Gunner Hulls, hero of Arnhem

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Everything comes to he who waits, so the old saying goes.

But some have to wait a little longer … 71 years in fact.

Daily Express sportswriter Sydney Hulls has at last received three medals which he should have been awarded after the Second World War.

Gunner Hulls, 92, is pictured with former Expressman David Eliades at a lunch in the old soldier's honour at the October First Tuesday reunion meeting in London.

Sports journalist David Miller, who discovered that Sydney was entitled to the medals, has written a tribute to his old colleague.

Hero of Arnhem


Who put the lights out?


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


Hail and farewell to Fleet Street

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The year was 1989 and Daily Express was finally leaving its old home in London’s Fleet Street. Three of the paper’s old hands joined in the celebrations in the composing room before the move across the river to Blackfriars. They are from left, picture editor Terry Evans, backbencher Bob Cocksworth and showbiz writer David Wigg. Bob died in 1994 aged 49 and Terry passed away last April aged 69. Both are greatly missed.
Picture supplied by TERRY MANNERS


Who’s this at the Black Lubyanka?

Halle Berry Daily Express Nov 86 3

EXCLUSIVE New migrant invasion


French make a meal of invading Northumberland? The locals will be hopping mad, says BEV MARKS who took this picture


In praise of the unsung heroes

Writer Robin McGibbon, a former sub-editor himself, has discovered this old Sunday Times piece dating at a guess from the 1980s


Youngest Express sub dies at 80*


Another chum dies, this time it’s Guy Bellamy, who later found fame as author of The Secret Lemonade Drinker.

*Apart from Tony Boullemier, who came along 10 years later – and Alan Frame who says he can beat them both by five years.

Final toast

Another claim to Frame


Farewell to 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.

Telegraph obituary



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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Why the Express cartoonist Carl Giles said: I can’t draw people

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Jolly John Knill reveals the amusing truth

Picture by Jane Bown, 1986



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. 


One in the Eye No 97

Volume 14: 1985

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.

25h January 1985

Street of Shame

With the forthcoming departure of News of the World editor Nick Lloyd to America on a Harvard business course, the offices of the News of the World/Sun have become a veritable bloodbath.

In just a few weeks the editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, has made three pleas to Lloyd to stop NoW staff monstering him in Fleet Street pubs. And his brother Craig, NoW features editor, went whimpering to Lloyd after receiving a full-frontal right hook from Royal hackette, Roedean-educated Fiona McDonald- “Bruiser” Hull.

It has almost become a NoW sport to have a go at the Mackenzies but over the space of four weeks the assistant editor of NoW David Montgomery – whom Lloyd has recommended should take over as editor when he leaves – turned up at the offices three times with a bloodied and scarred nose.

On the first occasion his scar, he said, was caused when he was chundering into the toilet bowl after eating a poisoned fish finger. The lift-up seat, he claimed, fell back on his nose.

On the second occasion, he claimed, he was mugged outside Vagabonds, the drinking club in New Fetter Lane.

And on the third occasion, he says he walked into a car door. 

But jilted hackette MacHull, who has taken to calling him at all times of the night shouting “wanker” and replacing the receiver, has cast doubt on all these excuses. “Liar,” she claimed, “he smashed his nose when he fell out of my bed and hit the bedside table.”

MacHull's anger is also directed at Montgomery’s long-term obsession, the sultry freelance Sharon Feinstein. She and other jealous hacks are disgusted at Feinstein's regular appearances reclining on Montgomery's desk. They cried into their gins when a deputation from the Sunday People, who were glad to see the back of Montgomery, reported that in the last six months that he was there Feinstein earned £37,000.

Feinstein has now been sent to Rio on a working holiday courtesy of Rommel, but in the meantime she has seduced him into hiring Larry Lever, the wimpish son of Lord Lever.

Feinstein signed an NUJ proposal for Lever who can now be seen hanging around the NoW newsroom. One of his first assignments was to do a consumer test on Christmas hampers. Articled clerk Lever, who has never worked for a newspaper before, duly acquired a whole range of hampers and collected a fee of £1,000 from Montgomery for his trouble. His survey never saw the light of day, nor did the hampers.

