ONE of Fleet Street's greatest characters, super sub and all-round good guy Simon Crookshank died on 19th January after losing his brave battle against cancer. He was 66.
The Drone's exclusive report of the funeral can be found here
Sausage king Bill O'Hagan, former night news editor of the Daily Telegraph and one of Fleet Street's most colourful characters, has died of cancer at the age of 68. What is not widely known is that he was born Bill Bastard and, for reasons best known to himself, adopted his mother's maiden name.
Tribute from The Times
The Drone is sad to report the death of another valued friend and colleague. Bob Kilbey, a Daily Express sub-editor in the 1960s and 70s and a former BBC Radio Two disc jockey, has died at the age of 68.
He leaves a partner, Patricia and son Kevin.
Cartoonist James Sillavan, who worked on the Daily Express art desk from 1980 until 1987, has died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 63.
A memorial service to commemorate the life of James will be held in three months time in the City of London.
FORMER Sunday Express editor Brian Hitchen and his wife Nelli have been killed after being hit by a car near their holiday home in Altea, Spain.
They had parked their car and were crossing the road to meet friends for dinner when they were hit.
Nelli died instantly and Brian was was taken to hospital, but died from his injuries after surgery and being placed in a medically-induced coma.
Hitchen, aged 77, was editor of the Daily Star from 1987 to 1994 and then moved to edit its sister publication, the Sunday Express for a year. After leaving the group, he set up his own media company.
Editors past and present attended the memorial service for Brian Hitchen at St Bride’s Church, London, on 8th May, 2014.
Order of service
Former DAILY EXPRESS News Desk man Brian Cashinella has died from lung cancer after several months of illness. He was 75.
He started his career at the Manchester Evening News before graduating to the Daily Telegraph in Fleet Street and then The Times.
He later joined the News Desk team at the Express under news editor Arliss Rhind.
Brian died at his home in Kenley, Surrey, on Wednesday, 5th November. He is survived by wife, Pat, daughters Alison and Elizabeth, sons Damien and Julian and eight grandchildren.
Pat said that on the day Brian died he and the local priest had an animated hour-long discussion about their favourite football team, Manchester United. Five minutes after the priest left Brian died.
The Daily Drone is sad to report the death of Barrie Devney, former industrial editor of the Daily Express, who passed away peacefully on 30th December, 2014 at the age of 81.
Barrie’s son Chris said: 'Dad will be bloody annoyed at the fact that he once wrote a fitting obituary for Arthur Scargill, and that he was rather hoping that he'd get to publish that first!’
A successful and fun-filled memorial service was held for Barrie Devney, former industrial editor of the Daily Express, at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street on Tuesday.
It was attended by more than 60 people who later adjourned to the adjacent Punch Tavern for lunch.
Veteran Daily Express news sub-editor Dan MacDonald has died at the age of 88.
Daily Express regional reporter Colin Pratt has died at his home in Pezenas, southern France after a long illness. He was 76.
Friend and former colleague Tom Brown said: 'Colin was the best, kindest and most loyal of colleagues. He and Angie kept open house and were always warm and welcoming. Like many others, I feel a real sense of personal loss.'
Former Daily Express news sub Chris Evenden died on Friday 5th September, 2014. After leaving the Express in the mid-1970s for a job with the Ford Motor Company, he later became Chief Sub of The People.
Dennis Griffiths, former production director of the Evening Standard and research and development director with Express Newspapers, died on Christmas Eve aged 82.
Roy Eves, former deputy features editor of the Daily Express in Manchester, died peacefully in hospital on 18th September aged 83.
Roy, who had four grandchildren, was an active union member, Liverpool football fan and a crown green bowler.
His colleague Roger Watkins recalled: ‘Roy was a great character, known, among other things, for celebrating a nice drink after the first edition had gone by standing on a bar stool and stripping while singing "Have you seen the Muffin Man?" with a full pint balanced on his head. Talk about flooding the bar!’
Alan “Bacca’ Baxter
One of the great characters of the Daily Express, North East district reporter Alan ‘Bacca’ Baxter, has died at the age of 82.
Bill ‘Didge’ Reynolds
The Drone is very sad to report that former Daily Express News Sub Editor Bill ‘Didge’ Reynolds died on 30 August. He was 73.
Bill, who had bravely fought cancer for the past year, had been in a weakened state and fell downstairs after getting out of bed at his home in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.
