aDame Vera Lynn's husband, Harry Lewis, has died in London aged 83. Saxophonist Harry played with various London bands in the 1930s and met his wife when they were both with the Ambrose Orchestra.

He joined the RAF at the start of the Second World War, in company with a sizeable chunk of Ambrose's band, including George Chisholm, to become the famous RAF dance orchestra The Squadronairs.

The band was ready to go

over to the continent to entertain the troops until the German breakthrough to the Channel in 1940 put paid to that idea. In

the post-Dunkirk confusion, the authorities had nothing for them to do right away, so they concentrated on rehearsing their music until they reached a peak of perfection.

Harry Lewis featured on clarinet in the Artie Shaw numbers, while Glaswegian Andy McDevitt starred in the Benny Goodman items.

The men in The Squadronairs represented the cream of their profession at the time. No civilian band leader could have afforded the salaries their talents deserved, yet the RAF enjoyed their services for a mere five shillings (25p) a day.

Leader and vocalist, Aber-donian Jimmy Miller, wore ser-geant's stripes, but he was ''acting, unpaid'' and swore the only benefit he noticed was that he could sign the rest of the band into the sergeants' mess for a drink after the show.

When things had settled down a bit The Squadronairs set out

to entertain both services' and civilian audiences all over the country, with Dame Vera joining her husband and the band when she could.

When The Squadronairs were due leave, they used to spend it ''doubling'' the old Glasgow Empire and Green's Playhouse Ballroom. It was quite a sight to see them in their RAF uniforms, instruments in hand, emerging from the Empire stage door in West Nile Street between houses to dash up to Green's to play for the dancers.

Harry Lewis was invalided out of the RAF in 1943 and his place was taken by a Glasgow musician, Monty Levy. Post-war, the band carried on as a

co-operative unit until popular music tastes changed and it finally folded in 1964.

After his return to civilian life, Harry Lewis gave up playing to become his wife's man-ager throughout her long career. He is survived by Dame Vera and their daughter, Virginia.

Jimmy Brown