Howard Marks

13 August 1945 – 10 April 2016

Howard Marks, drug smuggler, died on 10 April 2016, aged 70. Born in Glamorganshire, the son of a captain in the merchant navy, and speaking only Welsh for his first five years, he was educated at Garw Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read physics and first discovered cannabis. He later took a diploma in the history and philosophy of science. He graduated rapidly from small-time dealing through wholesaling to smuggling cannabis on a large scale, forging connections with the IRA and later the mafia. Arrested in Amsterdam in 1973, he skipped bail and resumed his activities, which were now international. In 1980 he was again arrested (in the UK); at his trial he claimed he was working for MI6 and was acquitted of drug smuggling, though found guilty of using false passports. Reputedly responsible for 10% of global cannabis smuggling, his luck finally ran out in 1988 when he was arrested in Majorca, extradited to the US, and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Released early, after seven years, for good behaviour, he returned to South Wales, stood for parliament for the Legalise Cannabis Party, wrote two autobiographies – Mr Nice (1996) was later made into a film, released in 2010 – as well as a Book of Dope Stories(2001) and a thriller, and enjoyed life as a minor celebrity. He had three daughters and a son. 

Charles Thomas

24 April 1928 – 7 April 2016

The archaeologist (Antony) Charles Thomas CBE, FBA, died on 7 April 2016, aged 87. Born in Camborne, the son of a solicitor, he was educated at Winchester College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he read jurisprudence, graduating in 1951. He then took a diploma in prehistoric archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, London, and swiftly established a reputation as an expert on early British archaeology, particularly that of his native Cornwall. He was a lecture in archaeology at the University of Edinburgh (1957-67) and professor of archaeology at the University of Leicester (1967-71) before becoming the founding professor of Cornish studies at the University of Exeter, and director of the Institute of Cornish Studies, initially in Pool, near Redruth, but then in Truro, where he remained until his retirement in 1991. He published widely, and often controversially, on the archaeology and history of Celtic and early Christian Britain. He was elected an FBA in 1989 and among other distinctions was Sir John Rhys fellow at Jesus College in 1985-6. He was survived by his wife, the writer Jessica Mann, and their four children.

John Semken

9 January 19218 March 2016

John Douglas Semken CB, MC, legal adviser, died on 8 March 2016, aged 95. Born in London, the son of a solicitor, he was educated at St Albans School, then was articled to Sir Louis Gluckstein, at his father’s firm. In 1940 he was commissioned into the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, an armoured regiment, and he fought with them in North Africa and north-west Europe, winning his MC in Normandy soon after D-Day. On demobilisation with the rank of major he took up a place at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he read jurisprudence, graduating in 1948 and taking a BCL in 1949. He was called to the bar by Lincoln’s Inn in the latter year and practised at the Chancery bar until 1954, when he joined the legal adviser’s branch of the Home Office; he ended his career as legal adviser to the Home Office from 1977 to 1983, and a member of the Criminal Law Revision Committee. He lived latterly in Aldeburgh, and was survived by three sons, his wife Margaret having predeceased him.

Tessa Solesby

5 April 1932 – 3 March 2016

Tessa Audrey Hilda Solesby CMG, diplomat, died on 3 March 2016, aged 83. Born in London, the daughter of a businessman, she was educated at Clifton High School, Bristol, and St Hugh's College, Oxford, where she read modern history, graduating in 1954. After working briefly for the Ministry of Labour and National Service she joined the Diplomatic Service in 1956. She served in Manila, Lisbon, the UK missions to the UN in Geneva and New York (the latter twice), Brussels, East Berlin, as head of the Central African Department at the FCO (1982-6), and in Pretoria (1986-7) before finishing her career as leader of the UK delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, with the personal rank of ambassador (1987-92). In retirement she settled in North Yorkshire, where she was chief officer of Age Concern in York (1992-7). She never married.

