Dennis Oulds

Dennis Oulds, a Fleet Street photographer whose career spanned more than half a century, has died at the age of 89.

Oulds, who spent most of his working life at the now-defunct Central Press Photos, had become a press photographer literally by accident.

On leaving school, he was apprenticed to an engineering factory, where an accident cost him partial loss of fingers of his right hand. So in 1933 his father paid £50 for him to be "in association"

with Central Press Photos in Fleet Street, where he started as a runner earning 10 shillings (50p) a week.

It involved delivering photographs to the newspapers, attempting to get there before rival agency runners. He progressed to the darkroom as a developer and then a printer, before becoming a photographer.

This association with Central Press was to last for most of his working life, interrupted only by the Second World War and a brief spell at The Daily Telegraph and as a freelance with Associated Press.

One historic moment Dennis photographed was in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain arrived at Hendon Aerodrome brandishing the "peace for our time" Munich agreement he signed with Hitler.

In 1940 he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a photographer with the rank of Lieutenant, serving with Atlantic convoys. Other wartime travels took him to Burma and India, and he was on one of the last ships leaving Singapore, escaping the Japanese invasion. He was also in Cairo, Alexandria, Mombasa, Naples, Salerno, Monte Cassino and Rome. He spent time in the Mediterranean serving with Admiral Sir John Cunningham and Lord Mountbatten.

He was involved in the crossing of the Rhine — an experience which he described as the one time he feared for his life. He photographed the wartime meeting between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in Yalta, and in 1965 covered Churchill's funeral.

In the post-war years at Central Press Photos he covered all areas of news and sport, and this led to his greatest area of expertise — cricket. His agency enjoyed exclusive photographic rights until the early 70s for Test matches at the Oval, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and Old Trafford. He became known personally to many famous cricketers, and was most probably the last proponent of the old "Long Tom" cameras.

Always dapper and courteous, he was a gentleman photographer. He is survived by daughter Denise, son-in-law David and grand-daughters Sally and Kate. Wife Peggy died eight years ago.

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