W. D. Flackes

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W.D. Flackes
Born William David Flackes
(1921-03-14)14 March 1921
Burt, County Donegal, Ireland
Died 1 August 1993(1993-08-01) (aged 72)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Occupation Journalist, broadcaster, author
Known for Political corresponent, BBC (1964–1982)

William David Flackes, OBE (14 March 1921 - 1 August 1993), better known as W. D. Flackes,[1][2][3] was a British journalist, broadcaster and author.[4] He was the BBC Northern Ireland Political Correspondent between 1964 and 1982.[5]

Eric Waugh in The Independent referring to Flackes' reporting of The Troubles said "When it began to come to the boil - in 1966 - Flackes at once displayed before the network audience a notable talent for the simple exposition, balanced yet necessarily brief, of what was a highly complex community problem."[5]

Early life[edit]

Flackes was born in 1921 in the village of Burt, County Donegal in Ireland. Before his career in journalism Flackes worked in the timber business in Belfast and as a telephone installer in Londonderry.


Print Journalism[edit]

When he was 18, Flackes ran a South Antrim weekly newspaper. During the war he held staff jobs on various local newspapers in Northern Ireland. He worked for a number of local newspapers, including the Fermanagh News and the Derry Standard, before he joined the staff of the Belfast News-Letter.

Between 1947 and 1957 he was a parliamentary reporter for the Press Association.[4]

He joined the Belfast Telegraph in 1957, eventually becoming chief leader writer and news editor. He later wrote political commentary for Ulster Television in Belfast.[5]


In fall 1964, Flackes became a political correspondent for the BBC in Belfast. Within a couple of years he would be reporting on the violent conflict involving Northern Ireland's republican and loyalist paramilitaries in what was later to become widely known as The Troubles, the primarily sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland with its historic roots in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

His speaking style, characterized by "staccato articulation" and clipped vowels common in Ulster, informed the audience as the Northern Ireland crisis evolved over the next 16 years.[5] Following his retirement from the BBC in 1982 he was nominated to the board of the Irish national broadcaster, RTÉ, in Dublin, serving until 1991.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Flackes married Mary Dougan in 1950 and had one daughter. He was awarded the OBE in 1981.[4]

He was buried in Lisburn, County Antrim.


He produced biographies of Basil Brooke, the former Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and General Bernard Montgomery. In 1980, he wrote Northern Ireland: a political directory.


  1. ^ "Search BBC for Flackes". 
  2. ^ "Google Books for WD Flackes". Google. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Northern Ireland (Entry to Negotiations, etc) Bill (Hansard, 25 April 1996)". Hansard.millbanksystems.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  4. ^ a b c K-Point Internet Solutions - Warrenpoint, Newry, County Down. "The Dictionary of Ulster Biography". Newulsterbiography.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Eric Waugh (1993-08-06). "Obituary: W. D. Flackes - People - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 

External links[edit]