I’m William Edward Callaghan, but only ever when my mum was really going to invoke the wrath of God on me. I guess she wanted the thunderbolt to hit the right target. To family and friends I was Billy until I joined the Army, then my mates called me Bill and variations thereof. Bill the Bandage or Bill the Pill made it easy to be identified as the unit medic. Now and again I’d surprise myself and others with some stunt and became Wild Bill, but I’ve never been that wild.
Born in 1962, I grew up in Manchester with an older brother and two younger sisters in an Irish Catholic community, (“Jesus was born in a stable son, he wasn’t a fekkin horse!”). I’m sure it was more miserable than I recall it, but I had a happy childhood. I really enjoyed my time with 1st Wythenshawe Scouts, the Law and Promise have always resonated with me and reflect almost perfectly the values and standards of the British Army. I became a soldier at seventeen and for the next twenty-three years was a Combat Medical Technician. I travelled widely: Kenya, Norway, Falkland Islands, Cyprus and saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Persian Gulf and the Former Yugoslavia. I retired in 2002 as Recruit Company Sergeant Major for the Army Medical Services.
At twenty three I married Wendy and a ready-made family: Marlies was four when I met her mum and our son Tom came along the following year. Service life kept us apart a lot and like many such marriages we found we couldn’t live together when our time with the Army ended and I took up my current post as Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London.
I’ve always been interested in history, but I’m not terribly academic. Fortunately my primary education at St Aidan’s RC School was good enough to get me through the Army because I never really attended secondary school. During my military service I discovered a talent for instruction. I enjoyed some extra roles in Psychological Warfare and Public Information – the two go hand in hand. I took an Open University degree with a diploma in European Humanities as well as some military courses at Bristol and St Andrews in World Politics.
When not at work my home is in Appledore, North Devon. I enjoy paddling the Taw and Torridge with occasional kayak Surfing at Westward Ho!