Peter Mathias

10 January 1928 - 1 March 2016

Peter Mathias CBE, FBA, Chichele Professor of Economic History and fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, from 1969 to 1987, died on 1 March 2016, aged 88. Born in Bath, he was educated at Colston's School, Bristol, and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took the history tripos, graduating in 1951. He was a research fellow at Jesus College from 1952 to 1955, and director of studies in history and a fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, from 1955 to 1968. He was a curator of the Bodleian Library from 1972 to 1987. He was awarded an Oxford DLit in 1985 and became an emeritus fellow of All Souls College on his return to Cambridge in 1987, when he became Master of Downing College until 1995. He wrote a large number of books and articles on early modern and nineteenth-century British economic history, including the industrial revolution. Active in many professional organisations, among many other honours he was elected an FBA in 1977 and was its treasurer from 1980 to 1989. He was survived by his three children, his wife Ann having predeceased him.

Lord Coulsfield

24 April 1934 - 28 February 2016

The Rt Hon John Taylor Cameron, Lord Coulsfield PC, judge, died on 28 February 2016, aged 81. Born in Dundee, he was educated at Fettes College, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he read literae humaniores, graduating in 1956, and the University of Edinburgh, where he took his LLB. Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1960, he was a lecturer in public law at the University of Edinburgh from 1960 to 1964, but thereafter concentrated on his legal career. He was made a Scottish QC in 1973 and was keeper of the Advocates' Library from 1977 to 1987, before becoming a Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland from 1987 to 2002. In 2000-1 he was one of three judges of the special Scottish court in the Netherlands which found Abdelbaset al-Megrahi guilty of planting the bomb which blew up PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. From 1995 to 2003 he was editor of the Scottish Law and Practice Quarterly, and he was a joint author of the twelfth edition of Gloag and Henderson's Law of Scotland (2007). He was survived by his wife Bridget.

Michael Heathcoat Amory

2 October 1941 - 24 February 2016

Michael Fitzgerald Heathcoat Amory, financier and conservationist, died on 24 February 2016, aged 74. His father died in Normandy in 1944, and his mother subsequently married his father's cousin; the Conservative minister David Heathcoat Amory was his younger half-brother. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read modern history, graduating in 1963. He joined the family lacemaking business but soon moved into fund management, first with Morgan Grenfell, then with Tarbutt & Co, and finally with Jupiter Asset Management, which merged with Tarbutt in 1986. Between then and 2000 funds under Jupiter’s management grew a hundred-fold, to £12.5 billion. In the latter year Jupiter’s founder, John Duffield, left to form his own business, having fallen out with Commerzbank, which owned 75% of Jupiter, but Heathcoat Amory chose to stay. Meanwhile, in 1966 he had inherited an estate at Chevithorne Barton from his paternal grandmother, and over the next forty years he built up a world-renowned collection of oak trees, eventually comprising more than 450 oaks of more than 200 species. He was survived by his second wife, Arabella, their two daughters, and the son of his first marriage.

Abbot Patrick Barry

6 December 1917 - 21 February 2016

Abbot Noel St John (Patrick) Barry, headmaster of Ampleforth College from 1964 to 1979 and Abbot of Ampleforth from 1984 to 1997, died on 21 February 2016, aged 98. Born in Wallasey, the son of an Irish doctor, he was educated at Ampleforth and St Benet's Hall, Oxford, where he read literae humaniores, graduating in 1942. He then returned to Ampleforth as librarian, head of classics, a housemaster from 1954, and then headmaster. Notably shy, he had a somewhat fearsome reputation among his pupils, but remained in touch with many. He was the first headmaster of a Roman Catholic school to chair the Headmasters' Conference, in 1975. From 1985 to 1997, as well as acting as Abbot of Ampleforth, he was the senior assistant to the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation from 1985 to 1997, and chairman of the Union of Monastic Superiors from 1989 to 1995. He developed close links with a group of lay-led co-educational schools in Chile, modelled on Ampleforth, and in 2005 published a book on them, A Cloister in the World.

