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Reminiscences: Lord (Roy) Thomson, James Bond and me

Like Peter Gregson, I too found Lord Thomson to be a kind man, but my one meeting with him was slightly farcical. I was Reuters correspondent in Bangkok in 1973, when he was also owner of the Bangkok Post. The English editor was a friend of mine and he hastily decided to throw a reception at the Oriental Hotel in his boss’s honour when Lord Thomson flew in for a quick visit to Thailand. At the last minute, the star-struck editor also decided to invite the cast on location for the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. They were staying at the hotel. I arrived from our office nearby to find a lonely-looking Lord Thomson sitting by himself at one end of the room. He had a gammy leg, a stick, and couldn’t stand for long. The other guests, including his own editor, had abandoned him to fawn over the stars of the film, whose presence in the country was a great social event. Without exception, all the women crowded round a charming Roger Moore, and all the men around lovely Britt Eckland. Knowing of his connection to Reuters, and that he was officially the guest of honour, I introduced myself to Lord Thomson as the local correspondent. He seemed grateful that someone wanted to talk to him. For many minutes, in our isolated position, we discussed newspaper and local subjects. He then generously cut the conversation short and said something along the lines that I also must want to be meeting the movie people. He sent me off in their direction. I duly joined both scrums. I was also star-struck. ■