09 Jan 05. The defence press lost two friends and contributors over Christmas, Antony Preston and Mark Hewish.
The editor had great pleasure to work with Antony in his first posting at DEFENCE Magazine in 1982, Antony was already established as a foremost commentator on naval issues. Latterly, in 1985, he formed NAVINT, the international naval newsletter with Desmond Wettern the Daily Telegraph, naval correspondent. Together they formed an indomitable duo commenting on international naval issues putting fear into governments and industry alike. Antony served on the Falklands Parliamentary Review Committee in 1982 under the chairmanship of Sir Humphrey Atkins. He told me of one interviewee, a logistics specialist who spent his whole interview on the amount of rubber the Royal Marines had expended on their trainers whilst running round HMS Canberra! Humphrey Atkins remarked, “Me thinks the fox has got away!” Latterly Antony and the committee got their own back when a Brigadier was asked about why the 81mm mortar baseplates cracked on firing (they had never been tested at full charge prior to deployment) as his final question. “Ah the mortars he said and proceeded to admit the problems!” (The information had been passed to the Editor by a serving soldier and then on to Antony)
As well as running NAVINT, Antony wrote a number of best selling naval books and edited Brassey’s Annual ‘WARSHIP’ which rivaled Jane’s as a source of naval knowledge. Sadly for Antony Desmond died early in NAVINT’s life and after that, and with the death of his son William, form which he never recovered, he found it increasingly difficult to keep going given his other commitments, he was also hit by the illness of deputy editor George Horvath. Antony was the naval editor for BATTLESPACE until his death and he will be greatly missed for his knowledge and out of hours fun.
Mark Hewish was probably the most undersung of military journalists. A very quiet man with a huge intellect, he spent much of his time at seminars writing about new technologies. Based in the US with his wife Linda for the last ten years, he was a mainstay of Jane’s International Defence Review’s US and international coverage. His will be a difficult act to follow.
We send our condolences to both families