Scarborough D-Day hero Maurice Sadler dies at the age of 96

A Scarborough veteran of the D-Day landings, who was awarded France’s highest military honour, has died at the age of 96.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:00 am

Maurice Ralph Sadler was a proud Normandy veteran, having joined the Royal Marines in May 1942.

In November 2015 he was honoured and delighted to receive France’s highest military award, The Legion d’Honneur.

He and wife Mary celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last month.

Maurice Sadler. Photo on left by Glyn Dewis.

Born in Middlesex in August 1924, Maurice joined the Marines aged 17. His landing craft escorted the Canadian army as it landed on Juno beach on D-Day, June 6 1944, and later supported Royal Marines Commandos at Sword beach.

His son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Christine Sadler, take up the story:

“On his return from the harrowing experience of spending a further 16 weeks at sea protecting the landing beaches of Normandy, Maurice was posted to Sandwich, Kent. It was there that he met the love of his life Mary Burke a serving Wren based at HMS Robertson.

“Maurice was given a choice for his next posting: the Far East to fight the Japanese or Scarborough to become Base Corporal for the Royal Marines School of Music. Guess which posting he chose!

Maurice came to Scarborough to become Base Corporal for the Royal Marines School of Music.

“Mary and Maurice wed, in Coventry, on May 4 1946. They were very happily married for more than 75 years, a wonderful achievement.

"They were blessed with two children (Michael and Barbara), five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

“In recent years, whilst enjoying his much anticipated retirement, Maurice had the privilege of becoming Honorary President of the Scarborough branch of the Royal Marines Association.

This gave him the opportunity to don his military medals and RM beret for the many commemorative veterans’ events, held locally, further afield, and in Normandy.

Maurice pictured with his medals in 2015.

“Much to Maurice’s delight, in May 2016 he was invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, proudly escorted by his daughter Barbara. An invitation he couldn’t possibly refuse!

“Mary and Maurice have family and friends dotted throughout the country and beyond, many of whom have sent wonderful messages of condolence, all iterating what a good, kind, caring and generous man Maurice was.

“RIP Maurice; we’re missing you already.”

In April 2019 Maurice and Mary Sadler were photographed by Glyn Dewis for a photoshoot and interview as part of his War Time Portrait Project; Glyn said “it was the perfect way to give something back – to take classic portraits of those who served and gave so much”.