Bill Deedes 1913-2007

It’s the unanimity and, I’d suggest, sincerity that mark the tributes to the grand old man of journalism, Bill Deedes, who has just died at the age of 94, as well as the breadth of sources. Richard Ingrams and, also in the Guardian, Roy Hattersley amongst them. Born in 1913 he joined the Morning Post as a cub reporter at the age of 16 and filed his last column for the Daily Telegraph on 3rd August 2007. In between he had served in the Second World War, earning a Military Cross, was elected Conservative MP for Ashford in 1950 and in 1962 served in Harold MacMillan’s cabinet briefly, edited the Daily Telegraph from 1974-86, was made a life peer in 1986 and in 1999 was knighted for his services to journalism. In 2001 he wrote an article about his then-70 years in journalism. The Telegraph’s former foreign editor, Stephen Robinson, has been writing an authorised biography and adds his thoughts on Bill Deedes here

“The point about Bill Deedes was not that he lived to the splendid age of 94, but that he just kept on and on working, discovering and revealing to the very end. He took with him to Luanda exactly the same enthusiasm and journalistic curiosity which had fired him up 62 years earlier when he arrived in Addis with his vast mass of luggage. His only fear in the last couple of years of his life, as he became immobile and therefore unable to report at first hand, was that he would become an old bore to his readers. His true greatness as a journalist was that he never did.”