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LONDON

SUNDAY 22 APRIL 2018

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive — Elbert Hubbard

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DRONE EXCLUSIVE
War reporters from The Sun tap German phones*

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*Sling in an ‘allegedly' Bings — Cocklecarrot (It’s a joke, you fool — Ed)
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Express subs react to being called back  to work from Press Club

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Actually it’s the Sex Pistols pictured in 1978 … but the similarities are there, ask any chief sub

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The icing is on the cake for your beloved aunt

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DRONETUBE
Nick Lloyd’s tribute to Jean Rook in 1991

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ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH

Spike Milligan at his funniest

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Jonathan Pie on the cold war

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A milk bar in Fleet Street? No wonder it didn’t last 

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There wasn’t much milk drunk in my day — Ed. Milk bars were popular after the war, we think this one disappeared  in the 1960s

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DX marks the spot — Craig is pushing the vote out

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Do you have the right policy?

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DRONETUBE

Our man Ashley on ITV news

Ashley Walton out on the Fergie story, early 1990s 

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Oh! You're home early

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Strolling down a Suffolk street, Nick’s encounter with the Easter Bunny

By NICK INGRAM

The plan for Easter Saturday had been to visit a stately home in Suffolk with my wife, parents and aunt. The vile weather meant we opted for a long lunch in Bury St Edmunds instead. 

It was my first visit, and wandering the quaint streets about 3.30pm I stumbled across an intriguing sign outside Waterstones. My old colleague David ‘Bunny’ Laws was signing copies of his book.

It seemed I had missed the event but decided to look inside and, as luck would have it, the great man was still lingering.

He was on fine form, giving a mini-lecture on Munich, the background to his book etc. He still does the odd Sunday Express shift.

Of course, it meant I had to put my hand in my pocket to buy a copy (paperback edition), which David cheerfully signed. 

Troubador magazine interview with David

Buy the ebook here

Buy the paperback here

Promotional video

         BUNNY LINGERS: David Laws, left, and Nick Ingram

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Daily Star Sports Desk 1980

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Former Daily Star sub Jeff Connor, pictured front right, sent this snap of the paper’s Sports Desk in Manchester circa 1980 before they moved to new offices. 

Pictured, second left, is sports editor Arthur Lamb, to his left is deputy sports editor Gordon ‘Geordie’ Burnett (long departed), the secretary was named Sue. In the background between Gordon and Jeff is the backbench with night editor Chris Davis, now Chris Royston Davis, who went to The Sun, and leaning over him is copy editor Mike Hughes. On the extreme left is Jack Ronnie (probably). Also on the backbench is Robbie Addison.

To the left of Chris Davis is Ian Pollack and standing is a guy called Robbie who we think was deputy to editor Peter Grimsditch. Behind secretary Sue is the DS newsdesk. Thanks to Mike Hughes and John Edgley for help in identifications. 

Jeff Connor is working on a potted history of Ancoats from 1976 to 1988. Read it here soon ONLY ON THE DRONE!

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Express sub-editors, Fleet Street 1970s

Daily Express sub-editors hard at work in the Fleet Street newsroom in the 1970s. From left, Doug Mann, Jack Atkinson, Dan McDonald, Terry Manners and Chris Williams. Lurking in the background could be Alastair McIntyre

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Who’s this having a fling?

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Can you Tel who it is? Find out here

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Whittow says farewell

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There were tears in the Daily Express newsroom when popular editor Hugh Whittow said goodbye to staff following the Trinity Mirror takeover in March

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Porky’s pig of a prophesy

Match result: Spurs 1, Manchester United 2

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A wander down memory lane

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FIRST TUESDAY CLUB: Standing from left, Bill Orchard, Tony Sapiano, John Burns, Frank Thorne, Peter Shirley, and Brian Steel. Front: Cliff Seabridge, Cora Weston, David Eliades and Jim Watson. Picture by Bill Orchard who Photoshopped himself into it

By FRANK THORNE

On a grey day, I ventured out to London to meet up with Daily Express old boys and girls at the First Tuesday Club. 

But my disposition changed to sunny smiles when I finished up wandering down Fleet Street with old workmates Brian Steel and John ‘Bomber’ Burns to visit some of our old drinking haunts, including the Punch, now a ghastly and a shadow of its impressive former self. The old Snooker Club dive bar is now an exclusive downstairs gin palace called the London Distillery.

We enjoyed a few hours recalling our various exploits on the road and slagging off a few tossers we worked for along the way. We drank to absent friends. A grand day out!

