Remembering Ray on his 100th birthday

Ray Roberts
Ray Roberts

A founding member of Thame’s Probus Club who fought in the RAF during the Second World War has died aged 100.

A special celebration lunch had been planned in honour of Raymond (Ray) Louis Roberts at RAF Halton last week.

But hours before the event was due to start he sadly passed away, two days after enjoying his 100th birthday at the Chilton House care home near Long Crendon.

The lunch, for 65 people in the officer’s mess went ahead as planned, but was hastily altered to be a remembrance event, and longest serving Probus member John Davis delivered a speech.

Mr Roberts’ son Stephen and daughter-in-law Clare also attended the event, accepting a certificate of achievement in his place.

Stephen, 50, a professor at Oxford University, said: “He was just larger than life, an incredibly generous and kind man.

“He was a pilot in the war and survived when so many young men didn’t.

“That was something he didn’t really talk about until he was really very old.

“He never claimed to be brave or heroic, he just said that he was very lucky.

“He was very humble about all the things that he had done in his life.”

He added: “He said that he felt like he was living on borrowed time since the day his plane was shot down in 1940.

“He survived and lived to fight another day, but he really felt that every day after that was an extra day to be grateful for.”

Mr Roberts completed his training as an architect in 1938 but always had a love of flying and joined the Auxiliary Air Force in 1938.

He already had many hours under his belt when he was called to serve during the war.

He married wife Irene (Vera) and the couple had their only son, later welcoming grandchildren Elise and Rebecca.

The couple moved to Long Crendon in the late 1980s and Mr Roberts helped to set up the Thame Probus Club in 1989.

Stephen added: “It was hard to attend the event, but lovely to meet all the people who he meant so much to.”