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Alexander Clifford self-portrait

Alan Moorehead (left) and Alexander Clifford (right) during the North African Campaign

Alexander G. Clifford (1909 – 1952) was a British journalist and author, best known as a war correspondent during World War II.

Life[edit | edit source]

Clifford was educated at Charterhouse School and Balliol College, Oxford.[1] He married the actress and journalist Jennie Prydie Nicholson (1919–1964) on 22 February 1945 in the Savoy Chapel, London; she was the eldest child of poet and author Robert Graves and Annie Mary Prydie "Nancy" Nicholson, elder daughter of the painter William Nicholson.[note 1][2] Clifford died in 1952 and is buried on the headland near Portofino, Italy.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Clifford was a war correspondent for the Daily Mail during the war. In June 1940 the Sunderland flying ship in which he was being transported beached near Malta to avoid sinking.[3][Clarification needed]

Clifford was a friend of Daily Express correspondent Alan Moorehead; they both covered the Spanish Civil War, and first met in the 'Bar Basque' in Saint-Jean-de-Luz in 1938).[4] Moorehead wrote much about him in his three books on the North African Campaign. They spent much of the war in each other's company during the Desert War, the Allied invasion of Italy and the Invasion of Normandy. According to one writer, "Moorehead and Clifford were complementary opposites, professional rivals as well as friends. Clifford was an intellectual European and a profound pessimist, uncertain of himself and the world. The expatriate Moorehead was driven by his curiosity, brilliance and eagerness to discover the world."[5] Moorehead's memoir A Late Education: Episodes in a Life is, amongst other things, the story of his friendship with Clifford.

Books by Clifford[edit | edit source]

  • Crusader, G. G. Harrap, London, 1942
  • Three against Rommel. The Campaigns of Wavell, Auchinleck and Alexander, G. G. Harrap, London, 1943
  • The Sickle and the Stars (with Jennie Nicholson), P. Davies, London, 1948
  • Enter Citizens, Evans Bros, London, 1950
  • The Conquest of North Africa 1940 to 1943, Kessinger, 2007

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Nancy Nicholson did not take Graves' surname when they married, and also insisted that her daughters bear hers.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Alan Moorehead, 'A Late Education' (1970), p 41 and p 132
  2. Robert Graves Family Tree, St. John's College Robert Graves Trust, accessed 30 November 2009
  3. Sunderland Squadrons of World War 2, Jon Lake, Osprey, 2000, p. 74, accessed 30 November 2009
  4. Details of A Late Education: Episodes In A Life, choosebooks.com, accessed 30 November 2009
  5. Review of Moorehead's A Late Education, textpublishing.com.au, accessed 30 November 2009[dead link]

External links[edit | edit source]

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