Ray Drew
Served in 249 Signal Squadron (FARELF) 1962 to 1965

Ray joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1957 as a boy soldier. He did his initial training at Denbury, Newton Abbott and was one of those lads known as a "Denbury Boy". His first posting was to Krefeld in West Germany.


In 1960 Ray came over to Catterick on his B3 lineman's course and met Jean at the Odeon Cinema in Darlington, County Durham. They married the following year and went on to have four children - Ron, Mandy, Glenn and Gail.


In 1962 Ray went to Singapore to be part of 249 Signal Squadron (FARELF) and Jean followed a month later with their baby son aged 6 weeks. On the 8th December Ray was called out of a friend's party with Jean and told to go home and pack his kit, confrontation with Indonesia had started and he was deploying on active service to Malaya and Borneo. Ray was 21 years old and Jean just 19.


Ray loved Singapore and particularly 249 Signal Squadron. It was like a big family and when the time came to leave everyone was loathe to go.


Ray went on every course and sat every test asked of him and became very proficient in his job and leadership. He was posted back to Krefeld, then to Bahrain, Wales and Deal in Kent as a recruiter.


He was promoted to Sergeant and was yet again posted to Germany for 8 more years. During this time he was in Krefeld, Dortmund and finally Wildenrath. During this period he was promoted 3 more times and in 1980 was appointed to WO1 (RSM) and posted to the Shetland Isles.


In 1982 Ray declined a commission and came out of the army after 26 years, a decision he never regretted. He was always immensely proud of serving in the Royal Corps of Signals and his youngest son Glenn joined the Corps too, serving 22 years which included tours in Iraq and Bosnia.


Ray was a very strong man, very fit and active. A family man who loved his family and instilled in them that family is everything.


Ray became a Prison Officer on the hospital side but found it was not the job for him. He stayed long enough for him to study and pass his exams with honours. He qualified in Chiropody, Sports Injury Therapy, Reflexology and Massage (approx 10 years study). He set up his own surgery and never looked back. He retired in 2001 as he wanted to go travelling and spend time with his wife Jean and that's exactly what he did till 2015. As a couple they travelled all over the world taking in many many wonderful places.


In 2013 Ray was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and the prognosis was 3 to 5 years. He was a very brave, courageous man who never dwelt on the future but enjoyed every moment that he had left. Ray's will power and courage astounded his family as he was on holiday with Jean, their eldest daughter Mandy and grandchildren from the 8th to the 15th August 2015. He spent his time going on rides with them, swimming in the sea and having an enjoyable time.


On the evening of the 15th of August Ray was admitted to hospital still full of life, joking and laughing with the family. Sadly on the 24th his lungs failed and he passed away. Jean and Ray had been married 54 years.