He died after being taken to the London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Didge, pictured above in 2010 on one of his beloved country walks, was a wonderful man who was much loved by everyone who knew him.
Among the huge turnout for the funeral, held on 15th September in Hainault, Essex, were many old Fleet Street hands.
Roy Greenslade has written a lovely tribute to Bill in The Guardian HERE
Rod Kiddell, who quit as editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and joined the Daily Express as a freelance news sub in 1988, has died at the age of 72
Former Daily Express reporter Kingsley Squire died in November 2015 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July. Kingsley, pictured with his wife Monica, is said to have had a 'wonderful, peaceful death surrounded by his family'. He was 78.
The funeral was held on 11th December. Donations can be made to Sidmouth Hospiscare and Sidmouth RNLI care of Potbury’s Funeral Directors, 111 High St, Sidmouth EX10 8LB.
CLARE DOVER, who worked with Kingsley on the Express in London, had made elaborate arrangements to attend the funeral in Devon. But her plans went slightly awry.
She explained: "The best laid plans, and all that … Jill King and I had made elaborate plans to go to Kingsley's funeral together, with me getting up in Manor Park, East London, at the unearthly hour of 4.15 am to get Tubes and train to meet up at Hildenborough, Kent, the nearest station to Jill's home, for the drive to Devon in Jill's car.
"Map reading had been promised. I had set two alarm clocks, to be doubly certain of waking - and managed to sleep through them both, awaking just in time to stop Jill from heading to the station. She promised to tell me all about it. So here I am, at home, toasting Kingsley with port and mince pies and holding a solo wake. R.I.P. Kingsley."
Kingsley’s colleague JAMES DAVIES told the Drone: ‘Kingsley was truly one of the good guys.
'Whenever you had a job in Birmingham you were guaranteed a warm welcome. So warm, in fact, that on one spectacularly bibulous occasion I missed the last train back to London and was smuggled into the Squire household where all were abed, well past midnight, and given sanctuary on Kingsley's sofa.
'I was awakened at dawn by his youngest running into the lounge and screaming: "Mummy there's a man in our house”.
'Hungover, unwashed and unshaven, I found myself trying to explain to Monica the circumstances of my unwarranted arrival. As I remember she coped magnificently – testimony to the training of most journalists' wives!
'I used to tell Kingsley that the older he got the more he resembled John the Baptist. His powerful response to pancreatic cancer was admirably biblical.’
The former political editor of the Daily Express, died on 23rd July, 2015, at the age of 87.
He was a political correspondent on the Herald in Scotland before being hired by Express editor Alastair Burnet in 1975. He stayed with the paper until the mid-1980s.
Jack leaves a daughter, Anne and a son, John. He was married twice, his wives Harriet and Marion having predeceased him.
He was always known as Jack but was bylined as John Warden because his mother considered the name Jack vulgar.
Former night editor of The Sun Vic Mayhew died on June 18th, 2015, aged 77.
Roy Greenslade has written an excellent tribute in the Guardian which may be viewed HERE
One-time Expressman Jon Zackon, who worked with Vic on The Sun, has written this hilarious anecdote:
Sir Peter O’Sullevan
Celebrated Daily Express horse racing correspondent Sir Peter O’Sullevan died on July 29 at the age of 97.
Sir Peter, who was also a famed TV commentator for the BBC, worked for the Express for 36 years. He died at his London home after a long illness.
He was involved in some of the earliest television commentaries on any sport in the late 1940s and also did many radio commentaries in his earlier years.
The Daily Telegraph obituary said: 'Following the death in 1964 of the Express’s proprietor Lord Beaverbrook, there were significant changes at the newspaper. Few were to O’Sullevan’s liking, and in July 1973, after a new sports editor had altered his copy and deleted two paragraphs, he resigned and tentatively accepted an offer from the Daily Mail.
But the new owner of the Express, Sir Max Aitken, persuaded him to withdraw his resignation after raising his salary from £5,500 to £9,000 a year and offering other concessions. O’Sullevan continued to write for the Daily Express until January 1985.
Daily Star backbencher Keith Rowley died of a heart attack at home on May 19, 2015. He was just 56.
Keith, who had been working the day before, leaves a wife, three children and a grand-daughter.
One of the kindest and most-respected Fleet Street journalists, Terry Evans, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism on April 7, 2015, aged 69.