The monthly First Tuesday get together takes place in a private room at the Old Bank of England pub at the top of Fleet Street next door to the Royal Courts of Justice from midday onwards. 

It is organised by David Eliades former Express night news editor. Also present were former photographer Peter Shirley, snapper Tony Sapiano, Bill Orchard, ex-reporter John Burns, Jim Watson, former Express sports secretary Cora Weston, and ex-reporter and newsdesk executive Brian Steel. 

Others who often make it are David Bealing, Cliff Seabridge, John Downing and Tom Smith. 

The meeting was founded by the late Jim Nicholl. Norman Luck later took over from Jim. Norman died in 2012.

I spent 18 months on the Express before I left to spend the next 12 years on the Sunday People, 

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NEW SERIES
LOOKALIKE No6

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Diana: The pic they couldn’t publish

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How the Docker ruled   that pigs couldn’t fly

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In a snortingly good tale from Manchester, photographer PETER WILCOCK relates how Daily Star editor Lloyd Turner instructed him and reporter Allan Hall to buy a piglet to ‘bring to life’ the paper’s back-page cartoon Orson the Pig. Much hilarity followed with the punchline ultimately being delivered by Ray ‘Docker’ Mills. Read it here

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Who’s this macho young biker?

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GUESSED IT? You could always buy the latest edition of Motor Cycle News to find out, but the Drone has a simpler way. Just click here

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1885: First prototype of a Mercedes motorcycle

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History in Moments Extra

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1945: Five Australian former POWs catch up on the news with the Daily Express after their release from Japanese captivity in Singapore

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Message from the bar staff

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DRONE PHOTONEWS
Fleet Street’s great and good pay warm tribute to Robin Esser at memorial

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STAR LINE-UP: A huge congregation including Fleet Street’s top names attended the memorial service for Robin Esser on Wednesday 21st March. Pictured, from left, are Paul Dacre, Sir Michael Parkinson, Philippa Kennedy, Donald Trelford and Christopher Ward 
ASHLEY WALTON’S report
DRONE PHOTONEWS SPECIAL

Photo: Alan Davidson/AJDImages Ltd
+44 2080 045359 sales@silverhubmedia.com

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DRONE EXCLUSIVE

A man called Hoarse

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In another episode of his popular Tavener’s Tales blog, ROGER TAVENER tells of his encounter with the actor Richard Harris by a poolside in Los Angeles

Read it here

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Irony in action No18

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ONLY IN YOUR SUPER SOARWAY DRONE

How Inspector Watts found himself en route to Fleet St

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PETER SMITH relates how his old friend and colleague, Sunday Express columnist Michael ‘Inspector’ Watts,  got his job on the Sunday Express by talking rather loudly on the top of a No11 bus. Read it here

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WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

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Newspaper production when men were men … and the women didn’t get a look in

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Expressman STEPHEN WOOD has unearthed some fascinating footage of staff at work on the East Anglian Daily Times/Evening Star/Suffolk Mercury series in 1959.

Wood told the Drone: "The film was shot six years before I started there but it’s full of old coves I remember, especially the news editor Frank Tonkinson (who had reported from the Nuremberg Trials), Chief Sub Alf Boden and the grumpiest bastard of a stone hand called Ken.

"Thing is, the subs get a really good shout in this ... proper blokes (all blokes) all doing a proper job. Good stuff on Linos, foundry and press room too.

"It was all done in a wonderful Victorian red-brick building subsequently demolished to make way for Sainsbury’s in 1967.

The film runs for 16 minutes. Watch it HERE

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ONLY IN THE DRONE
How the Express twigged it had found a supermodel

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TERRY MANNERS has unearthed the fascinating story of how the Daily Express discovered Twiggy in 1966 and launched her on a stellar career as a supermodel. She is pictured here wearing her Express headline dress.

Read it here

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Expressman Izzard’s new  book on failed VC heroes

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Former Express sub-editor Brian Izzard, a prolific writer of military and naval histories, has a new book out. Glory and Dishonour tells the true story of Victoria Cross heroes whose lives ended in tragedy or disgrace.

The book is the first to explore the lives of those for whom the greatest accolade did not bring contentment, happiness or lasting fame. 

The book is available in hardback now on Amazon for £16.29. 

Details here

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History in moments No22

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1910: One of the first Coca-Cola delivery vans
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London couple … by Bert Hardy

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Sunday's papers

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Cartoons of the day

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Bob Moran

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Peter Brookes

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Drew Derbanvich

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Christian Adams

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Henry E Payne

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Gerald Scarfe

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Kal

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Bob Moran

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Tom Gauld

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Kal

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Punch Classic (1901)

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That is an impressive exhaust pipe, constable 

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Hold Page 96! 