Lord Avebury

29 September 1928 - 14 February 2016

Eric Reginald Lubbock, fourth Baron Avebury, engineer and politician, died on 14 February 2016, aged 87. The son of the Hon Maurice Lubbock, sixth son of the first Baron Avebury, and vice-chairman of Rolls Royce, he was evacuated to Canada during the Second World War and was a pupil at Upper Canada College, before returning to England where he went briefly to Harrow before reading engineering at Balliol College, Oxford. After graduating in 1949 and two years' national service in the Welsh Guards, he joined Rolls Royce. Standing as a Liberal, he won a sensational by-election at Orpington in 1962 but lost his seat in 1970. He succeeded his cousin the following year, and was an elected member of the House of Lords from 1999, sitting as a Liberal Democrat. A member of Amnesty International, he helped found and from 1976 to 1997 chaired the British Parliamentary Human Rights Group. Among many other positions he was patron of the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy and the Traveller Movement. He was survived by his second wife, Lindsay, their son, and the three children of his first marriage.

Sir Christopher Zeeman

4 February 1925 - 13 February 2016

Sir (Erik) Christopher Zeeman FRS, mathematician and Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, from 1988 to 1995, died on 13 February 2016, aged 91. Born in Japan, the son of a Danish father and a British mother, he was educated at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, and, after four years' service as a flying officer in the RAF, Christ's College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics, staying on to take a PhD on topology under Shaun Wylie. He was a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from 1953 to 1964, when he became the founding professor of mathematics at Warwick University, where from scratch he built up a world-ranking mathematics department. He was a skilled communicator, and was the first mathematician to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, in 1978. Elected an FRS in 1975 and knighted in 1991, he was, among other posts, president of the London Mathematical Society, from 1986 to 1988. He was survived by his wife Rosemary, their five children, and the daughter from his first marriage. 

Margaret Forster

25 May 19388 February 2016

The writer and biographer Margaret Forster FRSL died on 8 February 2016, aged 77. Born in Carlisle, the daughter of a factory worker, she was educated at Carlisle and County High School for Girls, and Somerville College, Oxford, where she read modern history, graduating in 1960, the year she married the writer Hunter Davies, whom she had met as a teenager. For two years after graduating she was a teacher in Islington. In 1965 she scored an immediate success with Georgy Girl, later made into a film starring Lynn Redgrave. She went on to write some 25 novels, several volumes of memoirs, including the acclaimed Hidden Lives (1995), and fourteen biographies. Her biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1988) won the Heinemann Award, and that of Daphne du Maurier (1993) won the Fawcett Book Prize. She also wrote a history of feminism, Significant Sisters(1984). She was survived by her husband and their three children.

Philip Taverner

2 July 1929 - 6 February 2016

Philip Taverner, marketing executive and exhibition organiser, died on 6 February 2016, aged 86. Born in Chelmsford, the son of a Bank of England official, he was educated at Bryanston School and University College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics and economics, and joined the dramatic society, acting alongside Maggie Smith in Twelfth Night. After graduating in 1954 he worked in public relations for the tyre company Pirelli before becoming marketing director at Times Newspapers. It was in this capacity that he organised the record-breaking 'Treasures of Tutankhamun' exhibition at the British Museum in 1972 and the 'Genius of China' exhibition at the Royal Academy the following year (both sponsored by the Times). He later set up Carlton Cleeve with Peter Saabor to organise other museum 'blockbusters', but by the late 1970s most museums began to organise big exhibitions in-house, and he opened a garden centre in Hampshire. He was later involved in setting up the short-lived Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol. He was survived by his wife Susannah ('Zan') and their three sons. 

David Menhennet

4 December 1928 - 5 February 2016

David Menhennet CB, librarian of the House of Commons from 1976 to 1991, died on 5 February 2016, aged 87. Born in Redruth, Cornwall, he was educated at Truro School and, after national service in the navy, Oriel College, Oxford, where he read modern languages, graduating in French and German in 1952. He stayed on as Bishop Fraser research scholar at Oriel, Laming fellow at the Queen's College, and Zaharoff travelling scholar, while working on a thesis on 'Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and antiquity', for which he was awarded a DPhil in 1960. Meanwhile he joined the House of Commons Library as a clerk in 1954, working is way up to become deputy librarian in 1967. As librarian he oversaw a transformation in the services offered, expanding the Library's research capabilities, and introducing a public information office and a service for schools. By the time of his retirement the Library had 158 staff (more than five times the number it had when he joined). He wrote a large number of articles and books on the House of Commons and librarianship. He was survived by his wife Audrey and their two sons.

