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The BBC's Nick Higham reports
"Godfrey Talbot was one of the first radio reporters to record eye witness despatches"
 real 56k

Monday, 4 September, 2000, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
BBC veteran Godfrey Talbot dies
Godfrey Talbot
Godfrey Talbot became a distinguished voice of the BBC
Veteran BBC broadcaster Godfrey Talbot has died at the age of 91.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr Talbot was a front-line war correspondent before becoming the BBC's first officially-accredited royal correspondent.

He made his name with despatches on the Desert Rats' campaign in North Africa during the Second World War.

He went on to become one of the best known voices of the BBC and was honoured by the Queen.

War reporter

Born at Walton, near Wakefield in Yorkshire, he went to Leeds Grammar School and began his journalistic career on the Yorkshire Post aged 20.

Within four years he became editor of the Manchester City News and worked for the Daily Dispatch before joining the BBC in 1937.

He joined the corporation to get away from news journalism but with the outbreak of war he found himself following the Allied troops in North Africa, covering battles such as Al Alamein and Cassino.

He was regularly summoned to Montgomery's desert caravan for praise or rebuke about his dispatches.

Mr Talbot's distinguished work as a war correspondent earned him an OBE.

Royal correspondent

After the war he campaigned for the appointment of a radio reporter to be accredited to Buckingham Palace to cover Royal events.

In 1948 he was given the job, becoming the first person to be accredited officially to Buckingham Palace as BBC Court Correspondent.

Over the next 20 years he travelled more than a quarter of a million miles around the world with members of the Royal Family.

His travels provided him with unique opportunities for seeing royalty at work and at play.

He once said his most arduous job was when the Queen toured Canada in 1964 amid fears of threats to her safety.

"I seemed to spend all my time rushing to microphones," he said.

"I remember making 11 live broadcasts in a single day."

Literary success

The value of his services was officially recognised in 1960, when the Queen appointed him a Member of the sovereign's personal order of chivalry, the Royal Victorian Order.

Mr Talbot, from Sanderstead, near Croydon, was also an accomplished author and lecturer.

He published two volumes of autobiography - Ten Seconds From Now and Permission to Speak.

His books about royalty were widely popular, in particular The Country Life Book of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Mr Talbot died peacefully at his home.

He was married with two sons, one of whom died before him.

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