Meanwhile another of Montgomery's flames, the ubiquitous Nina “Wally of the Week” Myskov (also brought from the Sunday People) has been demanding the assistant editor's attention. After throwing a tantrum at the office Christmas party, locking herself in the ladies loo for most of the night, Rommel duly sent her to recuperate at Champneys health farm for two weeks – courtesy of Rupert Murdoch.

The thoughts of Rommel taking over the editorship of the NoW has been treated with some mirth, but not so by Craig Mackenzie who has been heard ringing his third brother in New York looking for work: “I'll take anything,” he begs.

8th March 1985

Street of Shame

What has happened to John McVicar – reformed crook and until recently the Daily Getworse’s underworld crime correspondent?

Could his absence from the paper’s pages have anything to do with his last “exclusive” dispatch from Spain’s Costa Del Crime where he allegedly interviewed two much-wanted men who had escaped from Harrow police station last October?

McVicar was commissioned by the Excess to root out the fugitives after Scotland Yard received a postcard from the men – complete with thumbprints – which had apparently been posted from Fuengirola. On 5 December the Excess carried a vivid account of McVicar’s “secret” meeting with Chris Hague and Marek Raczynski at their hideout where he had been “hooded” by an unidentified middle man. With Hague doing most of the talking, McVicar reveals that their escape was made possible by a £2,000 bribe detectives at the station.

A few weeks later, however, the wanted men were found and arrested by police at a house in Langley, Bucks. According to neighbours they had been living there for at least two months and had been running a second-hand car business.

Since then several people have been charged with harbouring the two fugitives between October 1984 and 14 January when they were arrested in Langley.

Express editor “Sir” Larold Lamb immediately summoned McVicar to his office where he was asked to explain how he could have interviewed Hague and Kaczynski in Spain when they were apparently living it up in good old England.

22nd March 1985

There is turmoil and confusion in the turbulent world of the Fleet Street diaries. Never before have so many newly-vacated chairs become empty with ambitious hacks lining up to scramble into them.

First to be dislodged from his niche was dapper, bow-tied Keith Wheatley, editor of the Standard’s “Londoners Diary”, who has taken the eccentric decision to go to Australia and write a best-seller. Yacht-loving Wheatley will leave next month unless an irresistible offer persuades him to stay. Hotly tipped as his successor is the famous “Rigid Man” Geoffrey Wheatcroft, whom the dreary “Lou” Kirby is keen to have aboard.

But although the Rigid Man is keen to take the job (owing to a current shortage of funds), his friends feel he is simply not up to the demanding hours – especially its 7am start and rigorous post-luncheon duties. Also tipped for Wheatley’s job is wee, gorgeous, pouting Angela Gordon, currently PHS on The Times, who is understood to have a tempestuous working relationship with the shortly-departing deputy editor Charlie “McNasty” Wilson.

Meanwhile at the Getsworse there was an unpleasant shock in store for exquisitely-coiffured Chris Wilson, who was interviewed last week by Sir Larold Lamb and brutally removed from his post. Wilson was seen consoling himself amid emotional scenes at El Vino’s. His humiliation was increased by Sir Larold’s choice of a successor, none other than the ludicrous Richard “Daisy” Compton Miller, enthusiastic bachelor and notorious freeloader.

“Daisy” has been made redundant from no less than three Fleet Street papers, including the Mail where he was sacked for fiddling his expenses (he altered a bill written in black biro by inserting a figure in red ink). Wearing a fetching kaftan, Daisy likes to give elegant dinner parties at his bijou Fulham residence for “sads” and hairdressers. He has already instructed his staff about his plans for the column – “less unkindness, more froth” – although this is a wasted effort as most of them are trying desperately to find alternative employment.

Airplane loving Peter Tory, the deeply-relaxed Daily Mirror diarist, is at present in temporary retirement in the Cotswolds, having been invited to leave by his proprietor, who wants to make the Mirror diary a “talking point”. Tory has taken the downward plunge to the Daily Star (he is a close friend of its completely-unknown editor, and plans to re-emerge in mid-April in a blaze of publicity and TV advertising.

Meanwhile the Bouncing Czech [Mirror owner Robert Maxwell] is making earnest attempts to entice the Greatest Living Englishman, Nigel Dempster, away from the Daily Mail. He is fond of embracing the GLE and shouting “I want to make you a millionaire too, Nigel!” Dempster is believed to have sent his team of negotiators to Maxwell House, with instructions to return with a six-figure cheque.















