Joseph Stone, Baron Stone

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For other people of the same name, see Joseph Stone (disambiguation).

Sir Joseph Ellis Stone, Baron Stone of Hendon (27 May 1903 – 17 June 1986) was an officer in the British Army, and a doctor, most notably to Harold Wilson. He was given the name of Joseph Ellis Silverstone. He was knighted in 1970,[1][2] and later was created a life peer in the 1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours[3] taking the title Baron Stone, of Hendon in Greater London, on 24 June 1976.[4] His full title was The Right Honourable Sir Joseph Ellis Stone, The Lord Stone of Hendon.

Joe Stone was a General Practitioner, originally from Llanelli in Wales, who after qualifying in Cardiff worked as a GP in and around Hendon. He took on a number of patients from Hampstead Garden Suburb, at the time an area popular with left wing politicians, one of whom, Harold Wilson went on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

During World War II, as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Joe was in the British Army force that liberated Belsen Concentration Camp. He became heavily involved as a doctor in the initial army reaction to the situation they found in Belsen, and to the rehabilitation of the prisoners there. He was possibly the first British Jewish doctor to enter Belsen after its liberation. His brother-in-law, Sidney Bernstein was then commissioned by the British Government to make a documentary about the liberation of Belsen and the Concentration Camps, which may have been influenced by the letters Joe sent home to his wife, Beryl.

As a peacetime GP, his patients included Lord Longford and Harold Wilson, and when Wilson became Prime Minister, Stone went on to become the personal physician to the Prime Minister. During this period in his career he counted a large number of Wilson's Cabinet as his patients. Stone travelled widely with the Prime Minister, and became a very close confidant of his.

Joe Stone remained a family GP in Hendon until a few years before his death, and during his time as Wilson's doctor. During his life he was regarded as an excellent doctor, and was seen as very loyal to Wilson.

He died in London, having continued to practice medicine until a few years before his death. He was married to Beryl, and had two children, Richard and Adrienne. His brother was Arnold Silverstone, later Lord Ashdown.

In his memory the Lord Stone Trust was founded. This was merged with the Lord Ashdown Charitable Settlement to form the Stone Ashdown Trust.

In 2002, Harold Wilson's former press secretary Joe Haines alleged that Stone had plotted to murder Marcia Falkender in 1975, to prevent her from revealing that she and Wilson had had an affair; Falkender has rejected Haines's allegations as "outrageous".[5] Bernard Donoughue claimed in a 2011 documentary to have also heard Stone say, "it was in the national interest she be put down."[6] However, there is no evidence behind this story beyond the word of Haines and Donoghue, and it was only raised in their books many years after Lord Stone's death. Joe Stone remained private doctor to the Wilsons, and Marcia Falkender until his death.

Controversy and unclarity about events during this period were also approached by the BBC 4 drama 'The Lavendar List.' Marcia Falkender sued the BBC for libel, and won £75,000 and an agreement by the BBC never to show the documentary drama again. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6525657.stm

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