“Hanna, Belfast”

Brian noted the death of respected journalist Trevor Hanna in February. But Roy Greenslade, who was away at the time, spotted an “unbeatable anecdote” in the belated Irish Times’ obit this weekend.

TREVOR HANNA: ONE EVENING in 1971, the newspaper reporter strolled into a dockside bar in Belfast with a large wad of News of the World petty cash intended as a buy-up for some exclusive piece of tittle-tattle.

The first Bushmills had just reached his lips when the door burst open and a masked gang lurched in with pistols aloft. They ripped out the phone and cleaned out the till before turning on the customers, relieving them of wallets and other items of value.

The robbers retreated with the dire warning: “Anyone who leaves in the next 10 minutes will be shot.”

The long, grim silence of the crime scene was broken by Hanna. He reached into his sock and produced Rupert Murdoch’s wad, before uttering: “I suppose I’ll have to buy the next round.”

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  • Brian Walker

    Thanks for that Pete.. like the (I’m sure) entirely apocryphal but affectionate press conference introduction: “Ladies and gentleman of the press and Trevor Hanna…”

  • sdelaneys

    Great story.

  • “Hanna, Belfast”:

    That iconic intro to a presser question, and sign-off for a news-piece.

    The man who got the confession of the last murderer hung in the North of Ireland (Robert McGladdery for the Pearl Gamble killing, 1961).

    The staunch Orangeman who made it into the H-blocks during the hunger-strikes.

    Hand-holder in residence to all those poor innocents, huddled in the Europa, sent over from London to cover the Troubles.

    From Teddy Kennedy to Leon Uris, via every major Unionist (and many other disreputables) over all these years: he put words into their mouths and pens.

    Not a bad record.

    By the way: it wasn’t only Belfast bars. When he left Fleet Street, and moved back to Belfast to run the Mirror’s bureau, the Mucky Duck, the Feathers and Auntie’s went into mourning

  • S in DC

    It’s sad whenever one of the old characters passes. Thanks for the tidbit.

  • Greenflag

    Sangfroid -chutzpah and neck -all in one .