News you may have missed

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Latest Eye

Classic Eye (2007)

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One in the Eye

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No 103

Volume 15: 1986

THE history of the Daily and Sunday Express as told 30 years ago through the columns of Private Eye (Lord Drone does not necessarily agree with the sentiments expressed although, from memory, they seem reasonably accurate.) 

New readers: The Eye referred to the Express as the Getsworse, the Getsmuchworse, or the Getsevenworse or sometimes even worse than that.

UPDATED 27 JANUARY

25 July 1986

Street of Shame

When an Englishman was sentenced to hang in Malaysia for drug-running, the Getsmuchworse swiftly dispatched ace newshound Norman Luck to cover the pleas for clemency, death-cell agony and grisly end. Unfortunately the grisly end took rather a long time coming.

Worried about the cost of this jaunt, the Getsmuchstingier’s news desk ordered the luckless Luck to return home. While he was in midair, though, it became clear that the editor, “Nick” Lloyd — who had not been told of Luck’s imminent return — wanted him to remain in Kuala Lumpur.

In panic, the news desk decided to keep the return of the prodigal wordsmith secret. As soon as he touched down on home soil he was whisked off to a hideaway and continued filing stories as if he was still in Malaysia.

Thus it was that a series of graphic eyewitness accounts of the days leading up to the hanging which appeared in the Express under the byline “from Norman Luck in Kuala Lumpur” actually came from no further afield than Tunbridge Wells where Luck was holed up in a luxurious flat while involved in discussions of a Malaysian nature.

19 September 1986

Street of Shame

Just as United boss David Stevens removes one source of sleaziness, Roger Boyes, so another pops up. Fleet Street's most repulsive yob Ray Mills, now has a column in the Star. 

Eye readers will remember Mills from issue 635, in which his habit of peeing in office wastepaper baskets, to the distress of cleaners, was disclosed. Mills’s new column is the journalistic equivalent of peeing in public.

At the Star he is known to one and all as BIFFO — Big Ignorant Fucker From Oldham.

The most recent Mills story involves his teenage son who, trying to please the elderly delinquent, baked him a birthday cake. Mills threw the cake at the lad’s head, shouting: “Are you a queer or something?”

3 October 1986

Street of Shame

When word was brought to dynamic Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie that Pat Phoenix was dead, his reaction was swift. “Get Doris Stokes [a clairvoyant] on the phone,” he screamed at a subordinate. “I want the first interview from the other side.”

A few minutes later the trembling subordinate reported back. La Stokes said that it took some time for for the spirit to move from earthly form. Even with her talents she could not yet make contact with the departed star.

“Well tell her to make it up,” shrieked MacFrenzie.

14 November 1986

“Hindley Freedom Move” screamed the Daily Getsmuchworse on Monday, labelling the story as “exclusive”. Its gullible readers were informed that Myra Hindley was to be sent to an open prison, and there were assorted quotes expressing the appropriate shock horror.

The Home Office denied the story as being untrue, for a very good reason — it was.

Step forward yet again Mr Michael Rocco Ryan who, posing as a prison nurse on escort duty, conned the gullible hacks. They can, however, almost be forgiven — for Rocky has become more sophisticated in the last twelve months. He has a fun-loving female accomplice who leads the hacks into his traps.

28 November 1986

Blood is running in the gutters at the Sunday Express, following the takeover by new Editor Robin Esser and his personally-appointed deputy Brian Hitchen.

Assistant Editor James Kinlay, once touted as the next editor, finishes at the end of the month. Photo editor John Dove has been given his cards and finishes up at the same time. Foreign editor Terry Foley returned from sick leave to be told he was no longer needed and has moved out of his office.

The latest office notice board announcement is the demotion of News Editor Michael Dove to reporter, apparently for his remark in the Poppinjay pub: “Brian Hitchen wouldn’t know a news story if it was shoved up his nose. He’s a beer-bellied idiot.”

“Inspector” Michael Watts has been axed after 27 years on the paper after telling Esser: “You can’t change the character of my column, old boy. I won’t stand for it.”

Travel editor Lewis de Fries has been chopped and now the Esser/Hitchen Punch and Judy act have turned their sights on Features Editor Max “Fuhrer” Davidson because of his continual complaining within the office: “All I get are inane features from Esser’s talentless Yuppie friends and Hitchen’s old drunken American-based cohorts.”

Assistant editor Ted Dickinson has been told to leave because when Esser tried to get back on the Daily Express after the closure of the Evening News he wrote a memo, still on file, reading: “On no account should Esser be given a job. He’s a total incompetent.”

