John Kilbracken

Lord Kilbracken has died in County Leitrim, Ireland, aged 85.

Educated at Eton, John Kilbracken (as he preferred to be known), later attended Balliol College, Oxford, where his first publication was a slender volume of poetry. During World War Two, Kilbracken became a squadron commander in the Fleet Air Arm and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

When war ended, he became a reporter on the Daily Mirror and in more than 50 years in journalism he wrote for Tatler, the Evening Standard, Daily Express and other publications including the New Yorker, Vogue and Punch.

Kilbracken inherited an estate in County Leitrim on the death of his father in 1950. He had often taken trips to Ireland during his childhood spent in London and Sussex.

In 1957, travelling to Moscow to report on the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Russian Revolution, he spent 30 minutes with the then Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, and later based a book entitled Peer Behind the Curtain on his experiences.

He also reported on the Yemen war in 1962 and went to other war zones such as the Congo, Angola, Mozambique and Kurdistan. His books included Bring Back My Stringbag, his account of his years as a torpedo bomber pilot, while a book published in 1982, The Easy Way to Bird Recognition, won a TES award.

Kilbracken was an active member of the House of Lords until 1999. He is survived by his son Christopher, his daughter Lisa and son Sean.

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