Born in Brittany, France, on November 2, 1917, to a French father and Scottish mother, Guillemette Sadler spent her early years between France and London, where her father was employed at a French bank.
During the Second World War in June 1940, the German army was advancing on St Malo and the Royal Navy destroyed its docks to prevent their use by the enemy. As her home and community was under threat, Guillemette and her family looked for an escape to avoid being interned.
Luckily, a sailor named Ernie Sadler found a rowing boat and took them aboard. They escaped to Jersey and then England – and Ernie later became Guillemette’s husband.
While in London, Guillemette worked for Generale de Gaulle and his French forces in the city. During the Blitz, she also worked as an ambulance driver.
The Sadlers settled in Portsmouth until 1958 when Guillemette inherited her parents’ house in France. They lived there until 1974 when they were advised to return to England because of Ernie’s poor health. Sadly, Ernie died shortly afterwards of lung cancer.
Guillemette moved to Havant and has led an active life with St Joseph’s Church. And down the years she has enjoyed coach trips and pilgrimages to Lourdes and also returned to Brittany once a year to visit old friends.
She lived independently until 101 years old and moved to Green Meadows, Denmead, in February 2019.
Guillemette says she has reached 102 because she doesn’t watch television, is an avid reader and receives communion from a member of the Sacred Heart Church, Waterlooville, every week.
She celebrated her birthday with daughter Helen Stock, grandchildren and friends at Green Meadows on November 2.