Veteran journalist and for decades one of the country’s top High Court reporters, Bob Hamilton, has died at the age of 98, after a career that spanned all levels of the media from local press, trade papers, radio and TV to Fleet Street.
He first entered journalism around 80 years ago joining the Kentish Express at Ashford. However, his time with them was cut short by the war and he joined the RAF in 1943 where he trained and qualified as a radio operator. He remained with the RAF and saw active service with them in Bomber Command flying in Lancaster bombers until demob in 1947.
He then joined the Essex Chronicle for a brief period before returning to the Kentish Express and worked for them until 1949 when he moved to Fleet Street to join the Press Association working for their Law Service.
He then spent the rest of his career with the Law Service covering countless major cases in the High Court, Appeal Court and House of Lords (now the Supreme Court).
In that capacity, his work was circulated far and wide by the PA and in the time he worked for them – until 1989 – his copy, as well as regularly appearing in the national press, would have been used at some time or another in most provincial papers throughout the country and also in the trade press and other media.
Apart from his court coverage he was also widely recognised as a leading expert in finding newsworthy High Court writs. In that capacity he broke many headline-hitting national stories. On the writ front he sometimes worked alongside another veteran and highly respected journalist, the late Gordon Corner, who for many years was based at the High Court for the Evening Standard.
Aside from the courts he, for many years in his spare time, worked as a part time press officer for the RAC at their London headquarters. He retained his keen interest in news and current events and avidly read his daily newspapers almost to the last day of his long life.
Bob had lived at Birchington in Kent and he died at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital at Margate on 9 October, sometime after being admitted following a fall at his home.
A widower – he married in 1953 – he is survived by three sons, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Paying tribute to him former PA Law Service chief reporter, Roger Pearson, said: “Bob was truly one of the old-school journalists. He was a great character, highly talented and had a great nose for news. He was brilliant at finding stories where initially there didn’t appear to be a story!”
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