Thursday, 23 September 2021

Royston Lewis Sadler — January 27, 1925 to March 19, 2016

ROY, as he was known, was a native of Henley, as was his father before him.

ROY, as he was known, was a native of Henley, as was his father before him.

He was educated at the Henley Church of England School and was a chorister at St Mary’s Church.

He joined the 1st Henley scout troop and eventually became a king’s scout.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, in his capacity as a scout, he served as a messenger in the Air Raid Precautions, carrying out regular night duties at the ARP post located at the British School in Norman Avenue.

On leaving school, he entered into an indentured apprenticeship with the local firm of Stuart Turner, where he served the full term of five years to become qualified in the field of general engineering.



In 1941, he joined the newly formed No 447 (Henley-on-Thames) squadron of the Air Training Corps to train for aircrew duties with the Royal Air Force.

It was during that period that he also became the drum major of the squadron’s band, which was a popular feature at all the war funding parades in the area and was often responsible for heading parades of more than 1,000 service personnel.

Having attained the rank of drum major, he went on to become a flight sergeant on passing his aircrew proficiency training.

It was in 1942 that he was first accepted for aircrew training with the Royal Air Force but because he was only 17 he was placed on deferred service.

It was during this time that he received flying training at Upper Culham airfield on various types of aircraft including the autogyro which was the forerunner of the helicopter. Roy was eventually called up for service with the RAF but was too late to be involved in operational flying.

Rather than leave, he remustered to ground crew, where he finally became an engine fitter with No 58 Squadron, working on photographic reconnaissance Mosquito aircraft at RAF Benson.

On leaving the RAF, he joined the maintenance staff at W H Brakspear & Sons at Henley Brewery, where he eventually became brewing and engineering manager.

In 1955, he offered himself for election as an Independent candidate at the Henley Borough Council elections and successfully topped the poll.

As a true Independent and passionately interested in the welfare of his local town and its residents, he went on to become an alderman and mayor of his native town in 1965. He also served as a member of Oxfordshire County Council.

He was made an honorary freeman of the borough in 1973 and went on to become an elected member of the newly formed Henley Town Council.

In 1972, on the re-organisation of Local Government, he was chosen to be the representative for Oxfordshire County Council on the eight-member steering committee that was responsible for setting up South Oxfordshire District Council, which came into being in 1974.

Roy was elected to the new council and was made its first chairman of planning.

With the introduction of party politics into local government in 1976, Roy became disillusioned with the bitter infighting of the political parties, in both the county and district councils. He lost heart in the way in which the political parties were behaving in the administration of local government.

It was a degrading episode of bad language being used by the then leader of the ruling political party of the county council in 1977, which took place at a public meeting of the council, that persuaded Roy to resign his seat as an Independent forthwith.

Having served Henley over a period of 20 years at borough, county and district level, Roy continued to serve on the town council until it, too, became entangled in party politics.

He then decided to resign from local government altogether. By this time, he had already renewed his contact with the RAF by joining the RAF Halton Area Voluntary Band as a musician, having been a member of the Henley (Town) Band since leaving the services in 1948.

In later years the RAF Band became more demanding and Roy found it to be an excellent and rewarding part-time occupation which he revelled in until 1997.

At the age of 72, due to arthritis in his hands, he could no longer keep up the required musical standard on the clarinet, which he had taken up seriously on leaving the RAF in 1948.

As secretary to the renamed Henley Concert Band, he tried desperately to keep it going in spite of local apathy but in the end it failed.

Although in some arthritic pain, he continued playing the clarinet with the Bisham Concert Band and kept in touch with the RAF Halton Band until his death.

As a leaseholder, he also served for a number of years as a member of the South Oxfordshire Housing Association’s Tenants’ Forum, of which he was an honorary member and at one time served as a member of the board.

Roy was also member of the Nettlebed branch of the Royal British Legion, the RAF Music Services Association and the Royal Air Forces Association.

Up until his death, he was often approached by local residents for his advice, which would be freely given.

But when asked to write his memoirs he hinted that he was too busy to spare the time.

Jean, Roy’s wife of almost 69 years, sadly passed away last year.

Roy passed away at Eastfield House care home in Pangbourne on March 19. A private funeral for close family and friends will take place later this month.



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