ONE IN THE EYE 1966-1971



Graham Lord dies aged 72

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CANCER FIGHT: Lord with his wife Juliet

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.

Telegraph obit


Two great men of Fleet Street

Brian Freemantle & Victor Davis SW01

CHUMS: Former Daily Express Showbusiness Editor Victor Davis, left, meets his old colleague from the Daily Mail Brian Freemantle in a pub in London’s Kensington


Esthers right Ryle mix-up

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WE’VE all done it ... you arrange to meet a friend in the pub and you turn up on the wrong day or even the wrong pub.

Former Daily Express Editorial Secretary Esther Harrod did exactly that when she asked Glenys Pyne, former secretary to Daily Star editor Brian Hitchen, and one-time news and features sub-editor Terry Ryle to meet at the monthly First Tuesday get-together of old colleagues at the Old Bank of England pub in London.

Not understanding why 42 strangers were squeezed into the usual private room reserved for the Express, Esther harangued the manager – only to be told that she had come a week too late.

Nevertheless, Glenys, pictured above right, Terry and Esther had an enjoyable couple of hours catching up with each other and sinking a few beers.

They hope to make a repeat appearance on the correct date in September.


Say cheese! Or cheesed off?


Clive Hollick’s interesting decision in May 1998 to appoint the Left-wing women’s libber Rosie Boycott to the editorship of the then staunchly Tory Daily Express met with mixed results to put it mildly.

Rosie did her best to promote women to senior roles but the one executive she inherited, Deputy Editor Nicola Briggs, seemed less than happy with her lot when this photo was taken shortly after Ms Boycott took the chair.

Pictured are: Front row, from left, Rosie Boycott; night editor Tina Moran, Lesley Thomas, Nicola Briggs, Colette Harrison and copy taster Wendy Fuller.

Back row: Jacqui Goddard, Heather Preen, two people we don’t recognise, and Lisa from the art desk.

Rosie exited left in 2001 shortly after Richard Desmond bought the Express and she now runs a farm in Somerset. Nicola quit in 2003.


Old Soaks’ Home

(Up to a point, Lord Copper)

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The headline is not entirely correct. There were five of us for lunch but only two were drinking the hard stuff. Lunch with Didge


Arthur Brittenden dies aged 90

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Daily Mail editor Brittenden with Princess Anne on the stone of the newspaper in November 1969. He was formerly deputy editor of the Sunday Express Photo by Daily Mail/REX Shutterstock

Geoffrey Goodman’s tribute

When the Mail trailed the Express by two million

Telegraph obituary


Whos that outside No10?

Downing Street

Ace reporter Philip Finn dies after brave battle with cancer

Phil Finn

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 Worl
d 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.”

More tributes

Express obit

 Finn’s final dispatch

Who’s this on his bike – and
 why is he wearing a hairnet?

Rider Reg C


If this is the pub it must be Tuesday

**Tues lunch 7-4-15*

Daily Express old-timers got together in April for another First Tuesday meeting. Find out who’s who here


Late-night newsroom madness


A SPECTACLE IN MONOCLES: A typical late-night scene from the Daily Express newsroom in Fleet Street some time in the 1980s. Freshly back from the pub, Alastair ‘Bingo’ McIntyre (left) and Bob ‘Algy’ Smith make a feeble attempt to look busy. McIntyre commented: ‘At least only one eye was glazed.’
Picture by STEPHEN 


Manchester Express special

STILL THERE: The iconic Daily Express building in Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, today as seen by Google Streetlife

Remember the terrible twins?


Here on the Drone we never forget a face, particularly not these two terrifying characters – sunken-cheeked Ted Hodgson and bespectacled John McDonald. What were they up to? Find out in John Knill’s extensive photo archive from the Manchester office of the Daily Express – only in the Drone


Our friends in the North

Only here for the beer

The Great Characters of Ancoats

Hands up those who recall the good old days at Ancoats


55 years ago: Massed ranks of Daily Express photographers


Where are they now? This, believe it or not, is the Daily Express team of 62 photographers in 1960. The picture, supplied to the Drone by John Knill (back row, fourth from right) was a publicity shot for Express Photonews, a major feature of the paper in those days. Who can you spot? Click here for a larger picture


One in the Eye Special

Daily Mail’s big earners in 1990s



Daily Express Newsroom 1990s

Who can you spot? This picture was taken in the early to mid-1990s at the new Daily Express offices in Blackfriars shortly after the paper had gone over to the SII system of direct input. The view is from the picture desk in the foreground to the news desk and behind that the backbench and news sub-editors.

We can spot Terry Evans (looking very ginger), Mick Lidbury, Maurice Hibberd, Gordon Ducker, Mike Parry, Annie Leask, Ian Walker, David Richardson, Danny McGrory, Brian Thistlethwaite and Ian Benfield


What’s in the box?

Ye olde Express Christmas


Old flame: Sub-editor Alastair McIntyre celebrates Christmas in traditional style at the Daily Express in the 1980s. Note the lick of flame emerging from the wastepaper bin. If memory serves, McIntyre was invited by Night Editor Craig Orr to come out from beneath the desk ‘just for the first edition’. Needless to say, the picture was taken after the subs’ festive lunch.

McIntyre comments: Elaine Canham has been in touch to say: 'The flaming waste basket reminded me of the night you and I and Jan [Barden] set off fireworks in the subs room; you burned your thumb as I recollect.’ 

A spokesman for Sue, Grabbit and Runne said: 'Needless to say Mr McIntyre has absolutely no recollection of this. Will this do Bings?'

Daily Express Foreign Desk 1972


ANOTHER WORLD: Clockwise from the left: Ian Bain, Jim Nichol (deputy foreign editor), Stewart Steven (foreign editor), John Moger (night foreign editor) and Norman Jarvis.  The elbow on the bottom right may have belonged to David Ross, David Eliades or Jim Thurman. 

Ian Bain, who supplied this picture, recalls a drunken journey he blames on Jocelyn Stevens


Farewell Piranha Teeth


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.

Times obituary

Guardian obituary

Greenslade tribute

An old hack remembers

Hear the old rogue on Desert Island Discs


Daily Express Features Desk 1984

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Pictured at the Fleet Street offices are, from left, Ross Benson, features secretary Tinu, Mike Deane and Alan Frame


Out of scoops: Express star Chapman Pincher dies at 100

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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."


Last Express interview

Friends' Facebook tributes





BIG NOISE: The Prince of Darkness Jimmy Nicholson has just celebrated his 87th birthday. Leon Symons and some other old colleagues visited him at his care home

 Drone Picture Special

Legendary crime reporter

True story of the Prince of Darkness

See Jimmy interviewed by Sky’s Martin Brunt




Despite the dishevelled look of the table, there was a modicum of food consumed when the Drones met for lunch at Joe Allen on Wednesday 11th December. Pictured are, from left, Alan Frame, Ashley Walton, guest of honour Liz Gill, Terry Manners, Roger Watkins, Pat Pilton, Alastair McIntyre, Terry Evans and Dick Dismore





Former Daily Express sub-editor Joe Neal has resurfaced as an actor in Ireland. And, as this picture proves, he stood unsuccessfully as an independent (or indepenent as his campaign literature puts it – sub-editor here please, steward) in the 2004 European elections. Joe has also written a book of poetry, Telling It At A Slant, which is available as a paperback from all good booksellers. If you want to see if he can act, (he can in the Drone’s opinion)



Spaghetti House Siege (Part 2)

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Laddies who lunch: The Daily Express Drones got together at the Spaghetti House in Holborn to drink to the memory of former Daily Express sub-editor and radio DJ Bob Kilbey who died in July. Bob used to organise an annual Christmas lunch at the restaurant. Pictured from left are Ashley Walton, Alastair McIntyre, Bill Reynolds, Ray King, Ross Tayne and Tony Boullemier

Bob Kilbey tribute










This charming snap was taken from an aeroplane by Joy Desmond as she was wafted into Luton Airport. But what does it show? Find out here


If the cap doesn't fit...


Sometimes editors have to do the most undignified things, as Sir Nicholas Lloyd found in 1995 when Sky TV invaded the Express offices in Blackfriars for a charity Telethon which was broadcast live to the masses. The picture came to light during a gathering of the World's Greatest Lunch Club at which the guest was the man with the longest career in Fleet Street – 57 years and still counting. Read about it here.




Who Was Who on the Express in 1969


More details here





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