Colonel J.D. Sainsbury was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in 1938 and commissioned in the Royal Artillery during National Service, which he spent with a field regiment in Germany.
On release from full-time service he joined the Bank of England, where he worked until taking early retirement in 1989. He then spent twenty years as a historical consultant and archivist in the Honours and Awards Branch of the Military Secretary’s Department of the Ministry of Defence.
As a Territorial Army officer he served in local field artillery units and in a variety of staff jobs, until retiring in 2000. He was appointed OBE (Military Division) in the 1997 New Year Honours.
John Sainsbury’s interest in military history goes back to his schooldays but gained real purpose when, on joining the Hertfordshire Yeomanry (by then a field regiment of the Royal Artillery) he discovered how little had been published on the units of the Auxiliary Forces raised in the county.
Since his first book, Hertfordshire’s Soldiers, was published in 1969, he has written a number of books on the various units raised in Hertfordshire since Napoleonic times, ten of which are now available through University of Hertfordshire Press.
In recognition of his work in preserving and recording the history of military units raised in Hertfordshire he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1991.