William Gaskill

24 June 1930– 4 February 2016

The theatre director William Gaskill died on 4 February 2016, aged 85. Born in Shipley, Yorkshire, the son of a teacher, he was educated at Salt High School, Shipley, where he started an amateur theatre group with Tony Richardson, and Hertford College, Oxford, followed by six months in Paris studying mime and drama. Although for most of his career he worked as a freelance stage director, he was particularly associated with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court (where he was assistant artistic director, 1957-9, and later artistic director, 1965-72), the National Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. From 1973 to 1983 he was director of the Joint Stock Theatre Company. He also worked frequently on and off Broadway. He published a memoir of his association with the Royal Court, and a book of essays. He was survived by a sister, Ruth.

Sir Jeremy Morse

10 December 19284 February 2016

Sir (Christopher) Jeremy Morse KCMG, banker, died on 4 February 2016, aged 87. Born in London, the son of a solicitor from a major brewing family, he was educated at Winchester College and, after national service with the King's Royal Rifle Corps, New College, Oxford, where he read literae humaniores, and won the Chancellor's Latin verse and prose prizes, the Craven and Hertford scholarships, and the Gaisford prose prize. He became a prize fellow of All Souls after graduating in 1953, but eschewed an academic career for one in banking, initially joining Glyn, Mills & Co. In 1965 he became an executive director of the Bank of England, and from 1972 to 1974 he was chairman of the deputies of the Committee of Twenty at the IMF, being knighted KCMG in 1975; he was then deputy chairman (1975-7) and chairman (1977-93) of Lloyds Bank, rescuing it from a parlous state and overseeing a steady growth in its share of the market. Among many other positions he was Warden of Winchester College (1987-97) and Chancellor of Bristol University (1989-2003). He published a book of chess problems, and was a frequent winner of crossword competitions. His friend Colin Dexter named his fictional detective after him; Dexter explained, 'Jeremy was the cleverest man I had ever met and I intended Morse also to be fiendishly clever'. He was survived by his wife Brenda and four children, a daughter having predeceased him.

Lord Roper

10 September 1935– 29 January 2016

The Rt Hon John Francis Hodgess Roper, Baron Roper PC, politician, died on 29 January 2016, aged 80. Born in Norwich, the son of a Congregational minister, he was educated at William Hulme's Grammar School, Manchester, Reading School, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics and economics, and was president of the UN Student Association. After a Harkness fellowship he was successively a research fellow in economic statistics, assistant lecturer in economics, and lecturer in economics at the University of Manchester before becoming Labour MP for Farnworth in 1970. In 1981 he joined the fledgling SDP, and failed to gain re-election at the 1983 election. He subsequently worked for the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) as editor of International Affairs, head of the international security programme, and director of studies, then from 1990 to 1995 he was head of the WEU Institute for Security Studies in Paris. He was made a life peer in 2000, and was Liberal Democrat chief whip in the House of Lords from 2001 to 2005. He published several books on defence policy. He was survived by his daughter, Kathryn, his wife Hope (daughter of another Labour MP, John Edwards) having predeceased him.

Nicholas Bagnall

22 September 1924 – 27 January 2016

The journalist Nicholas Bagnall died on 27 January 2016, aged 91. The son of an army officer who later became a Church of England vicar, he was educated at Bryanston School and Wadham College, Oxford, where after taking classical moderations he switched to English, graduating in 1947. He began his career in journalism with the Church Times before moving to theDaily Telegraph in 1954, thus beginning a long association with that paper and its Sunday sister (launched in 1961) which would last into his eighties; he was variously a features writer, leader writer, education correspondent, letters editor, book reviews editor, columnist, and latterly book reviewer; for nearly twenty years from its launch in 1990 he was also an erudite columnist on words for the Independent on Sunday. He wrote several books on the English language, and an autobiography, A Little Overmatter (2002). He was survived by his wife Ann and their two children.

