Skip to comments.BBC journalist Brian Hanrahan, is counted out at the age of 61
Posted on 12/20/2010 9:07:24 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
BBC journalist Brian Hanrahan, is counted out at the age of 61
by Mark Jefferies, Daily Mirror 21/12/2010
HE counted them all out and he counted them all back.
And yesterday friends and colleagues were counting the loss of war reporter Brian Hanrahan as a great bloke.
The BBC stalwart, who made his name in the heat of battle in the Falklands, has died aged 61 after a short illness.
He delivered his famous line about Harrier jump jets during the 1982 conflict to get round restrictions on revealing how many planes had taken part in any particular operation. BBC reporter Kate Adie, 65, spoke of his wonderful way with words as she recalled his epic broadcast.
She said: It was an extraordinary moment. You heard the words and you knew the import and the way he had delivered it and rightly it has gone into history, that phrase.
BBC director general Mark Thompson, 53, said: He was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgment but his personal kindness and humanity also came through. That is why audiences and everyone who knew him here will miss him very much.
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Brian, who leaves a wife and daughter, joined the BBC 40 years ago as a photographic clerk after a politics degree.
He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and his condition deteriorated rapidly after he was admitted to hospital with an infection 10 days ago. During an illustrious career, he covered the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
BBC World News editor Jon Williams described him as a big character.
Last week, as the Harrier was grounded because of defence cuts, Brian texted from his hospital bed to say he was sorry he could not be there to cover the last flight.
Foreign Secretary William Hague paid tribute to Brians professionalism, dedication and unfailing good humour.
Mark Byford, BBC deputy director general and head of journalism, said: He was a beautiful writer, a beautiful man.
If his remark was so frickin famous, how come I don’t remember it?
What was the “remark”?
‘I counted them all out, and I counted them all back,’
That was the line. I think it was admired because it kept the number of jets secret, but gave a sense of the dangerousness of the mission...or something like that.
As the Harriers returned to Hermes without loss, Hanrahan earned his place in Falklands folklore with the line: I counted them all out and I counted them all back.
A rather neat way to get around restrictions.
Probably for the same reason most non-Americans dont remember what American journalists say.
I was living in Europe at the time of the Falklands war and listened to the BBC daily. If the BBC had had their way they would have given too much info the enemy. They complained about being censored and were really against the war.
The sad fact is that the UK could not pull off the same operation today. It was a squeeze then. Without secrecy(such as it was) and the skill of their fighting forces..the war would have been lost.
Without the Harrier..which was able to operate off of converted container ships..as well as the carrier..it would have been lost.
It is a sad, sad day when the you have to spend all your money supporting Muslim’s and layabouts on welfare rather than defending your countries interests.
RIP to another true journalist, a reminder of what the profession used to be.
My dad was in the Royal Air Force in WW2. When he was flying Spitfires out of North Weald, just north of London, my grandparents lived down the road from the airfield. My grandmother used to count the planes in Dad’s squadron, outbound and inbound. He says it drove her plumb near crazy when there was a hole in the formation on the inbound leg, and it was good they were only posted there for a couple of months, or she would have come totally unhinged.
Now he won’t be on Al Jazeera.
There is some strange bit in the British personality that makes some of them want to count ships, trains, and planes. “Spotting” may be all well and good in Britain, but when they travel it gets a lot of them in trouble.
I guess it had to do with the fact that they have had little to count since the fall of the empire.
They sent their almost their entire flight of Sea Harriers-28 in number to the Falklands. Hanrahan’s comment came after about a dozen jets took off on a mission. Imagine what it would have been if a few of them got downed.
What an interesting story. It reminds me of that old song, ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’. Yes, I think counting them out and in has more to do with assuring the safety of the mission than anything else.
On an unrelated note. I recently watched some very old black and white Youtube video of the Baron von Richtoven [sp?] getting into his plane and flying off to look for a dogfight. What struck me about it was the absence of a parachute. I realize they flew low and it wouldn’t have helped, but it was sobering, to realize they knew if they got hit it was most likely over.
The first part yes, the second part no. The war had pretty broad support across the political spectrum in Britain. Even Michael Foot (the hard-left then leader of the Labour Party) made a passionate speech in Parliament to support the Government response. The reporting restrictions, however, were another matter - they were far more onerous than those imposed on the US media during the Vietnam war a few years earlier.
It was famous in Britain.