Flashman creator: “as a journalist he was great in all respects”

Tributes have been paid to the journalistic skills of George MacDonald Fraser – the creator of the Flashman series of novels – who has died of cancer aged 82.

Born in Carlisle in 1925, he served with the British Army in India and Burma during the Second World War, and in the Middle East after the war.

Afterwards he became a reporter with the Carlisle Journal and married Kathleen Hetherington, a reporter from another paper. They travelled to Canada together and both worked as reporters there.

When he returned to Enghland Fraser worked as a reporter and sub-editor on the Cumberland News and later worked on the Glasgow Herald as a sub-editor before becoming features editor and then deputy editor from 1964 till 1969. He briefly held the job of acting editor.

Murray Ritchie, 66, former political editor of The Herald, said in the Herald today: “George Fraser went around Scotland with the other journalists to the outposts giving tuition and that’s how I met him.

“In journalism, he was great in all respects. He was a great writer, great sub-editor, great layout man, great headline writer, he was just a very talented individual.

“He rose effortlessly to become deputy editor in the 1960s and when he went home at night he was writing for himself and he had this idea that he would write a sequel to Tom Brown’s Schooldays and took the character Flashman and wrote the first of those novels.

“It was such an instant success that he made a lot of money. He had a choice – to bank his money or lose it to tax. So there and then he gave up his very glittering career on the Glasgow Herald.

“I do not think it pushed him away but it certainly kept him away. I do not think it had the same attraction for him.”

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