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Editor of The Times of London Dies of Cancer

October 29, 1985

Undated (AP) _ LONDON (AP) - Charles Douglas-Home, editor of The Times of London, died Tuesday after a fight against cancer during which he ran Britain’s most prestigious paper from his hospital bed. He was 48.

The paper’s editorial staff and its correspondents around the world observed a minute’s silence as a sign of respect at 4 p.m. - the time the daily editorial conference would normally begin.

Douglas-Home, nephew of former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, became editor in 1982 after publisher Rupert Murdoch fired Harold Evans, the first editor after the Australian-born tycoon bought Britain’s most famous newspaper.

Aides said he conducted editorial conferences by telephone from his hospital bed until 10 days ago.

″We always used to say that he was okay from the neck up,″ said Colin Webb, the paper’s deputy editor. ″He was the most positive man with a serious illness that I have ever known.″

Douglas-Home, born into one of Scotland’s leading aristocratic families, left the Scots Guard in 1956 and spent nine months in Canada before going to Kenya, where he was aide-de-camp to the governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, in 1958-59.

He began his career in journalism in 1960 as a general reporter on the Scottish Daily Express in Glasgow and moved to the Daily Express in London a year later, where he remained until he went to The Times in 1965.

He started his career at The Times as defense correspondent and covered the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. The most dramatic moment in his career came in 1968 when he was held prisoner for 18 hours in Czechoslovakia after reporting the precise location of Russian tanks there. He was later expelled.

He was later features editor, home editor and foreign editor before becoming deputy editor in 1981.

During his editorship of The Times, the paper’s circulation rose from under 300,000 to its present figure of nearly 500,000. Douglas-Home staunchly defended The Times’ independence under Murdoch.

″We never hesitate to publish news that might be damaging to the government,″ he said, citing the exclusive statement from Sara Keays in 1983 that she was expecting a baby by then-Conservative Party Chairman Cecil Parkinson, who was forced to resign over the affair.

Douglas-Home wrote four books, ″The Arabs and Israel,″ ″Britain’s Reserve Forces,″ ″Rommel,″ and ″Evelyn Baring: The Last Proconsul.″

In 1966, Douglas-Home married Jessica Gwynne, a stage designer and artist. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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