Family finds Burma grave of Frizinghall war hero Private Billy Redmile (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Family finds Burma grave of Frizinghall war hero Private Billy Redmile
12:00pm Friday 11th May 2012 in News
For 70 years the family of Bradford soldier Private Billy Redmile believed his body was lost – buried in a mass grave near a Burmese prisoner of war camp.
His dad, former policeman Rowland Redmile, of Frizinghall, even travelled to the military dictatorship in the 1970s but died without knowing his son’s final resting place.
Now the soldier’s great niece Mandy Holten has finally solved the family mystery and is looking for his remaining relatives in the Bradford district.
She said: “The family always thought he was in a mass grave.
“My dad told me quite a lot about Billy because they were very close and he remembered him as a small boy. He told me that my great-grandad, who was a policeman, had gone across looking for him but that Burma at that time was under military rule and was chaos.
“In the 60s my uncle, who was a Grenadier guard stationed in Burma, went looking around trying to find the grave. He had a look and still couldn’t find anything. Everyone just thought they would never find him.”
Pte Redmile was serving with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 2nd Batallion when he was captured in Burma.
He is believed to have been shot in the shoulder as they were retreating across a river and was captured by the Japanese. He died due to lack of medical attention as a prisoner of war in 1942, aged 30.
In the latest bid to find where he is buried, Miss Holten contacted Ron Taylor, who runs the Roll of Honour website in remembrance of prisoners of war and fallen soldiers from across the UK.
He told her that her great uncle had been buried in the Burmese capital Rangoon and sent a map of the plot where his grave stands.
Mr Taylor said there had been a “lack of communication” after the war, which meant many families were unable to find out how their loved ones died.
Miss Holten, of Lancaster, said: “It was pretty amazing that, after all those years when we thought Billy was lost, he turned out not to be at all.”
She believed Pte Redmile had two younger sisters, Sylvia and Thelma, who were still living in Yorkshire.
Anyone who believes they are related to Pte Redmile can e-mail Miss Holten at firstname.lastname@example.org.