Terry, who retired as picture editor of the Sunday Express in September 2012, served on the Daily and Sunday Express for 39 years.
Colleague Alan Frame said: 'Those lucky enough to have known Terry Evans and work with him at the Express (both Daily and Sunday) in the good and not-so-good times, will agree that he was clever, resourceful, incredibly hard-working and, damn it, just plain decent without a hint of malice.
'He was simply the best and those lucky enough to have been his friend (we are a very large community) are sad beyond words because the end came without any warning.
'Our deepest sympathies to Christine and Jonathan and the extended family.’
Bon viveur Finn in his prime Picture by DEREK HUDSON
Former Expressman Philip Finn has died after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 79.
Phil, who ran the Express New York office for many years, lost his fight for life on Monday, May 4, 2014, a few hours after being discharged from hospital to spend his remaining days at home in Aiken, South Carolina.
His wife Ann Marie, who was at Phil’s side when he died, had earlier written in an email to friends: "Hi, very sad news. Phil has been released from hospital. He is coming home to hospice [care]. He had a procedure to take fluid off his lung. Well we have been told the results. The cancer is in his blood and his fluids. So Phil is coming home to be with me and his dogs. We will keep him comfortable.
"He wants to come home. He knows what to expect and he is at peace with it. We have a wonderful marriage and have had so much fun. I don't know how to end this note but to say. We love you all. Cheers AM.”
Former New York-based snapper Derek Hudson said:
"Philip Finn was, as described by my dear friend Michael Brennan, an 'Ace Reporter' with whom I had the unique privilege to work alongside early in my career based in New York.
"What I didn't learn from my compatriot Phil wasn't worth knowing. His infectious laughter was only matched by his unrivalled skills at getting THE story before his peers had opened an eyelid.
Phil pulled off more World Exclusives than was decent in a lifetime of reporting yet he took it all in his stride. A more fun-loving and generous man would be hard to find – always first to offer a drink at the bar or invite you home for a fine wine dinner.
"From the day we met he proffered his friendship and I took it very seriously making my 10-year tenure in NYC nothing but an immeasurable pleasure.
"All of us who had the good fortune to know Phil will know just how lovely a husband he was to his Scots wife Ann Marie to whom I offer sincere condolences.
"Goodbye Phil! Thank you for everything good buddy.”
Renowned author Graham Lord, former Literary Editor of the Sunday Express, has died at the age of 72.
He had been ill with cancer for the past year and died on 13th June. His wife Juliet, an artist, was by his side.
Lord had been expected to succeed Sir John Junor as editor of the Sunday Express, until JJ sabotaged his chances.
He subsequently wrote an unflattering portrait about Junor in his book Lord’s Ladies and Gentlemen: 100 Legends of the 20th Century which can be read here.
Lord was born in 1943 in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and schooled there although his childhood home was in Portuguese Mozambique. He took an honours degree in History at Cambridge, edited the university newspaper Varsity and joined the Sunday Express in London in 1965, where he spent 27 years, 23 of them as Literary Editor, writing a weekly column about books and interviewing almost every major English language author of the 1960s to 1990s, from P G Wodehouse and Graham Greene to Muriel Spark and Ruth Rendell.
In 1987 he launched the £20,000 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and after leaving the paper in 1992 wrote regular literary, travel and opinion pieces for the Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Daily Mail.
From 1994 to 1996 he edited the short story magazine Raconteur.
Lord’s latest novel, Under a Hammock Moon, is a comic love/adventure story set on a small Caribbean island similar to the one where he lived with his Juliet. They also shared a house in the South of France and an apartment in London.
He leaves two daughters and two grandchildren in their 20s. Juliet has a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.
Sir Jocelyn Stevens
He was famed for once throwing a typewriter out of a window, but now the man they named Piranha Teeth is no more. Former managing director and deputy chairman of Express Newspapers Sir Jocelyn Stevens has died at the age of 82.
Celebrated Daily Express reporter Harry Chapman Pincher has died at the age of 100. The journalist and author, who was the newspaper’s defence and science correspondent until his retirement in 1979, was known as “the great spycatcher of Fleet Street”.
Pincher's son, Michael Chapman Pincher, announced his father's death on his Facebook page. He said: "Our dad, Chapman Pincher (The Lone Wolf of Fleet Street) facing his death with: no regrets, no fear and no expectation, died of old age on 05 August 2014 aged hundred and a quarter.
