Arliss Rhind, a former news editor of The Courier and a former senior executive of two national titles, has died aged 81.
He was a reporter for the Daily Express when Fleet Street was at the pinnacle of its power, rubbed shoulders with stars like John Lennon and encountered Kray associates in East End pubs.
By the time he was 35, Arliss had become news editor of the Daily Express, then assistant editor before moving to the Daily Mail as assistant editor.
James Arliss Rhind was born in Dundee in May 1940 and was educated at Clepington Primary School.
He won a bursary to Morgan Academy where he excelled at sports, particularly rugby.
Known for his speed, Arliss played in various positions along the three-quarter line and represented Morgan, Morgan FP and North and Midlands.
When he was 17, Arliss began his journalistic career as a trainee reporter on The Courier and Evening Telegraph based at DC Thomson’s Meadowside headquarters.
After eight years, he joined the Daily Express and was based for a short spell in its Dundee office before transferring to the newspaper’s Scottish headquarters in Glasgow, then Fleet Street.
From his London base he travelled to Amsterdam to cover John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s sleep-in protest and interviewed the couple.
He also recalled meeting many rock stars of the same age as him and laughed that while he got older, they stayed the same age in their publicity material.
Daring, coupled with a dose of luck, often gives reporters the edge and Arliss possessed both.
He once took a chance on getting a scoop from the Kray Twins, turned up in their local and ordered a drink.
The tall lad with a Scottish accent and a sharp suit stood out in the East End and it was not long before friends of the Krays clocked him as a reporter and “invited” him to leave.
Arliss always proved an adaptable, willing and well-prepared reporter.
In later years he would speak of the two things he would never leave the house without: a good breakfast and his passport.
He told colleagues he could never tell what the day would bring so it was wise to be prepared.
The day came when his passport was needed and he was dispatched at short notice to join the ranks of the paper’s foreign correspondents, reporting from North America, Africa and east Asia.
In 1973 he was made a junior executive of the Daily Express and within two years had been made news editor, a position he held for five years, working under eight Express editors, including Alistair Burnett and Derek Jameson.
He moved up to become assistant editor at the Express before joining former colleague Sir David English at the Daily Mail as an associate and then assistant editor.
In 1980, Arliss was at the helm of the Express’s award-winning coverage of the Iranian embassy siege in London.
By the mid 1980s technological changes were sweeping through Fleet Street and titles were moving out, so Arliss and his wife Dorothy, whom he had married in 1962, returned to Scotland.
They built a house at Letham Grange, near Arbroath, and opened sports shops in Arbroath and Carnoustie.
Arliss became captain of Letham Grange Golf Club and appeared in the video, Play Better Golf, with Peter Alliss.
However, the lure of journalism proved strong and Arliss returned to newspapers first as a reporter with The Courier before being appointed news editor in 1997.
His son, Damon, said: “He lost my mum in 2007 and retired later that year so it was a huge change of life. She was his rock.
“In retirement he went on to train to become a member of the Children’s Panel and served for 10 years.
“He was also a member of Carnoustie Community Council for 12 years, six of them as chairman,” said Damon.
Arliss continued to play golf on all Carnoustie courses, was a member of the Station Masters club in the town and, aged 79, became a member of Carnoustie Bowling Club.
Journalist Chris Ferguson, who worked at The Courier with Arliss for more than 10 years, said: “He was a huge character and a brilliant conversationalist. He told the most engaging stories of his early career and, importantly, they were the stories people loved to listen to.
“But he was also an encouraging mentor to many younger staff, a colleague who was not afraid of expressing a strong opinion, and a journalist of talent.”
Arliss is survived by his children Lesley, Gillian and Damon, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.