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Editor who served in World War Two dies aged 88

Frank with wife Christine

A former daily newspaper editor who witnessed the London Blitz in 1939 and later saw wartime service in the RAF has died at the age of 88.

Frank Shelton, editor of Northcliffe title the Grimsby Evening Telegraph from 1973 to 1982, died on Sunday night at a residential home in the town following a short illness.

The son of a butcher, Frank started as a reporter on the Hornsey Chronicle in north London. It was here that he witnessed the London Blitz before returning to Grimsby and a job on the old Grimsby News, a paper then owned by the Baskcomb family.

He also enlisted in the Home Guard and served at the Augusta Street barracks.

In 1943, aged 22, he joined the Royal Air Force and was involved with American forces in a maritime support group – air-sea-rescue launches – at the Omaha Beach landings on D-Day in 1944.

Posted to India, he turned down the offer of further post-war commissioned service. He returned to Grimsby and the News and, in 1947, achieved his ambition of joining the Telegraph staff under the editorship of JH “Jimmy” Giles.

He was chief sub-editor by 1955, then left to become editor of the Lincoln Echo in 1960 and, later, of the South Wales Evening Post in Swansea.

He returned to Grimsby after four years in Wales and the editorship of this paper.

When the newspaper offices were knocked down to make way for new ones, Frank greeted Princess Anne when she declared the new building open on October 26, 1976.

News editor Lucy Wood said: “His seemingly casual and friendly effervescence to members of both editorial and production staff confirmed the ability that had been spotted by his post-war commanding officer in India.

“It also concealed a complete mastery of newspaper production and immense loyalty not only to his newspaper, but to newspapers in general. The loyalty was returned by all members of staff.

“When he retired 30 years ago at the helm of a very happy ship, he was held in both high esteem and great affection.”

Frank first married in 1949. When Lilian died several years ago, he married widowed Christine Goodhand, who survives him.

He leaves two daughters, Janice and Christine and three grandchildren, David, Tracey and Richard. Funeral details have yet to be announced.