“Harry, a journalist, author, fisherman, shot and scourge of politicians of all hues leaves Pat and Mick, a raft of grandchildren, his third wife Billiee and her three children. His last joke was 'Tell them I'm out of scoops.’
"For him RIP stands for Recycling-in-Progress."
Former editorial assistant Roger Williams has died aged 73.
Tony Langridge, who once worked on the Daily Express Picture Desk, writes:
Roger, a distinctly recognisable figure in a black blazer and highly-polished handmade brogues, passed away on 15th February, 2015, finally succumbing to cancer.
Many colleagues will remember Roger surviving a horrendous fall from a fourth floor stairwell in the Fleet Street building. After several months recuperating he returned to serve on the editorial floor until his retirement in 2005, having completed 47 years service.
This gave him the opportunity to pursue further his all-consuming hobby cricket. As an avid Kent supporter he would travel the country in support of his team. He also enjoyed listening to classical music.
His funeral service took place at Eltham Crematorium on 18th March.
The family wishes to thank Peter Aldrich who arranged for a wreath to be sent on behalf of existing union members in the Chapel, who have fond memories of Roger.
Tributes have been pouring into the Drone following the death of John “The Welsh” Lloyd, a sports sub on the Daily Express for around 40 years.
John, one of the great Fleet Street characters, died in London on April 6th, 2016, after a short illness. He was 87.
His god daughter, former Daily Star reporter VIRGINIA HILL, told the Drone:
"John was a wonderful man, a passionate Welshman who loved his boxing and rugby. He was always happy to put up visitors in his Grays Inn Road flat and track down tickets for sporting events and shows for friends and colleagues.
"He started his career in the 1950s on the Merthyr Express, later working for the Western Mail and Echo in Cardiff, before moving on to the Daily Express.
“John later encouraged his great friend Jim Hill to join him at the Express as Welsh sports writer. Jim was my father and John my godfather. He will be much missed."
Michael Hanlon, former science editor of the Daily Express and later of the Daily Mail, has died suddenly aged 51.
He collapsed with a heart attack on 9th February, 2016, and was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save him.
Hanlon, whom Lord Drone recalls was of a sunny disposition, had just left a meeting in London to discuss his plan to create a prehistoric attraction.
He leaves an eight -year-old son by his wife Elena Seymenliyska, who is a journalist.
Daily Express hockey correspondent Graham Wilson died on January 20, 2016, aged 63.
Graham lost his life following a short illness two months after his 22-year-old son Tom was killed in a freak hockey accident.
Mike Deane, who was a news sub before becoming managing editor of the Daily Express, died on
13th January, 2016, aged 70 after a brave and determined
10-year fight against cancer.
The funeral was held at Roselawn Crematorium, Belfast.
One of the nicest men in Fleet Street, former Daily Express City Editor Tom McGhie, died on March 2, 2016, aged 66.
Tom began his career on the Birmingham Post in the early 1970s before moving to the London Daily News, Daily Star and Glasgow Herald.
In 1992 he became City Editor of the Daily Express. He joined the Mail on Sunday in 1999 and worked as the paper's senior business correspondent until he retired in 2012.
Tom's career took him around the world including a stint as a foreign correspondent in Moscow.
He reported on some of the biggest business and industrial stories – from the miners’ strike in the 1980s to the recent fracking and shale gas boom.
Tom was much loved by his colleagues who appreciated his dry sense of humour.
He was particularly known for his kindness towards junior staff.
One of the giants of Fleet Street, Bernard Shrimsley, died on June 9 aged 85.
He spent the last 13 years of his career on the Daily Express, first as assistant editor to Larry Lamb, who had left The Sun in 1981, and then as associate editor to Nicholas Lloyd whom he had recruited to The Sun in 1969.
Roger Watkins, who worked with Shrimsley on the Daily Express, told the Drone: "He once told me of the time he had to sack the astrologer, a homely woman in her sixties.
"Oh, Bernard," she said, visibly upset, this has come completely out of the blue."
"Ah yes," he replied, "I confess that has a lot to do with it."
The Times says Bernard did not drink but he did recall working on the Mirror with Larry Lamb who definitely did.
Apparently, Larry would go on a break, down several pints (it was only later that he "graduated" to Scotch) and then announce: "Now we know we like it, we'll have some!”