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Lionel Walsh - Friendly, helpful, supportive and popular

Lionel was a very friendly, helpful, supportive and popular bureau chief In Bonn during the main part of my assignment there 1968-70. He was a highly professional correspondent who could turn out a polished four-take nightlead in double quick time. He was an enthusiastic follower of the complex politicking between West and East Germany that finally led to the spectacular “Willy-Willy” summit meetings between Willy Brandt and Willy Stoph in 1970, the first in Erfurt, East Germany, the second in Kassel, West Germany, after decades of post Second World War hostility. Coverage of both mega-events won worldwide credits for Reuters. 

When totally involved in writing a story LW could sometimes lose sight of things going on around him. On one memorable occasion he was found deep into page 2 of a nightlead with one lit cigarette burning quietly on the edge of his desk, a second glowing on top of his typewriter and a third nestling, yes, behind his ear.

I met him again when he had been brought back from France by one of his sons and installed in a care home in Chapeltown, Sheffield, and I was invited to his 80th birthday drinks in a pub there.

I, along with Donald Armour, Mark Meredith, Tony Winning and some others visited him as and when we could, took him out to a pub near the home for lunch as long as he was able. Despite his infirmity he was remained cheerful and reminisced tirelessly about the days in Bonn. ■