Tributes are being paid to a former clerk to a community council who also served his National Service in Libya.

Roy Nicholas was a clerk to Llantilio Crossenny Community Council and then Llangattock-vibon-avel until his retirement in 2016.

He had already retired from Daylay Eggs Ltd as regional farm manager following his time with the British Egg Marketing Board as a Technical Officer until its dissolution in 1971.

A fluent Welsh speaker, he was born in Talsarn, and grew up in North Wales. After finishing his education, being the top student in his year at Madryn Castle Farm School, he was called up to do his national service in 1946.

Roy was enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps, he believed this was because of what would now be called ‘transferable skills’ from his experience of working with livestock!

He served in Libya under Colonel William McClure Graves-Morris, where he rose to the rank of Sergeant.

Upon completing his National Service, he and Colonel Graves-Morris remained in Libya until 1953, working for the Tripolitania Medical Services.

Roy enjoyed his time there and always spoke very highly of the local inhabitants and had many stories of travelling through the desert providing medical help.

Newspaper cuttings described how he had been the only person able to make it through the desert to bring aid to the then remote Tripolitania village of El-Fughaa.

He married Beryl in 1951, and they spent the first years of their married life together in Libya, then moved back to North Wales in 1953 where he managed a farm and began his work with the British Egg Marketing Board.

The move to Monmouthshire saw him continuing in the egg trade until 1993.

He clerked first at Llantilio Crossenny then applied to become clerk for Llangattock-vibon-avel.

Former community councillor Desmond Pugh was chairman at the time.

“I well remember being chairman for the first time in the 1990s when our clerk at that time, Sheelagh Wyke, suddenly retired so I had to take the minutes and write them up too, so I was grateful to see Roy’s application in our correspondence,” he said.

“Roy turned out to be a very efficient clerk, his attention to detail was appreciated by us all, and being a fluent Welsh speaker, was able to point out all the ‘schoolboy errors’ made by Monmouthshire County Council and their Welsh translation,” he added.

Roy was not only a fluent in Welsh, but spoke good Italian and some French and Arabic which stood him in good stead for his National Service when he navigated his truck across the desert country in Tripoli by compass to be the first stranger to enter El-Fughaa for three years after an influenza epidemic had taken a heavy toll of the 450-strong isolated community.

When news of the plight of the villagers living 600 miles inland was heard of, arrangements were made to take medical supplies to them.

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But heavy sand storms held up the column 100 miles into their journey and the local guide lost his way.

Roy travelled on alone, dropping large stones every so often so he could keep track of his journey, navigating by compass and arrived six days after leaving Tripoli.

Roy was commended by the Chief Administrator for the British Administration in Tripoli for his exploits during the sand storm.

During his spell as clerk to the community council, Roy was called in to play an emergency part with Monmouth Town Council.

Following the unexpected resignation of a former town clerk, Roy was asked to be the Proper Officer - one who serves or issues all the notifications required by law - for a town council meeting until another town clerk could be appointed.

Other former councillors paying tribute include Graham Edmunds who said: “Roy did a tremendous amount for the community council because he believed in what it stood for, but outside that he was a fascinating man to talk to and I know others, who had nothing to do with the council, held him in the highest regard.”

The funeral service will take place at St Teilo’s Church, Llantilio Crossenny on Monday 23 January at 2pm followed by interment in the churchyard.