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Blast from past for ex-Shuttle newsman
7:40am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in News
FORMER Shuttle news editor, Malcolm Nicholl, has had a surprising blast from the past.
He had not thought about what he had been doing 40 years ago until, out of the blue, he received an email from someone who had tracked him down through the internet.
Forty years ago, Mr Nicholl was in Derry, Northern Ireland, covering Operation Motorman for the Daily Mirror. That was when, in the early hours of July 31, 1972, thousands of British troops poured into the city to win back the “no-go” areas set up by the IRA.
With the aid of Centurion tanks smuggled into the city on board HMS Fearless, beginning at 4am, they tore down the barricades of “Free Derry” as it was known. Two teenagers, one a member of the IRA, were shot dead.
The email correspondence was from Theresa Killen, whose parents’ wedding day went ahead despite the drama and whose story was featured on the front page of the Mirror under Mr Nicholl’s byline.
Mr Nicholl, who now lives in San Diego, California, said: “She’d tracked me down to tell me that Johnny and Rose Killen were celebrating their Ruby Wedding.
“Included was a photo of the happy bride and groom posing with a rifle-toting squaddie in front of an armored car - commonly known as a pig because of its snout-front. Yours truly, with long brown hair and beard, is seen lurking in the background.”
He added: “The correspondence brought back all kinds of memories from the time I spent in Northern Ireland covering the ‘Troubles’. I certainly remember Operation Motorman and cowering in puddles of rainwater as the odd round of sniper fire flew overhead. The email was a true blast’ from the past.”
Mr Nicholl joined The Shuttle as a reporter after leaving the former Queen Elizabeth I Grammar School at Hartlebury. He worked for the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham for a spell before returning to The Shuttle as news editor.
He went on to spend nearly five years with the Daily Mirror and became chief of bureau in Belfast. From there he moved to Florida to work for the National Enquirer.
He regularly returns to Kidderminster to see his mother, Muriel Nicholl, who lives in Greenhill Avenue, and will be visiting with his American wife, Sandy, at the end of this month.
Mr and Mrs Niholl run a business creating and marketing gourmet nutrition bars called WineTime and TravelTime, which are sold in stores throughout the United States.
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