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His independence of mind and experience of Whitehall would have fitted him well for it

Posted on 20 October 2010

His independence of mind, and experience of Whitehall, would have fitted him well for it, although increasing deafness would have been a handicap. Probably his intellectual honesty, and fierce resistance to overstretch and fudged economies, helped to deny this last success to him. He had long contended that the UK’s nuclear weapons made no sufficient sense (a view he shared with Field Marshal Lord Carver, for whom he had worked in Borneo), and he argued this forcefully with Margaret Thatcher. Neither had changed the others mind, and in the event the top job went to an airman.This caused much disappointment in the Army, who saw in Bagnall the most distinguished leader of any service for decades.A touchingly unassuming man personally, far happier in corduroys than aiguillettes, Nigel Bagnall retired in 1988 to his home in the Chilterns.

Here he had created a fine garden out of a wilderness, with his devoted wife, Anna, and two irreverent daughters. He published a learned commentary on the Punic Wars (The Punic Wars, 1991, translated into German 1995) and was engaged on a study of the Peloponnesian Wars at the time of his death. He occasionally wrote articles for The Independent, and fostered the Anglo-German Officers’ Association, which he had helped to found.To the disappointment of his admirers he accepted no public post, but devoted himself to a supremely happy family life, and to the serious propagation of some remarkable ducks. Neither with his family nor his ducks was there recognisable the ferocious subject of many an embellished military legend.Patrick Mayhew. David Robert Sweetman, writer and television director: born Dilston, Northumberland 16 March 1943; died London 7 April 2002. After teaching, he worked in broadcasting, first on radio, then in television.

He was a poet who wrote his many prose books with skill and determination, tireless in research, never missing a deadline. He was a regular book reviewer in the early days of The Independent on Sunday. He travelled widely and energetically in Africa, Europe and the Far East. He was wholly dedicated to his work, as he was to his friends.Born in Northumberland in 1943, from 1960 to 1965 he studied Fine Art at King’s College, Newcastle (part of Durham University until 1963, thereafter the University of Newcastle upon Tyne), on a Hatton scholarship. As a student, he took part in and often initiated satirical entertainments and social activities with gusto and enthusiasm. On one occasion he arrived late at a lecture being given by the painter Richard Hamilton, flourishing a record of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do”.

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