St Athan for training as flight crew, which is where he met his first girlfriend, who would ultimately become his wife, Diane, at one of the camp dances; the fire was lit and romance blossomed! They were married in St Andrews Church on the 21September 1957, his son came along in 1960 and in 1965, Bill applied for and was accepted for Officer Training.
From here, Bill travelled the world, his work with the RAF took him to friendly and not so friendly places across the globe: he crashed in Egypt, he was blown up in Aden and had at least two very narrow escapes in a Hercules and a Jaguar, although he lost good friends in both incidents.
Once he turned 55, Bill spoke to the RAF about extending his position and was offered a posting back in St Athan, where for two years, he worked with his son.
In the early 80’s, Bill was offered the chance to leave the RAF and become a civilian, an opportunity which he took with both hands! However, his RAF qualifications were not recognised outside of the service, so he went back to college to get GCE’s in English, Maths, Physics and IT, passing all with flying colours – not bad when you’re in your 50‘s!
Now Bill was a civilian, him and Diane began to travel the world together, from Europe city breaks to Hawaii, Canada and Hong Kong; travelling together, especially on-board a cruise, was their passion.
The biggest joy in Bill’s life was undeniably his family, he adored his children and grandchildren, nothing was ever too much for him when it came to his grandchildren, including inviting them along on trips to the Netherlands, and experience voyage on the QE2 and countless short trips in England and Wales. Bill would tell us all about his family and always spoke about them with such love.
More recently, Bill’s life was turned upside down when Diane was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she quickly became unwell after suffering a stroke which has left her hospitalised to this day. Bill would visit Diane every day, he could no longer drive due to his own medical conditions, so he would travel by taxis and public transport to visit Diane, to make sure she was ok and had everything she needed. Over sixty years of marriage taught Bill that marriage is a partnership and after many years of Diane looking after Bill, she now needed him to look after her.
Bill was absolutely a true gentleman, with many interesting stories to tell, from his serving days to cruising with Diane. He has left an imprint on many hearts here at Woody’s Lodge and he will be dearly missed by us all.
Rest peacefully Bill. We will miss you.
PER ARDUA AD ASTRA