Chapman Pincher, the 'lone wolf of Fleet Street', dies aged 100 - Press Gazette

Chapman Pincher, the 'lone wolf of Fleet Street', dies aged 100

The journalist dubbed "the lone wolf of Fleet Street", Chapman Pincher, has died at the age of 100.

The former Daily Express journalist (pictured in a recent Channel 4 News interview, below), who revealed secret after secret during his years as defence correspondent at the newspaper, died of "old age", his son Michael Chapman Pincher revealed in a post on his Facebook page.

Pincher wrote: "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."

Pincher, who turned 100 in March, was dubbed "the lone wolf of Fleet Street" for getting a series of exclusive stories revealing military secrets and in 2005 was named by Press Gazette as one of the 40 most influential British journalists of the previous 40 years.

His 1981 book Their Trade is Treachery publicised suspicions that former MI5 Director General Roger Hollis had been a spy for the Soviet Union, describing the security services' inquiries into the matter.

He wrote several books on espionage, including Treachery: Betrayals, Blunders and Cover-Ups: Six Decades of Espionage, and his latest, Chapman Pincher: Dangerous To Know, published this year.

In an interview to mark his 100th birthday, the journalist told the BBC how he would take people for lunch at London restaurant L'Ecu de France, later learning that MI5 had bugged his meetings.

He said: "MI5 heard every conversation that I had and they did nothing about it, all they did was put it in the files.

"MI5 doesn't like to take any action, they like to know. 'It's in the files. If we take any action they'll know we know'. That's the attitude, it's absolutely crazy, at least I think so."

Asked about a memo from Harold Macmillan in which he wrote: "Can nothing be done to suppress or even get rid of Mr Chapman Pincher?", Pincher said: "I attacked both parties when I felt they needed it or annoyed both parties ….. none more so as you can see from Harold Macmillan from his hatred of me, can I be got rid of? I mean, that was lovely, I wonder what was in his mind."

Pincher was also referred to at one time as a "public urinal" at which people would "leak", and remained proud of the description, saying "that was the greatest compliment I've ever been paid, I mean I'm delighted to be a public urinal at which people leak. And they can still come and do it if they want to, I'll sell it."

Born in India in 1914, Pincher was educated at Darlington Grammar School and King's College, London.

He began professional life as a scientist, teaching at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, then joined the Army where he worked in the Ministry of Supply during the Second World War.

He joined the Daily Express in 1946 as science and defence correspondent, going on to spend 30 years frustrating his rivals with a series of scoops, while also publishing books and novels.

Here is Pincher being interviewed by Channel 4 News earlier this year:



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