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War hero who went from trainee to director dies aged 94

A war hero who went from trainee reporter to chief executive of a newspaper group has died aged 94.

Sir Gordon Linacre, pictured below, served as former managing director of Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers and chief executive of United Newspapers, before being made the company’s first president.

Sir Gordon set up his own school magazine before beginning his career aged 17 at the Sheffield Independent, with his first assignment covering a meeting of bee-keepers.

He served as a bomber pilot in the RAF during the Second World War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross, and had risen to the rank of squadron leader by the time he left in 1946.

Gordon Linacre

His best friend Raymond Somerfield, a Sheffield Telegraph sports reporter with whom he signed up to serve, was killed in action.

Sir Gordon was accompanied to the investiture ceremony by Raymond’s ex-fiancee Irene who showed him the way across London, and would later become Lady Linacre.

His career then progressed from sube-editor on the Sunday Graphic to to the Kemsley News Service and assistant editorshis at both the Newcastle Journal and Evening Chronicle.

In 1958 he returned home to become editor of the Sheffield Star and five years later he was made chief executive of Thomson Regional Newspapers.

The board of Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers, which owned The Yorkshire Post the Yorkshire Evening Post, made him managing director in April 1965.

YCN later merged with United Newspapers and he went on to become chief executive and chairman of its regional newspapers division, which owned 130 UK titles.

Sir Gordon also served as president of the Newspaper Society in 1978-79, and remained president of Yorkshire Post Newspapers (and independent entity within United Newspapers) until 1990, when he was made the company’s first president.

He was knighted in 1986 and also served as a director of the English National Opera.

Sir Gordon is survived by his daughters Anthea and Philippa.

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  • February 11, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    As his war record indicates, Sir Gordon Linacre was the sort of newspaper boss who wasn’t simply defined by his job. When the Yorkshire Post/Evening Post journalists were on strike in the 1970s he sent whisky to the picket line. Can you imagine the nonentities of today doing anything similar?

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