Peter Howard (journalist)

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Peter Howard
Born Peter Dunsmore Howard
20 December 1908
Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
Died 25 February 1965
Lima, Peru

Peter Dunsmore Howard (20 December 1908 – 25 February 1965)[1] was a British journalist, playwright, captain of the England national rugby union team and the head of the spiritual movement Moral Re-Armament from 1961 to 1965.

Biography[edit]

Born in Maidenhead, England, Howard was educated at Mill Hill School.[2] A graduate of the University of Oxford and journalist, Howard captained the England national rugby union team while working with Oswald Mosley during his New Party period. He represented Oxford University RFC in The Varsity Match in 1929 and 1930 and made his England debut against Wales in January 1930 while still at Oxford. He played eight times for England, playing in all four matches in the Five Nations Championship in both 1930 and 1931. He captained England against Ireland at Twickenham in 1931, Ireland winning 6-5.[3]

After a flirtation with Mosley's Blackshirts, he joined the Conservative party and became a political correspondent and investigative reporter for the Daily Express. In 1940 he worked with fellow Beaverbrook journalists Michael Foot and Frank Owen to write Guilty Men, a political polemic about appeasement and the politicians behind it.

Meanwhile, Howard had been assigned by Lord Beaverbrook to investigate the 1930s evangelical work of American religious leader Frank Buchman in England, particularly in Oxford. Howard met, interviewed, and fell in with Buchman, eventually leaving the Daily Express and joining the inner circle of what became known as the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement.[4][5] In 1941 he published a book entitled Innocent men, in which he took a different view of the politicians he had lambasted in Guilty Men a year earlier, still sharply questioning the relationship between press and government in wartime Britain, but also expressing his views about the role Moral Re-Armament could play.[6] During and after World War II, as MRA made the fight against what it considered to be the worldwide Communist threat on peace and religious freedom one of its highest priorities, Howard wrote seventeen plays on the themes of cooperation and dialogue in industrial relations, politics or personal life, most of them perceived as both extremely didactic and anti-communist.

After Buchman's death in 1961, Howard took his place as the chosen successor to leadership of the worldwide MRA movement. In this work Howard himself traveled extensively. He died of viral pneumonia in Lima, Peru, in February 1965.

Howard married 1932 Wimbledon ladies doubles champion Doris Metaxa and they had three children: Anne, Anthony, and The Times journalist Philip Howard (died October 5 2014, aged 80). Doë (Doris) Metaxa Howard was born in Greece on 12 June 1911, but she was raised in Marseilles and represented France at Wimbledon; she died on 7 September 2007, aged 96.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. pp. p12:6. ISBN 0-460-07003-7. 
  2. ^ The Author's and Writer's Who's Who (4th ed, 1960)
  3. ^ Griffiths, page 1:25
  4. ^ "Building trust across the world's divides". Initiatives of Change. Retrieved 2011-06-25. 
  5. ^ "Caux: A Home for the World". Initiatives of Change. Retrieved 2011-06-25. 
  6. ^ Wolrige Gordon, Anne (1969). Peter Howard Life & Letters. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. pp. 156:160. ISBN 0-340-10840-1.