Joseph Stone, Baron Stone

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Joseph Ellis Stone, Baron Stone (27 May 1903 – 17 June 1986) was an officer in the British Army, and a doctor, most notably to Harold Wilson.

Born 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]

Career[edit]

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.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died in London, having continued to practice medicine until a few years before his death. He and his wife Beryl 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.[citation needed]

In 2002, Wilson's former press secretary Joe Haines alleged that Stone had plotted to murder Labour politician Marcia Falkender in 1975, purportedly to prevent her from revealing that she and Wilson had had an affair; Falkender has rejected Haines's allegations as "outrageous".[5]

Labour Party politician Bernard Donoughue claimed in a 2011 documentary to have also heard Stone say, "it was in the national interest she be put down."[6] Controversy and unclarity about events during this period were also approached by the BBC 4 drama, The Lavender List. Falkender sued the BBC, and won £75,000 and an agreement by the BBC never to show the documentary drama again.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 45165". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1970. p. 8678. 
  2. ^ "No. 45244". The London Gazette. 4 December 1970. p. 13306. 
  3. ^ "No. 46916". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1976. p. 7824. 
  4. ^ "No. 46945". The London Gazette. 25 June 1976. p. 8867. 
  5. ^ "Harold Wilson's doctor plotted to kill Marcia Falkender". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Behind the Black Door". BBC. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Marcia Falkender sues BBC for libel, bbc.co.uk; accessed 7 September 2016.