Tom Pocock

Veteran journalist and award-winning historical author Tom Pocock, 81, had a deep-rooted love of Norfolk and enjoyed long walks along the North Norfolk coast to seek inspiration for his writing.

Veteran journalist and award-winning historical author Tom Pocock, 81, had a deep-rooted love of Norfolk and enjoyed long walks along the North Norfolk coast to seek inspiration for his writing.

He died in London on Monday after losing his fight against liver cancer. He had been planning to visit Norfolk this week for a sailing expedition off Burnham Overy Staithe.

Yesterday his widow, Penny Pocock, to whom he was married for 38 years, said that Norfolk was always very close to his heart and they used to visit and stay at Burnham Overy Staithe three or four times a year.

He started his distinguished writing career as Fleet Street's youngest war correspondent and worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, the Daily Express and the Evening Standard while pursuing his second career as a military historian.


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He published 18 books, eight on his great hero Admiral Lord Nelson and his contemporaries. His book, Horatio Nelson, was runner-up for the 1987 Whitbread Biography Award.

At the age of 17 Pocock enlisted in the Royal Navy and in 1943 he saw action on motor torpedo boats which scoured the Channel for German vessels. Illness forced his return to civilian life and he wrote to the media magnate Edward Hulton, owner of the Picture Post.

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Hulton was about to launch The Leader, a weekly current affairs magazine, and Pocock was offered five guineas a week as junior assistant to the editor.

After four years on the Leader, Pocock began working on the Daily Mail as a feature writer and in 1952 moved to The Times as naval correspondent. He then took up an offer to join the Daily Express as foreign correspondent.

In 1968 he married Penny and the couple had two daughters, Laura and Hannah, and made their home in Chelsea. They always took time out to return to Norfolk for sailing trips.

It was at this period that his books on Lord Nelson began to appear. He also wrote biographies of H. Rider Haggard and Alan Moorhead.

A skilled raconteur, Pocock was a popular member of the Garrick Club and of the Chelsea Arts Club. For 16 years he was editor and a contributor to the Chelsea Society Magazine.

The funeral will be at Chelsea Old Church on May 21 at 2pm.

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