DAILY      DRONE

LORD DRONE’S MIGHTY FLEET STREET ORGAN,

 THE WORLD’S GREATEST ONLINE NEWSPAPER

CONTACT THE DRONE



SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024

*

OBITUARIES

from January 2023

For earlier obits click here

Chris Wood

Former Daily Express photographer Chris Wood has died  aged 85. 

His brother Steve, also a celebrated Express cameraman, told the Drone: ‘Chris was one of the most hard-working photographers on the Daily Express who covered the south of England and many other assignments. He introduced me to Fleet Street and got me my first job as a photographer. 

‘He leaves a son, Jonathan, who is a brilliant sound and lighting engineer to follow in his footsteps and his wife Carole brought happiness to everyone she met. Chris and Carole shared a life together in Spain and England.’

Crawford McAfee

Former Daily Mirror news sub Crawford McAfee has died at the age of 80.

He worked for 40 years on many national newspapers, starting with the Scottish Daily Express in 1962.


Crawford worked at the Daily Mirror in London from spring 1976 until the axe fell on the ‘grey hairs’ in 1995.

He later worked as a freelance on the Daily Express and as a staff sub on Financial Mail.


The funeral will be held at Reading Crematorium at 10.45am on Friday, December 8, with a wake afterwards at The Shoulder of Mutton, Playhatch, RG4 9QU (five minutes’ drive from Reading Crematorium)

PAT WELLAND’S TRIBUTE


Pat Gibson

Pat Gibson, who was a much-respected cricket correspondent of the Daily Express, followed by an innings at the Sunday title, has died aged 81.


Gibbo crossed the Street from the Mail to the Express as a sports sub in the early 1970s but soon moved to reporting and was appointed to follow the legendary Crawford White as cricket correspondent.


PETER TOZER’S TRIBUTE

John Roberts

JOHN ROBERTS, one of the great characters of Fleet Street and a clever and amusing man, has died at the age of 84.

John, who was for many years a reporter on the Daily Express William Hickey column, had been suffering from cancer.

His old friend ALAN FRAME has written a heartfelt tribute to this witty and talented writer and musician, plus pictures

*****

Funeral report

Alf Lee

Globe-trotting Sunday Express reporter Alf Lee died in the London Hospital on Saturday at the age of 86.


Alf, who was a great character, seldom seen without a girl on his arm, earned a crust as a film extra after retirement and one if his roles was as a Mongolian prisoner. He is pictured, left,  looking suitably glum. In another notable role he played a dead body lying on the platform at Paddington Station.


A MAN OF MANY PARTS

Ian Fletcher

Sunday Express reporter Ian Fletcher, described as a ‘brilliant story getter’, died in August 2923 at the age of 79.The paper’s editor editor David Wooding said Fletcher, who was based in Manchester, had been a ‘huge inspiration to young journalists’.

Fletch, as he was known, also worked on the Daily Mail before joining Today, the first computerised and colour newspaper launched by Eddie Shah in 1986.

When the title closed in 1995, Fletcher became a freelance consumer journalist, for 25 years.

Wooding said: ‘Ian is remembered as a brilliant story-getter but he was also a mentor and friend to many journalists and will be very sadly missed.’

PRESS GAZETTE HAS MORE


Douglas May

Douglas May, who worked on the Daily Herald, the News Chronicle and finally Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express, has died aged 91.

May left the Express to launch his own title in Shropshire before going on to become a senior executive at a series of regional media companies.

Christopher Wilson remembers: So farewell then Douglas May, among his many battle honours the editor-in-chief of my alma mater the Bedfordshire Times. 

Thank God he arrived after I'd got my job as a trainee, he would never have hired me, preferring to take on people demonstrating at least some shred of journalistic talent.  He was too big for Bedford, though, a stick-in-the-mud sort of place and moved on pretty swiftly to a glorious career in regional journalism.  Just as oranges are not the only fruit, so Fleet St is not the only journalism.


‍ James Davies 

JAMES DAVIES, one of the great reporters and feature writers of the old Daily Express, died in January, 2023. 

Jim, as everyone called him, passed away in hospital in Cornwall with his son and daughter by his side.

His life was turned upside down in April last year when his beloved wife Pat died aged 81 from a combination of stroke, covid and sepsis. Jim said at the time: ‘I am utterly bereft. She was not just my soulmate but a very special friend as well and I am going to miss her enormously.’

Jim’s old friend, former Express and Mailman GEOFFREY LEVY has written a tribute for the Drone.

TERRY RYLE remembers Jim’s heroism as Father of the Chapel and PETER MASON recalls their adventures in South Africa

Funeral report and eulogy by LEON SYMONS


Len Trievnor

Former Daily Express photographer Len Trievnor has died at his home in North Devon a few months short of his 95th birthday.

Len achieved worldwide fame in 1963 for his picture of boxer Muhammed Ali (then Cassius Clay) in a London hotel room. 

TRIBUTE

Ashley Walton

We are deeply saddened to report the death on January 4, 2023, of talented Daily Express Royal Correspondent Ashley Walton. He was 78 and had been suffering from cancer. He leaves a wife Joan, sons Nic and Oliver, and grandsons Max and Luke. 

True to form, Ashley wrote his own obituary which can be read HERE

Funeral eulogy by Tony Boullemier

Funeral report and pix

Ian Cole

IAN COLE,  former night news editor on Express Sport, has died aged 75 after a short illness.

He was a constant source of knowledge, information and humour, delivered in his inimitable ‘Mr Cool’ style and his knowledge on all sports was second to none.

Ian moved to a similar role at the Daily Mail in 1999 before retiring in 2008.

Jeff Ives’ tribute

Alan Frank

ALAN FRANK film critic of the Daily Star for 35 years and latterly for the Morning Star died on 16 May, 2023, aged 85.

He was particularly noted for writing books on horror which garnered a big following. He left the Daily Star in 2014.

Actor Reece Shearsmith tweeted: ‘Alan's books introduced me and a whole generation of "monster kids" to a world of horror films and shaped our lives forever. His work holds massive resonance. RIP.’

Jack Crossley

Former Daily Express Investigations Editor Jack Crossley has died at the age of 94, a family friend has confirmed. Jack was a longtime Daily Mail staffer before joining the Express. He started working for the Mail as a reporter in the 1970s, ultimately rising to the position of Head of News. His 40-year career began at the Yorkshire Evening Post. He also worked at The Observer, The Times and the National Enquirer. He died at home in Shiplake, Oxfordshire and is survived by his wife of 42 years, Kate Owen, and three sons. 

David Emery

DAVID EMERY, the respected and popular former Head of Sport at the Daily Express, died on 6 June, 2023, after suffering a devastating stroke 16 months ago. He was 76.

After leaving the Express, Emery went on to launch a series of national sports papers including Sport First, The Non-League Paper, The Rugby Paper, The League Paper and The Cricket Paper over a 20 year period with his business Greenways Media.

David had four children, Alexandra, Matt, Sam and Georgia with his first wife Irene; and Jack with his second wife, Sarah.

Former Daily Express Deputy Sports Editor PETER TOZER has written an appreciation of his old boss 

A GOLD MEDAL JOURNALIST




David Laws

DAILY EXPRESS middle desk legend David ‘Bunny’ Laws died on Monday, 9 October, 2023, aged 84. He will be mourned by dozens of colleagues and friends who worked with him for decades.

Expressman Ray King, a close friend, received the news from David’s daughter Eleanor, a distinguised KC. Ray told the Drone: ‘David had a suspected stroke while he was in Yorkshire for the North York Moors railway gala around 21 September. He was taken to hospital in York but discharged himself after three days and went home to Lavenham, Suffolk.

‘His son later took him to hospital in Romford when he fell ill again and David was then transferred to University College Hospital in London where he died.’

TRIBUTES




David St George

David St George, who reported from the Old Bailey for more than 40 years, covering some of the biggest and most gruesome criminal trials, has died aged 82.

St George was a well-known name back in the day and his accurate and swiftly-filed copy was used by all national titles.

Barry Gardner told the Drone: ‘He was always reliable, great company and knew everyone at the Bailey from the cleaners to the Recorder of London.’

The Camden New Journal has more

David Farr

DAVID FARR, a former news editor and assistant editor of the Sunday People, died on January 24, 2024, after a fall at his Torquay home. He was 90.


David served as a reporter on the Scottish Daily Express before being head-hunted by The People to be its northern correspondent. 


Plainjohn Smith’s tribute

Ray Cave

One of the great Daily Express art editors, Ray Cave has died after a long illness. His wife Anne said he passed away peacefully on Monday 29 January in Queen’s Hospital, Romford, east London. 


She added: ‘He had experienced quite a few health problems over the last few years and this sadly progressed into congestive heart failure. I was with him all the way and when Ray passed away he knew he was loved hugely by his family and friends.”

FOND TRIBUTES