Michael Sheringham

2 June 1948 – 21 January 2016

Michael Hugh Tempest Sheringham FBA, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature and fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, since 2004, died on 21 January 2016, aged 67. Born in Cairo, the son of a British colonial official and a poet who was a francophone Egyptian Copt, he was educated at Wallingford County Grammar School, and the newly-opened University of Kent at Canterbury, where he read French and later took his PhD. He was a lecturer at the New University of Ulster for a year before moving back to Canterbury, where he became a professor in 1992. He was then professor of French at Royal Holloway from 1995 to 2004. He was particularly known for his work on twentieth-century French literature, and for his books on two hundred years of French Autobiography (1993) and Everyday Life: Theories and Practices from Surrealism to the Present (2006). He was elected an FBA in 2010. He was survived by his wife Priscilla and their two children.

Lord Weidenfield

13 September 1919 – 20 January 2016

The publisher and philanthropist (Arthur) George Weidenfeld, Baron Weidenfeld GBE, died on 20 January 2016, aged 96. Born in Vienna, he was educated at the Piaristen Gymnasium and the University of Vienna, but escaped to England following the Anschluss. From 1939 to 1946 he worked for the BBC. In 1945 he founded Contact Magazine and Books, and in 1948, with Nigel Nicolson, the phenomenally successful publishing house of Weidenfeld & Nicolson. A noted party-giver and a generous philanthropist, he was a major benefactor of Oxford, funding the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann scholarships for students from developing countries, and serving as vice-chairman of the University of Oxford Campaign in the 1990s. He was an honorary fellow of St Peter's and St Anne's colleges, and received an honorary Oxford DLitt in 2010. He was knighted in 1968, made a life peer in 1976, and appointed GBE in 2011. He was survived by his fourth wife, Annabelle Whetstone, and the daughter of his first marriage.

Robin Fletcher

30 May 1922 – 15 January 2016

Robin Anthony Fletcher DSC, OBE, Warden of Rhodes House from 1980 to 1989, died on 15 January 2016, aged 93. Born in Godalming, the son of a schoolmaster, he was educated at Marlborough College and, after war service with the Royal Navy which included dangerous missions with the Levant Schooner Flotilla, in command of a commandeered caïque with a Greek crew (for which he awarded his DSC), Trinity College, Oxford, where he read medieval and modern Greek. He later completed a DPhil on the Festival of the Annunciation, from early Byzantine texts, but already on graduating in 1949 he was appointed a university lecturer in modern Greek; he also served as domestic bursar of Trinity College from 1980 to 1989. A keen hockey player, he represented England from 1949 to 1955, and Great Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games, when the team won the bronze medal. As Warden of Rhodes House he was particularly known for his pastoral care, and for his efforts to introduce scholarships for black South African students. He lived latterly on Orkney. He was survived by a son, Denys, his wife Jinny and another son having predeceased him.

Glyn Humphreys

28 December 1954 – 14 January 2016

Glyn William Humphreys FRSocMed, FBA, Watts Professor of Psychology and fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, since 2011, died on 14 January 2016, aged 61. Born in Ormskirk, the son of a lecturer in building project management, he was educated at Merchant Taylors' Boys' School, Crosby, and the University of Bristol, where he read psychology, graduating in 1976 and taking his PhD in 1980. He was a lecturer in psychology at Birkbeck College, London, from 1979 to 1987, then a senior lecturer and from 1988 professor at the University of Birmingham. He published widely on different aspects of cognitive neuroscience, including attentional disorders, visual agnosia and brain injury, and his research led in particular to improvements in the diagnosis and rehabilitation of stroke victims. He was elected an FRSocMed in 2008 and an FBA in 2009. He was survived by his wife Jane and their three children.