Assistant editor Henry Macrory has been demoted to News Editor and one of his deputies, Ted Gartell, leaves at the end of November after being axed. Political editor Keith Renshaw has volunteered for early retirement at Christmas.

So of all departmental heads, that leaves just Diary Editor Lady Olga Maitland. The terrible duo backed off at the last minute when she befriended and started lunching with Lady Stevens, wife of Express supremo Sir David Stevens. Now she’s organising a counter-plot, jabbing her poison pen into the backs of her would-be executioners.

But that has not stopped Punch and Judy from targeting their next victim: the great Sir John Junor himself, who keeps bad-mouthing Esser and Hitchen to his spies still on the Sunday Express.

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The Daily Express, it seems, is still under the impression that its rightful owners are the Beaverbrooks. Lady Beaver has recently taken to ringing the paper’s executives to complain of items she finds “offensive” or “anti-Tory”, to wit one poor hack’s reference to “booze and fags”.

The hack was summoned to Deputy Editor Leith McGrumble’s office and told to empty his desk and collect his cards. As stunned as were his building society and family, the minion duly complied, but first informed the Father of the Chapel. A ruckus ensued between various heads of department and, 24 hours later, the hack was reinstated. Later he was told that he had also been guilty of anti-Tory sentiments and had better keep his nose clean (ie brown) in the future.

Lady Beaverbrook is 94.

Christmas issue

Letters to the Editor

Bloodless…

Sir,

Less blood has flowed on the Sunday Express than you claim. Only one member of the News Desk is leaving the paper, entirely of his own volition. The only change in my own position is that my duties have been expanded.

Yours unanaemically, 
HENRY MACRORY

Assistant Editor,
Sunday Express 

121 Fleet Street, London


Coo

Sir,

Your piece about me (Eye 651) is wrong in every detail.

I was not demoted from News Editor. I came off the desk in order to write for the new lively Sunday Express. It was entirely my idea and the move was approved by the editor.

Neither have I ever criticised Brian Hitchen in the Poppinjay or anywhere else. The remarks you attributed to me are a complete fabrication.

Your article was untrue and highly defamatory. I thought you had learned your lesson about checking facts after your recent High Court experience. 

Kindly publish this letter. I know better than to expect an apology from you.

MICHAEL DOVE

Senior Reporter

Sunday Express

121 Fleet Street, London

THAT’S IT FOR 1986

MORE FROM 1986

ONE IN THE EYE 1985

ONE IN THE EYE 1984

ONE IN THE EYE 1983

ONE IN THE EYE 1982

ONE IN THE EYE 1981

ONE IN THE EYE 1980

ONE IN THE EYE 1979

ONE IN THE EYE 1978

ONE IN THE EYE 1977

ONE IN THE EYE 1976

ONE IN THE EYE 1975

ONE IN THE EYE 1974

ONE IN THE EYE 1973

ONE IN THE EYE 1972

ONE IN THE EYE 1966-1971

SPOOF FRONT PAGE FROM 1965

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Who put the lights out?

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NOTHING stopped the Daily Express in 1972, not even the miners’ strike. It was the year of constant power cuts instigated by Prime Minister Edward Heath to cope with the lack of coal to fuel the power stations. And as the clock hit 4.14 on a winter's afternoon the Express news sub-editors slaved away by gaslight. Lord Drone recalls that the gas lamps on the ceiling were still there when the Fleet Street office was vacated in 1989. 
Who’s in the picture? We put a few names to faces HERE

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DroneTube
Farewell to Fleet Street

Fleet Street was full of journalists for the first time in many years when the London Press Club held a long lunch to mark the departure of the last newspaper from the Street of Broken Dreams. Watch the YouTube video of the event above and read the Guardian report

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DroneTube Exclusive

Life After The Front Page

This rare and previously largely unseen film, unearthed in the annals of Lord Drone, recalls the grand old days of Fleet Street. It includes interviews with Ann Buchanan, of The Sun and Daily Mirror; Clem Jones, from the Wolverhampton Express; Eric Todd of the Manchester Evening Chronicle and The Guardian; and George Bell and Ted Townshend of the Daily Telegraph. 

The film, which was made by students of Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1999, also includes someone called Alastair McIntyre (who he – Ed?) who addresses the public from the Daily Express offices in Blackfriars. 

Runtime is 16 minutes.
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DroneTube Exclusive

The Crusader Years 1900-1990

Only in the Drone: This video was supplied to Express staff in 1990 and is now published on the web for the first time. 

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© 2005-2018 Alastair McIntyre