Bob Hounsome - Journalist, PR consultant and scriptwriter

The former Fleet Street, television and freelance journalist, Bob Hounsome, has died, aged 85.

Bob
began his career with the Evening Argus/Sussex Daily News group in
Brighton in 1934 when he was 15, graduating to sports and general
reporting work until he was called up for war service in 1940.

He
served with the Royal Artillery but for a considerable period was one
of a small liaison unit attached to a Tactical Air Force group of
fighter aircraft, whose brief included photographing the Normandy
shoreline in preparation for the 1944 invasion. His detachment was
flown there to continue its work five days after D-Day.

Later he served on liaison duties with the 1st Polish Army Division.

When
the war ended he was in charge of one of the units guarding goods
trains carrying food through Russian-occupied Germany to the British
sector in Berlin.

Bob had known his wife-to-be, Sylvia – who went
on to become the Bournemouth Times’s chief reporter and women’s writer
– at school. Having been reintroduced in 1942, they married the
following year. Demobilised in 1946, he rejoined her as a reporter at
the Evening Argus group until 1950, when he departed for Fleet Street
and she left to raise a family.

He spent the next 11 years as
general, diary and finally feature writer on the former national
evening newspaper The Star, until, along with its morning counterpart
The News Chronicle, it was taken over by a rival group and closed down.

In 1962 Bob joined Southern Television as news editor but two years later moved to Poole to take over a freelance news agency.

In
1969 he sold the agency and started Dorset’s first independent public
relations consultancy, representing a number of local companies.

He
was also a founder member of Wessex Export Club and was chosen by the
club to act as organising secretary to a 21- strong, Department of
Trade and Industry-subsidised trade mission, which he accompanied to
South Africa in 1970.

In 1980, aged 60, he joined the Bournemouth
Times and Poole Herald as chief reporter until his retirement three
years later. He then continued as a part-time freelance writer and
researcher for eight years, for clients such as Southern Television, BP
at Wytch Farm and Wilts and Dorset Bus Company.

During his
career, Bob also worked as a scriptwriter on several radio and
television programmes and commercial films and had a number of magazine
articles published.

His celebrity interviews ranged from Sir
Harold Wilson and Pandit Nehru through to John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe,
Jayne Mansfield, Diana Dors, Richard Attenborough and Rita Hayworth.

In
retirement, his hobby was tracing his family history. He was also
co-organiser of the annual reunion in Fleet Street of former editorial
colleagues on The Star.

Bob is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Rosalind Westbrook

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