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Howard Spring

Journalist and Writer

HMS Prince of Wales

 


Robert Howard Spring was born in Cardiff, South Wales in 1889. 

He had a Saturday job with a greengrocer. When was 12 years old he left school and started work as an errand boy at a butcher's shop which he hated.
His next job was as office boy with an accountant four miles from home in Cardiff Docks, a journey he walked each day. He was there for a year and learned how to use a typewriter. He then found a post at the South Wales Daily News as a messenger boy and here he taught himself shorthand and attended night school to improve his education. 

After nine years with this newspaper he transferred to the Yorkshire Observer in Bradford, adding book reviewing to his talents. In early 1915 he obtained a reporter's job at the Manchester Guardian where he was to work for 15 years. He was unfit for active service during WW1 but joined the Army Service Corps and held every rank up to and including that of Warrant Officer, mainly attached to the Intelligence Department. His one surviving brother was killed at Arras. 

In 1919 he met his future wife Marion and they married in March, 1920. He spent some time in Ireland reporting on the troubles between Great Britain and Sinn Fein and was present at the fall of the Four Courts and the bombardment of the rebel headquarters in Sackville Street.

By 1931 his work had been noticed nationally and he was invited to work for the Evening Standard in London and became their book reviewer, succeeding J. B. Priestley and Arnold Bennett.

In August 1941 he received a strange request to leave England for three weeks to an undisclosed destination. He agreed and it turned out that he was to accompany the entourage of Winston Churchill, with H. V. Morton, on the battleship Prince of Wales to Newfoundland for the meeting with President Roosevelt. He covered the incident in his second volume of autobiography 'In the Meantime' (1942) and there is a fuller account in H. V. Morton's 'Atlantic Meeting' (1943). 

He was reviewing books for Country Life when in the early 1960's he had a minor stroke and lost the use of his right hand. He recovered enough to write his last novel, Winds of the Day (1964) but had a further stroke and died 3rd May, 1965.

 

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