Roy John D'Archambaud 1935-2011
Roy D'Archambaud was born on 14 April 1935 in Croydon, Surrey.
Roy was born the second child of Ernest D'Archambaud, an insurance company manager, and Olive née Lambert. From family research the first D'Archambaud, a Professor of Music, came to England from Paris in 1840.
As a young boy, Roy's family moved several times across London and during the war he was evacuated twice, once to Hartley Wintney and secondly to Northamptonshire. After the war he returned to find a stepmother (Maisie) and a half brother (David) and found himself taking much of the day to day responsibility of his younger half brother. His mother and elder sister, Beryl, were living elsewhere. Subsequently Roy's father married for a third time to Doris Astin.
Roy attended Wandsworth Boys Grammar School where he became interested in athletics. He became a very successful middle distance runner and a member of the South London Harriers alongside Gordon Pirie who became one of the leading athletes of the 1950s. As a young teenager he also joined the Salvation Army and played the French horn in its local band. When he reached the age of eighteen Roy was conscripted into the Royal Air Force for his National Service and was posted to Yatesbury in Wiltshire. Although knowing nothing about radio he was made a Radio Instructor and was self taught in this subject from a manual which he was asked to read by his higher ranks at Yatesbury. Learning of his athletic abilities, the RAF transferred him to their athletic team which he soon captained and represented England on many occasions. At this time Derek Ibbotson (later MBE), the career athlete, was also serving with the RAF and Roy trained with him on frequent occasions.
His first employment when returning from National Service was with Sun Life Assurance Company and he remained in their employment all his working life, starting as a clerk and rising to the top managerial position of Sales Director. He was a member of the Insurance Institute and obtained several of their work-related qualifications. In 1961 he met Diana Aust (believed to be of Dutch decent) who was working as the Matron's Secretary at Dunedin Nursing Home, Reading. They married in All Saints Church, Reading, in October 1962, and lived subsequently in several locations including Mortimer, Twyford, Winchester and Henley-on-Thames. Diana and Roy had two daughters, Lisa and Zara and both Roy and Diana enormously enjoyed the pleasure of their four grandchildren. At Roy's funeral service his daughter, Lisa, gave a fitting eulogy in which she said 'we had to remember that he [Roy] was always right, always took the sensible long term view and sometimes had the infuriating habit of asking a question and not listening to the answer! He taught us the value of hard work and was also the peacemaker in a house full of women'.
Sport and outdoor activities remained a constant interest throughout Roy D'Archambaud's life. He continued to have a fondness in athletics but was also keen on golf, cycling, rugby and walking. He enjoyed travel and spent many holidays cruising with his wife. He was a member of Phyllis Court Members Club where he made many friends and participated in many of their events/activities. He was also very interested in politics and for a number of years, was Chairman of Highmoor Parish Council where he and Diana lived for 32 years.
At the suggestion of his father, Roy started his widespread Masonic career in April 1963 when he joined the Lodge of Resolve (No 7177) in the Province of Surrey. He was Raised in January 1964 and became Worshipful Master in October 1971. Subsequently he was:-
Past Provincial Grand Almoner (ProvGAm, Surrey)
Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PPAGDC, Surrey)
Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works (PPGSuptWks, Surrey)
Past Provincial Grand Registrar (PPGReg, Surrey)
In January 1976 he became a joining member of Grey Friars Lodge (No. 1101) – Berkshire Province – and was Master of that Lodge between 1988 and 1989. He was appointed Secretary between 1993 and 2001 and was Master again between 2005 and 2006. Following this he was:-
Past Provincial Grand Registrar (PPGReg, Berkshire)
Provincial Grand Almoner (ProvGAlm, Berkshire)
He became a joining member of Berkshire Masters Lodge (No. 3684) in May 2000 and was Assistant Director of Ceremonies between 2001 and 2002 and Almoner from 2002 until 2007.
In 1986 he was Perfected into the Ancient and Accepted Rite in the Maidenhead Chapter Rose Croix and became their Most Wise Sovereign in 1994. By 2006 he was awarded his 33˚ and was appointed Inspector General for Berkshire. This was the peak of his Masonic career.
Previously, in 1989, he was Exalted into Sindlesham Chapter (No. 8293) and became a joining member of Berkshire First Principals Chapter (No. 3684) in 2004. While a member of Sindlesham Chapter he was Joshua (1996), Haggai in 1997, Most Excellent Zerubbabel (1998), Almoner (2003) and Treasurer for two years between 2009 and 2011.
In addition to these wide-ranging activities in Craft and The Ancient and Accepted Rite, Roy D'Archambaud also held the Grand Ranks of:-
Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) Craft
Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (AGDC) Royal Arch
Apart from his extensive Masonic duties as Almoner – and his other Masonic Officer-ships – Roy was a Trustee of the Berkshire Masonic Charity and in 1990 he helped start an endeavour (with his friend Ken Lyng) to relieve the distress of non-Masonic claimants within Berkshire. Even when holidaying with his wife Diana, on the many memorable cruises they took together, he would organize other Freemasons on board and asked them to dip into their pockets to fund his charitable work at home. His altruistic abilities were legendry and he was passionate in this endeavor to the very end of his life even competing in the Reading Half Marathon in his wheelchair which was propelled around the course by some of his Masonic brethren.
Roy was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in September 2008 and this progressed very rapidly. Nevertheless he continued with his Masonic duties without complaint but ultimately it became necessary for him to have specialist care and he entered the Sue Ryder Home in Nettlebed where he died on 7 June 2011. His funeral arrangements were held at St Mary's Church, Henley-on-Thames, and this was attended by approximately 400 of his family, friends and Masonic Brethren. Before Roy D'Archambaud died he asked that the following words be said at his funeral service (21 June 2011); they were dictated to his daughter Lisa on 9 May 2011.
I've always been an active church man and you could say that my faith has kept me going during some pretty difficult times recently. My love of sacred music was borne during my time as a chorister.
My father invited me to become a Mason when I was 27. I now realise that it was one of the best things that he could have suggested. I have made many good friends and lasting friendships during my 49 years in Freemasonry and have been greatly supported in this by my wife. I want to thank everyone in Freemasonry for their friendship.
My association with the Ancient and Accepted Rite has been the highlight of my Masonic career and I wish my successor as much enjoyment as Inspector General as I have had over the last 5 years. My work as Provincial Almoner was the hardest working job I did, but it was a rewarding position. I will not mention any individual by name because you've all been such stalwart friends. On the plus side, at least you won't get quite so many emails in future!
I now go to meet my maker. I just hope he will forgive my mistakes in life. Forty-nine years of married life have passed with great happiness and I might say with great tolerance by Diana. To Lisa and Zara, I thank them for four wonderful grandchildren. Reggie surely has a future in rugby and running, but don't push him too quickly. I'm sure Freddie, as he grows older will do just as well – if not better. Tabitha, my only granddaughter will no doubt be a champion karate expert as well as a horse rider. And young Edward has it all to look forward to and I wish him every success, as I do to all four of them.
My great sorrow is that now I will not be around to see them in their teens as they make their way in life. I've had a good life and I'm looking forward to trying the next.
After the funeral service at St Mary's Church, and at his particular request, Roy D'Archambaud was cremated at Reading Crematorium with only the Reverend in attendance and his remains were buried in St Mary's Churchyard. His resting place is marked with the conventional marble tablet.
Peter Bird 2013