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Jamie Shea

Nato spokesman

Nato's chief press officer became well known among the international press pack for his cockney vowels as well as his professionalism.

At the daily Nato briefings during the alliance's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia he represented the 19 member states as well as Nato chief Javier Solana. Mr Shea was already an experienced operator, having worked for several of Solana's predecessors: Belgian Willy Claes, German Manfred Werner and the former UK foreign secretary, Lord Carrington.

Jamie Shea speaking to Radio Four

He started at Nato as a minute-taker, before moving on to the information office in a junior role, and then taking charge of Nato's visitors' programme - organising trips around the Brussels headquarters for foreign dignitaries.

He went on to write speeches in the division of political affairs, before joining Lord Carrington's team in the final months of his spell as secretary-general.

One Nato official recalls that once, after Shea addressed a group of Nato generals' wives, the UK delegation received a formal complaint demanding to know why someone with his accent was in such a position of authority.

Shea described the ecstatic welcome he received from local Albanians when he visited Kosovo after Yugoslav forces withdrew as one of the highlights of his life.