Brigadier Frank Goadby was the driving force behind the Royal British Legion in Oxfordshire for many years.
He served as county chairman and later county chairman after a distinguished military career.
He was proud to increase Legion membership and to inspire a year-on-year increase in Oxfordshire’s Poppy Day collections.
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He was born in Reading in 1899, the son of a dentist, who encouraged him in his love of nature.
As a child, he traveled many miles to add a wildflower to his collection.
He joined the army in 1917, went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned with the Royal Engineers.
In 1919 he was serving in India, the start of two long stints, during which he served as company and battalion commander, assistant quartermaster general, brigadier and sub-area commander.
He was the last British general in Calcutta and the last British commander in Bombay.
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One of his tasks in India was to update military roads, which meant traveling hundreds of miles through scenic landscapes, sometimes at altitudes of 19,000 feet.
After retiring from the army in 1949, he began a long career in public service, serving as County and District Councillor, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County, Treasurer of Standlake Football Club, Chairman of Standlake Youth Center , director of the Nuffield Orthopedic Center in Oxford and president of the Oxford branch of the Burma Star Association.
At one point he calculated he was a member of 44 committees, in local government and other spheres of Oxfordshire life.
However, his priority has always been his work with the British Legion.
Becoming county chairman in 1953, he set himself goals of 10,000 members and £10,000 in Poppy Day collections.
He remained county chairman until 1971, then served six years as county chairman before retiring.
His love of nature stayed with him throughout his life – during his military training in Camberley, Surrey he was not just a student but a ‘head gardener’.
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When he retired from the army, he and his wife Joan moved to the 400-year-old Gaunt Mill in Standlake.
With their love of nature and landscaping, they transformed what was a wilderness into a show garden, with the River Windrush nearby.
It remained their home until 1981 when they moved to a Royal British Legion flat at Frank Cook Court, Kidlington. The brigadier died in 1985, at the age of 85.
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team over 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
Contact him by email: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF