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NSW village endures ‘apocalyptic’ fire

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Residents thought they were going to die huddled in their small NSW community’s fire station during an “apocalyptic” bushfire that sounded like a freight train and rained down embers and soot.

The Northern Tablelands village of Torrington, population 81, lost a dozen homes on Friday as the worst fire in living memory engulfed the town.

While some residents fled early on Friday, Linda Birch was among those to take refuge in the town’s metal fire station.

Smoke soon crept under the doors of the shed as embers bombarded the vents.

“It wasn’t a bushfire, it was a firestorm,” she told AAP.

“The ferocity of this storm was that immense that we needed to put masks on within the shed as well.”

Ms Birch admitted she thought she was going to die, describing the situation as “apocalyptic”.

Outside, the volunteer firefighters who were barely able to see a few feet ahead of themselves watered down the shed and hoped it survived.

“The sound was like a freight train, we couldn’t hear ourselves, we couldn’t talk, we just reacted,” Ms Birch said.

“We weren’t sure if anyone survived outside. My husband and Leigh’s husband were outside.”

Jennette Styles said Victorian firefighters managed to save the community hall – “the hub of our village” – but homes dating back to the early 20th century and their contents had been lost.

“Our heritage, our history is just disappearing,” she told AAP.

“It’s an amazing village because we have beautiful people here and we care about each other.

“We pull together, but we need someone to come out and talk to these people who have lost houses.There are people who aren’t insured or don’t own the property or who have lost $85,000 sheds.”

The volunteer firefighters continued fighting the blaze over the weekend, saving Geoff Hilton’s home and shed just in time.

“How close do you want it to be?” he says, looking at scorched earth forming a ring around his shed.

Torrington RFS captain Greg Kneipp and his deputy, his dad Bob, have been battling the blaze since it began two weeks ago, with a few days rest in between.

They were thankful for the support of out-of-town and interstate crews, aerial water bombing and those carting water to the station to fill the trucks.

“This would be the worst fire and I’m 47 years in the RFS. This would be it by far and only because of the dry conditions is it so bad,” Bob Kneipp told AAP.

He said the camaraderie of the fire crew was one of the reasons he stayed in the RFS but has noticed young people are less likely to sign up.

“We’re a big happy family,” he said.

“Even when the strike teams come in … within a couple of days, we know every one of them.”

NSW on Monday declared a state of emergency for seven days as bushfires continued to rage across the state.

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Kyle Sandilands ‘has been dating Tegan Kynaston for MONTHS’, say friends

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Kyle Sandilands’ rumoured relationship with his personal assistant, Tegan Kynaston, has apparently been going on ‘for months’.

At least that’s according to friends of the radio star, who told The Daily Telegraph that Kyle wanted to keep his new romance ‘under wraps’ until after he’d publicly confirmed his break-up with longtime girlfriend Imogen Anthony.

Kyle’s manager, Bruno Bouchet, declined to comment on the latest claims but has previously described the rumours surrounding Tegan and his client as ‘garbage’.

Reports: Kyle Sandilands has been dating his personal assistant, Tegan Kynaston, 'for months', according to friends. Pictured in Sydney on Friday, November 8

Reports: Kyle Sandilands has been dating his personal assistant, Tegan Kynaston, 'for months', according to friends. Pictured in Sydney on Friday, November 8

Reports: Kyle Sandilands has been dating his personal assistant, Tegan Kynaston, ‘for months’, according to friends. Pictured in Sydney on Friday, November 8

Kyle himself briefly addressed the allegations on Tuesday, describing them on his KIIS FM breakfast show as false and ‘hurtful’ to everybody involved.

It comes after Kyle flew to Los Angeles over the weekend accompanied by Tegan.

The 48-year-old was pictured arriving at LAX on Sunday morning, with a source telling Daily Mail Australia he was joined by Tegan on the flight, but the pair left the terminal separately. 

Claims: According to The Daily Telegraph, Kyle wanted to keep his new romance with Tegan (pictured) 'under wraps' until after he'd publicly confirmed his break-up with longtime girlfriend Imogen Anthony

Claims: According to The Daily Telegraph, Kyle wanted to keep his new romance with Tegan (pictured) 'under wraps' until after he'd publicly confirmed his break-up with longtime girlfriend Imogen Anthony

Claims: According to The Daily Telegraph, Kyle wanted to keep his new romance with Tegan (pictured) ‘under wraps’ until after he’d publicly confirmed his break-up with longtime girlfriend Imogen Anthony

Heading overseas: Kyle flew to LA over the weekend accompanied by Tegan, 33, days after announcing his split from Imogen live on air. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

Heading overseas: Kyle flew to LA over the weekend accompanied by Tegan, 33, days after announcing his split from Imogen live on air. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

Heading overseas: Kyle flew to LA over the weekend accompanied by Tegan, 33, days after announcing his split from Imogen live on air. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

Kyle, who is broadcasting live from a home studio this week, looked rather downcast after landing in LA and raced outside for a cigarette following the 16-hour flight from Sydney. 

Tegan was nowhere to be seen, and appeared to be keeping her distance from Kyle.

Meanwhile, the shock jock didn’t look happy as he noticed paparazzi taking photos of him while he waited for his rental car.  

Ciggie break: Kyle looked rather downcast after landing in LA and raced outside for a cigarette following the 16-hour flight from Sydney

Ciggie break: Kyle looked rather downcast after landing in LA and raced outside for a cigarette following the 16-hour flight from Sydney

Ciggie break: Kyle looked rather downcast after landing in LA and raced outside for a cigarette following the 16-hour flight from Sydney

Kyle was joined by Tegan on the flight, but the pair left the terminal separately. Interestingly, he seemed to be carrying her handbag atop his suitcase

Kyle was joined by Tegan on the flight, but the pair left the terminal separately. Interestingly, he seemed to be carrying her handbag atop his suitcase

Kyle was joined by Tegan on the flight, but the pair left the terminal separately. Interestingly, he seemed to be carrying her handbag atop his suitcase

As Kyle landed in Los Angeles, Woman’s Day hit newsstands in Australia with a bombshell report claiming that he and Tegan, 33, are ‘in a relationship’.

The Daily Telegraph published similar claims just hours later. Both articles included quotes by anonymous sources.

However, Kyle’s manager furiously denied the allegations, describing them as ‘garbage’, ‘hurtful’ and ‘fabricated’.  

Staff member: Tegan (right, with a friend) works as Director of Communications for Kyle's company, King Kyle Pty Ltd, and

Staff member: Tegan (right, with a friend) works as Director of Communications for Kyle's company, King Kyle Pty Ltd, and

Staff member: Tegan (right, with a friend) works as Director of Communications for Sandilands’ company, King Kyle Pty Ltd, and was previously the radio host’s personal assistant

‘It’s utterly ridiculous that Woman’s Day would fabricate this report,’ said Mr Bouchet.

‘By now, I doubt most Australians are gullible enough to believe anything Woman’s Day publishes, especially stories based on unnamed “insiders”. As well as the claims being wrong, they’re also incredibly hurtful to everyone involved.

‘If you’d like further proof that this story is garbage – which is highly insulting to garbage – I’d point out that Woman’s Day didn’t reach out to us for comment. I presume this is because they knew they were making things up and didn’t want to the truth to contradict them.’ 

Claims: As Kyle landed in Los Angeles, Woman's Day hit newsstands in Australia with a bombshell report claiming that he and Tegan are 'in a relationship'. The radio star's manager, Bruno Bouchet, has since described the article as 'garbage', 'hurtful' and a 'fabrication'

Claims: As Kyle landed in Los Angeles, Woman's Day hit newsstands in Australia with a bombshell report claiming that he and Tegan are 'in a relationship'. The radio star's manager, Bruno Bouchet, has since described the article as 'garbage', 'hurtful' and a 'fabrication'

Claims: As Kyle landed in Los Angeles, Woman’s Day hit newsstands in Australia with a bombshell report claiming that he and Tegan are ‘in a relationship’. The radio star’s manager, Bruno Bouchet, has since described the article as ‘garbage’, ‘hurtful’ and a ‘fabrication’

Kyle last returned from LA on October 7, after spending several weeks there with Tegan amid the controversy surrounding his Virgin Mary ‘joke’. During that trip, the pair were pictured together having breakfast at a café in West Hollywood. 

Meanwhile, New Idea reported on Monday that Kyle and Imogen’s split was due to his ‘reluctance to make a commitment’ to his girlfriend of eight years. 

‘Imogen has desperately wanted to get married and have kids for quite some time now, but unfortunately Kyle wasn’t ready,’ a source told the publication.

What was Kyle’s Virgin Mary joke? 

On September 18, Kyle offended thousands of listeners – and attracted 150 formal complaints to media watchdog ACMA – by saying the Virgin Mary wasn’t actually a virgin at all.

‘I thought Mary was his [Jesus Christ’s] girlfriend but apparently it was the mother,’ he said.

‘And the mother lied obviously and told everyone, “Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost.” Bulls**t.

‘Someone chock-a-blocked her behind the camel shed… You might believe everything that’s written down 2,000 years ago to be absolutely accurate and good on you, you’re dumb. Dumb as dog s**t.’ 

The segment went unnoticed at the time, but went viral days later when it was shared to KIIS FM’s social media channels.

Kyle unexpectedly announced his split from Imogen, 28, live on The Kyle and Jackie O Show last Tuesday. 

‘A lot of people have been hitting us up on social media, a few phone calls, some media inquiries about my relationship status,’ Kyle told listeners.

‘We [Imogen and I] haven’t been living with each other for quite a few months now. Unfortunately it’s just run its course.’

'Unfortunately it's just run its course': Kyle unexpectedly announced his split from Imogen, 28, live on The Kyle and Jackie O Show last Tuesday. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

'Unfortunately it's just run its course': Kyle unexpectedly announced his split from Imogen, 28, live on The Kyle and Jackie O Show last Tuesday. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

‘Unfortunately it’s just run its course’: Kyle unexpectedly announced his split from Imogen, 28, live on The Kyle and Jackie O Show last Tuesday. Pictured at LAX on Sunday

On Friday, Imogen broke her silence on their split in an emotional video shared to Instagram from the former couple’s $2.9million farm in the Southern Highlands. 

‘We have a lot to deal with separately,’ Imogen said. ‘It’s probably been one of the hardest years of our lives, separately.

‘I’ve got so much family stuff, and there’s so much health stuff involved between us.

‘We just kind of want to… get each other, get ourselves into the best form of ourselves we can be, without kind of just p**ing in each other’s pockets.

‘We still love each other very much, we speak every day. We still see each other, we deal with things with each other.’ 

Imogen, who first met Kyle when she was just 20 years old, is being supported by family and friends at the country estate.  

'It's probably been one of the hardest years of our lives': On Friday, Imogen broke her silence on their split while staying at the former couple's $2.9million farm in the Southern Highlands

'It's probably been one of the hardest years of our lives': On Friday, Imogen broke her silence on their split while staying at the former couple's $2.9million farm in the Southern Highlands

‘It’s probably been one of the hardest years of our lives’: On Friday, Imogen broke her silence on their split while staying at the former couple’s $2.9million farm in the Southern Highlands

'We still love each other very much, we speak every day': Imogen, who first met Kyle when she was just 20 years old, is being supported by family and friends at the country estate

'We still love each other very much, we speak every day': Imogen, who first met Kyle when she was just 20 years old, is being supported by family and friends at the country estate

‘We still love each other very much, we speak every day’: Imogen, who first met Kyle when she was just 20 years old, is being supported by family and friends at the country estate

THE LOVE STORY OF IMOGEN AND KYLE 

2011: Imogen and Kyle meet at the radio star’s 40th birthday party and begin dating

2013: Kyle says he ‘could never be with anyone else’ if something happened to Imogen

2014: The couple attend the ARIAs together, where Kyle says their 20-year age gap ‘means nothing to him’

2015: Kyle gifts Imogen a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for Christmas

2016: Imogen reveals she and Kyle discuss marriage ‘all the time’ and hints at a possible engagement 

2017: Kyle and Imogen move into a $5,000-a-week rented home in Mosman

2018: Kyle spends $3million on a property in Robertson, NSW, where the couple operate a hobby farm

August, 2019: Imogen and Kyle move into an $8million mansion in Hunters Hill, on Sydney’s lower north shore 

November, 2019: Kyle confirms the couple have split after ‘living separately for months’

Imogen had initially brushed off questions about the pair’s break-up when she flew back into Sydney from LA on Wednesday.

She made no mention of her ex and instead told photographers she’d had an ‘amazing flight’. 

Earlier that day, Kyle’s co-host, Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, had spoken to Daily Mail Australia outside her home in Bondi and insisted her colleague was doing ‘fine’.

She refused to provide details about Kyle and Imogen’s split, saying he wished to deal with the matter privately, but assured fans he was ‘okay’. 

Kyle and Imogen began dating in 2011 after meeting at the radio star’s 40th birthday party.

The couple’s relationship seemed nontraditional but harmonious, with Imogen often out partying while Kyle, who rarely drinks, preferred to stay at home.

The eight-year romance had lifted Imogen out of obscurity and into the headlines, as the pair travelled the world and joined forces to campaign for animal rights causes.

The couple spent years bonding over a love of animals and music festivals, regularly jetting to the U.S. for Burning Man and Coachella.

Their annual Halloween party also became a must-attend for Sydney’s celebrities before it was cancelled this year, presumably because of the break-up.

Furthermore, their sex life was regularly discussed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show – sometimes in graphic detail – and Imogen would often share raunchy photos of the pair to Instagram. 

Big weekend? Last Monday, Imogen seemed oblivious to Kyle's impending split announcement when she shared several videos to Instagram which showed her partying with friends, including rapper Brooke Candy, at The Regent Theater in LA

Big weekend? Last Monday, Imogen seemed oblivious to Kyle's impending split announcement when she shared several videos to Instagram which showed her partying with friends, including rapper Brooke Candy, at The Regent Theater in LA

Big weekend? Last Monday, Imogen seemed oblivious to Kyle’s impending split announcement when she shared several videos to Instagram which showed her partying with friends, including rapper Brooke Candy, at The Regent Theater in LA

Kyle’s already-high profile skyrocketed during his relationship with Imogen. In 2019, he was given his own television show, Trial by Kyle, and re-signed with KIIS FM until 2024 for $8million a year.

Meanwhile, Imogen’s modelling career benefited from her association with Kyle, as she landed several Maxim covers and fashion campaigns.

While many expected the pair wouldn’t last due to their 20-year age gap, they always downplayed whatever arguments they had.

Soulmates: Two years after meeting Imogen, Kyle said he 'could never be with anyone else'

Soulmates: Two years after meeting Imogen, Kyle said he 'could never be with anyone else'

Soulmates: Two years after meeting Imogen, Kyle said he ‘could never be with anyone else’

Nightclub owner John Ibrahim, who has been friends with Kyle for years, once recalled the couple’s first ever fight during an appearance on KIIS FM in 2017.

While living across the road, he saw Imogen leap onto Kyle’s car ‘like a cat’ in order to stop him leaving their home after an argument.

‘I hear the garage door opening and I see Kyle reversing his big a** Bentley out the driveway,’ he said.

‘All of a sudden you see Imogen jump on the bonnet, like you would a cat, with Ugg boots on and a singlet. Imogen was screaming, “Where you going, you fat C-word?”‘

He added: ‘She stood up on the bonnet with her arms folded, and you see him drive back into the driveway the garage door comes closing down. I almost died!

‘I rang [Kyle], and I couldn’t talk I was laughing so hard. And he said, “Don’t tell me you saw that?” He said, “She weighs 45 kilos but I’m petrified of her!”‘

Get a room! Their sex life was regularly discussed on The Kyle and Jackie O - sometimes in graphic detail - and Imogen would often share raunchy photos of the pair to Instagram

Get a room! Their sex life was regularly discussed on The Kyle and Jackie O - sometimes in graphic detail - and Imogen would often share raunchy photos of the pair to Instagram

Get a room! Their sex life was regularly discussed on The Kyle and Jackie O – sometimes in graphic detail – and Imogen would often share raunchy photos of the pair to Instagram 

Before their break-up, they had been living together in a mansion in Hunters Hill, Sydney, but a neighbour told Daily Mail Australia last week they had ‘barely seen’ Imogen in recent months.

Despite their wild public personas, both insisted their relationship was based on quiet nights on the couch.

‘Social media has a perception of showing you what you want to see. But for us there is a lot of sitting around doing f**king nothing,’ Imogen said last year.

‘We have quiet nights all the time… that’s all we do is quiet nights, like sitting in front of Netflix where we have shows we watch constantly.’

In the spotlight: Meanwhile, Imogen's modelling career benefited from her association with Kyle, as she landed several Maxim covers and fashion campaigns

In the spotlight: Meanwhile, Imogen's modelling career benefited from her association with Kyle, as she landed several Maxim covers and fashion campaigns

In the spotlight: Meanwhile, Imogen’s modelling career benefited from her association with Kyle, as she landed several Maxim covers and fashion campaigns

Kyle recently told Daily Mail Australia that the secret to his long-term relationship with Imogen was spending as many nights with her as possible.

‘We like to be at the same property,’ he said. ‘We don’t like to spend too much time apart from each other.

‘If I’m having a big week where I’m coming home and going to bed and sleeping five hours and then getting up and going to work again she might go down and ride horses with some of her girlfriends for a couple of days.’

‘We like to try and stay in the same area the whole time,’ he added.

During their relationship, Kyle and Imogen would spend several months of the year living in Beverly Hills, where he owns a $5million mansion.

Months before their split, Imogen revealed the couple had been discussing marriage and children.

Around this time, she also praised their ‘odd kind of love’ on Instagram, writing: ‘You got that odd kinda love that I like. Eight years, still counting and they are still trying to rock this b***h. Come on! Get it together, people.’ 

'We don't like to spend too much time apart from each other': Kyle recently told Daily Mail Australia that the secret to his long-term relationship with Imogen was spending together

'We don't like to spend too much time apart from each other': Kyle recently told Daily Mail Australia that the secret to his long-term relationship with Imogen was spending together

‘We don’t like to spend too much time apart from each other’: Kyle recently told Daily Mail Australia that the secret to his long-term relationship with Imogen was spending together

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Days Of Our Lives releases cast from contracts for ‘hiatus’

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Days Of Our Lives has terminated the contracts of their entire cast, it has been claimed.

On Tuesday TVLine reported that the stars were told not to come back as the soap opera is heading into its hiatus at the end of this month. It is not yet known if the show will be canceled.

The NBC daytime TV show has been struggling in the ratings as talk shows and cable TV has offered stiff competition.

The cast and crew of 'Days of Our Lives', pictured winning the Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmy Awards in 2018, have all been released from their contracts

The cast and crew of 'Days of Our Lives', pictured winning the Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmy Awards in 2018, have all been released from their contracts

The cast and crew of ‘Days of Our Lives’, pictured winning the Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmy Awards in 2018, have all been released from their contracts 

Bye for now? Days Of Our Lives has terminated the contracts of their entire cast, it has been claimed. On Tuesday TVLine reported that the stars were told not to come back as the soap opera is heading into its hiatus at the end of this month (pictured circa 2001)

Bye for now? Days Of Our Lives has terminated the contracts of their entire cast, it has been claimed. On Tuesday TVLine reported that the stars were told not to come back as the soap opera is heading into its hiatus at the end of this month (pictured circa 2001)

Bye for now? Days Of Our Lives has terminated the contracts of their entire cast, it has been claimed. On Tuesday TVLine reported that the stars were told not to come back as the soap opera is heading into its hiatus at the end of this month (pictured circa 2001) 

Sad change: The series began in 1965 and for decades was a big hit and is now NBC's last remaining soap opera

Sad change: The series began in 1965 and for decades was a big hit and is now NBC's last remaining soap opera

Sad change: The series began in 1965 and for decades was a big hit and is now NBC’s last remaining soap opera

The series began in 1965 and for decades was a big hit. It is now NBC’s last remaining soap opera.

The biggest stars of the show are Jennifer Aniston‘s father John Aniston, 86, who plays Victor Kiriakis, Kristian Alfonso as Hope Alice Williams, Nadia Bjorlin as Chloe Lane, Mary Beth Evans as Kayla Brady, and Deidre Hall as Marlena Evans.  

NBC has yet to comment on the move. The network and its parent company Sony are currently deciding what stays and what goes in 2020.

The show is currently in its 55th season. 

Vets: (l-r) Jay Kenneth Johnson as Philip Kiriakis, Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts, John Aniston as Victor Kiriakis (pictured circa 2001)

Vets: (l-r) Jay Kenneth Johnson as Philip Kiriakis, Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts, John Aniston as Victor Kiriakis (pictured circa 2001)

Vets: (l-r) Jay Kenneth Johnson as Philip Kiriakis, Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts, John Aniston as Victor Kiriakis (pictured circa 2001)

With his A-list daughter: John is the father of Emmy winner Jennifer Aniston, seen here in 2012

With his A-list daughter: John is the father of Emmy winner Jennifer Aniston, seen here in 2012

With his A-list daughter: John is the father of Emmy winner Jennifer Aniston, seen here in 2012

A representative for Sony told TVLine ‘the studio is not involved in contract negotiations — that falls to Corday Productions.’

The show films eight months before its air date. That means DOOL has enough episodes to run until the summer of 2020.

The site added that if NBC was to go ahead with the show and not cancel it they would need to start filming again in March.

It was also claimed that if the show is renewed for another season, producers could go back to the cast and ask them to sign new contracts at a lower salary. 

In its heyday: Deidre Hall stars with Drake Hogestyn in a wedding scene from Days of Our Lives circa 2005. Hall plays Dr. Marlena Evans and Hogestyn plays John Black

In its heyday: Deidre Hall stars with Drake Hogestyn in a wedding scene from Days of Our Lives circa 2005. Hall plays Dr. Marlena Evans and Hogestyn plays John Black

In its heyday: Deidre Hall stars with Drake Hogestyn in a wedding scene from Days of Our Lives circa 2005. Hall plays Dr. Marlena Evans and Hogestyn plays John Black

‘It’s actually a shrewd, if cynical, business move,’ one insider said to TVLine. ‘If Days gets picked up, [Corday] can offer the actors new contacts at a reduced rate and with a take-it-or-leave it attitude. Worst case scenario, they lose half their cast. Best case scenario [for Corday], everyone agrees to return at a lower salary.’

The show – the most widely distributed soap opera in the United States – is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Salem.

It follows the lives of the Horton, Brady, Kiriakis, Hernandez and DiMera families.

The series was created by husband-and-wife team Ted Corday and Betty Corday.

All together now: The cast from the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives poses for a group portrait in Los Angeles in 2001

All together now: The cast from the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives poses for a group portrait in Los Angeles in 2001

All together now: The cast from the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives poses for a group portrait in Los Angeles in 2001

Many of the cast members stay with the soap opera for decades. 

Frances Reid, the matriarch of the series’ Horton family, remained with the show from its inception to her death in 2010. 

Suzanne Rogers is the longest-serving member of the program’s current cast having appeared on the show since 1973.

Susan Seaforth Hayes – the second longest-serving actor currently on the program – is the only cast member to appear on Days of Our Lives in all six decades. 

Other daytime soaps that are still going are ABC’s General Hospital, and CBS’ The Young and the Restless and The Bold And the Beautiful. 

The magic trio:  Kristian Alfonso, Greg Meng and Hall pose for a photo during the Days of Our Lives book signing at Barnes and Noble in Dallas in 2015

The magic trio:  Kristian Alfonso, Greg Meng and Hall pose for a photo during the Days of Our Lives book signing at Barnes and Noble in Dallas in 2015

The magic trio:  Kristian Alfonso, Greg Meng and Hall pose for a photo during the Days of Our Lives book signing at Barnes and Noble in Dallas in 2015

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Ex-Chief of Defence Staff and D-Day veteran Lord Bramall dies

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Former head of the British military and D-Day hero Lord Bramall has died aged 95.

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire this afternoon. 

He had landed in Normandy at the age of 21 in charge of a platoon and was wounded twice before fighting his way through Holland towards Berlin, winning the Military Cross, becoming a Knight of the Garter and, eventually, Chief of Defence Staff. 

But the distinguished army officer’s exemplary record was tarnished in his final years by the false abuse allegations of fantasist Carl Beech, known as ‘Nick’.  

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire

The veteran, who was a part of nearly every major UK military campaign from the Second World War until his retirement in 1985, passed away at his home in Crondall, Hampshire

Queen Elizabeth II and Field Marshal Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall, in full ceremonial uniform, attending the VJ 50th anniversary parade on The Mall, London, England, Great Britain, 19 August 1995

Queen Elizabeth II and Field Marshal Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall, in full ceremonial uniform, attending the VJ 50th anniversary parade on The Mall, London, England, Great Britain, 19 August 1995

Queen Elizabeth II and Field Marshal Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall, in full ceremonial uniform, attending the VJ 50th anniversary parade on The Mall, London, England, Great Britain, 19 August 1995

The decorated war veteran had taken part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and was chief of the defence staff in 1982 until 1985. He went on to have a 26-year career in the House of Lords, retiring in 2013.  

Lord Bramall lived at Bulford Manor in Wiltshire during his time as head of the army with his wife Lady Bramall, who died in 2015.

He was one of many to be falsely accused of being part of a murderous Westminster VIP paedophile ring by 51-year-old fantasist Beech.  

Tom Watson, the Labour deputy leader who recently announced his intention to quit, had faced intense criticism in recent months over his role in promoting the false claims of a Westminster paedophile ring made by the fantasist Carl Beech.

Beech’s allegations led to a number of public figures coming under police investigation, including the former home secretary, the late Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, the former head of the armed forces, Lord Bramall, and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Prince Charles (seated, right) chats with General Sir Edwin Bramall during the Prince's visit to Cassino Lines in Hong Kong

Prince Charles (seated, right) chats with General Sir Edwin Bramall during the Prince's visit to Cassino Lines in Hong Kong

Prince Charles (seated, right) chats with General Sir Edwin Bramall during the Prince’s visit to Cassino Lines in Hong Kong

Queen Elizabeth II talks with Field Marshall the Lord Bramall, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland of the Royal Green Jackets and Lady Plastow, the sculptor of the bust of Lord Bramall seen to the right, 2006

Queen Elizabeth II talks with Field Marshall the Lord Bramall, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland of the Royal Green Jackets and Lady Plastow, the sculptor of the bust of Lord Bramall seen to the right, 2006

Queen Elizabeth II talks with Field Marshall the Lord Bramall, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland of the Royal Green Jackets and Lady Plastow, the sculptor of the bust of Lord Bramall seen to the right, 2006

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Avril, who died before his name was cleared

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Avril, who died before his name was cleared

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Avril, who died before his name was cleared

After facing calls to resign he said that he was ‘very, very sorry’ for the way events had turned out, but stopped short of apologising.

Mr Proctor said Mr Watson ‘has done his constituents a great favour’ by stepping down.

On March 4, 2015, police raided the Field-Marshall’s home as part of Operation Midland, and weeks later was interviewed under caution and falsely accused of abuse some 40 years earlier.  

The former soldier, who was chief of the general staff during the Falklands War, was questioned twice over the alleged rape and torture of children, and at one point police even asked his daughter if he could be trusted around his grandchildren. 

Police dropped their probe in 2016, a year after Bramall’s wife Avril had died after suffering from Alzheimer’s. 

Police dropped their probe in 2016, a year after Bramall's wife had died after suffering from Alzheimer's

Police dropped their probe in 2016, a year after Bramall's wife had died after suffering from Alzheimer's

Police dropped their probe in 2016, a year after Bramall’s wife had died after suffering from Alzheimer’s 

In the video of his police interview, Lord Bramall says: 'Please report to your superiors and say there is no evidence, there is no case to answer. Make it clear I am no longer a suspect'

In the video of his police interview, Lord Bramall says: 'Please report to your superiors and say there is no evidence, there is no case to answer. Make it clear I am no longer a suspect'

In the video of his police interview, Lord Bramall says: ‘Please report to your superiors and say there is no evidence, there is no case to answer. Make it clear I am no longer a suspect’

Carl Beech, 51, told detectives he had been passed around parties attended by powerful men, to be sexually abused. He accused Lord Brammall - who later told the detective who interviewed him that he 'obviously believed' Beech

Carl Beech, 51, told detectives he had been passed around parties attended by powerful men, to be sexually abused. He accused Lord Brammall - who later told the detective who interviewed him that he 'obviously believed' Beech

Carl Beech, 51, told detectives he had been passed around parties attended by powerful men, to be sexually abused. He accused Lord Brammall – who later told the detective who interviewed him that he ‘obviously believed’ Beech

In July this year Carl Beech was convicted of perverting the course of justice and jailed for 18 years, and Lord Bramall was compensated by the Met Police.

After his education at Eton College Edwin Noel Westby Bramall was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in May 1943 and took part in the June 1944 Normandy landings.  

He would later become Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Hong Kong and on to Commander-in-Chief of UK Land Forces before his appointment as Chief of Defence Staff in 1982. 

‘I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by Nick’

Lord Bramall made a statement before the trial of Carl Beech – because he was not sure that he would live long enough to see Beech convicted. 

In his statement, Lord Bramall said: ‘Above all what really upset me is this; my record of public service speaks for itself. In service of my Queen and Country I have done all that has been required of me.  I have suffered both physically and emotionally as a result and did so without regret or complaint. I thought I could hurt no more. 

‘I can honestly say however I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by Nick that formed the basis of Operation Midland.’  

He said he was at home with his wife when the Met executed their search warrant on March 4, 2015. 

Lord Bramall said: ‘My wife at that time was bed-bound as she suffered Alzheimer’s Disease. When the police first arrived I genuinely had no idea why they were there and welcomed them with the words “How very nice to see you”.’ 

He added: ‘The police proceeded to search my house resulting in us having to move my wife from room to room in her bed while they searched our home. 

‘My wife continually asked me what was going on and what I had done. It was very difficult to explain to her what was going on due to the paucity of the information I had been given. 

‘It is important that the court is aware that I live in a very small and quiet village. 

‘The Metropolitan Police turning up 20-handed to search someone’s home was bound to attract attention especially when some of those officers went for lunch in the only village pub. 

‘Needless to say the fact of the search and the intervention of the police’s own media department meant I was almost immediately the subject of national press speculation.’  

He wrote: ‘The impact of the allegations was compounded by the Metropolitan Police Service automatically accepting Nick’s totally uncorroborated allegations at their face value and then describing them as ”credible and true”. 

‘One of the considerable effects of giving such weight to Nick’s allegations was to essentially reverse the burden of proof, encouraging the press and wider public to speculate on my guilt. 

‘Nick made these devastating and monstrous allegations against me while protected by a cloak of anonymity. 

‘Meanwhile everything about me from my character, my reputation and record of public service was impugned in the court of public opinion.’ 

He acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police had apologised to him but added: ‘Mud sticks.’ 

The ex-head of the Armed Forces reacted furiously when he was questioned by police over ‘preposterous’ claims made by fantasist Carl Beech that he was a paedophile.

At times, Field Marshal Lord Bramall, then 91, banged on a table as a junior Scotland Yard detective grilled him for 100 minutes over a series of historic child sex claims made by former nurse and school governor Beech.

These included allegations made by Beech that he had spiders tipped over him by his abusers and that Lord Bramall forced him to eat his own vomit after making him perform a sex act.  

When the D-Day hero was asked about sex orgies in swimming pools and whether he could swim, he snapped to Detective Constable Gavin Sealey: ‘I landed at Normandy and I jolly nearly had to swim.’

Police spent 16 months and more than £2 million investigating his claims against Lord Bramall, former PM Edward Heath, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor and various former security services chiefs before closing the inquiry without any arrests or charges.

Lord Bramall had risen to be Chief of the General Staff – the top Army post – and then Chief of the Defence Staff, the officer commanding the combined forces of the Army, Navy and RAF.

Jurors at the trial of Carl Beech were told the war hero was ‘in very poor health’ and unable to attend court and give evidence.

A film showed him being interviewed under caution by DC Sealey. Repeatedly denying ever being involved in child abuse, he told the officer in a series of sharp exchanges: ‘I am absolutely astonished, amazed and bemused.

‘I find it incredible that anybody should believe that someone of my career standing, integrity, should be capable of any of these things, including things like torture. Unbelievable.’

Of the allegations themselves, he said: ‘This thing is so preposterous, it is so very difficult to understand how it could possibly have been made up other than by someone who specialises in sci-fi fiction.’

He became frustrated that Beech had been unable to give specific times and places for when and where he claimed the abuse had happened. DC Sealey said the police had to ‘make allowances’ for that as Beech had been a young boy.

Lord Bramall slapped his hand on the table as he replied: ‘I make no allowances, I will not make any allowance for it, I think it is absolutely monstrous.’

His wife, whom he married in 1949, died before detectives from Operation Midland announced in January 2016 that they were not proceeding with the case against him.

In a second police interview in his home, soon after his wife’s death, he was reduced to pleading with the police to clear his name swiftly. He told them: ‘It is really awful for someone in my position to have had this damage done by what has gone to press and the web net.

‘Please report to your superiors and say there is no evidence, there is no case to answer. Make it clear I am no longer a suspect, no longer under investigation. Otherwise my reputation is still being damaged on Google and that is not fair after my record and at my time of life.

General Sir Edwin Bramall (left), Commander-in-Chief of United Kingdom Land Forces, inspecting guards of honour at a reunion ceremony in Shek Kong

General Sir Edwin Bramall (left), Commander-in-Chief of United Kingdom Land Forces, inspecting guards of honour at a reunion ceremony in Shek Kong

General Sir Edwin Bramall (left), Commander-in-Chief of United Kingdom Land Forces, inspecting guards of honour at a reunion ceremony in Shek Kong

Supportive: Lord Bramall,  with his son Nicolas and wife Avril, who had Alzheimer's

Supportive: Lord Bramall,  with his son Nicolas and wife Avril, who had Alzheimer's

Supportive: Nicolas with his parents Edwin and Avril Bramall — whose lives were broken apart by the false claims

‘I ask you to clear this matter up and take me out of this investigation as soon as you possibly can.

‘It is a very painful experience to have to go through at my age of 91 and having now just lost my wife.’

In that same interview at his home, he asked the police what corroboration there had been for Beech’s claims before they searched the house in March 2015.

Tributes paid to officer whose exemplary record was falsely tarnished in his final years 

Following reports of Lord Bramall’s death today, former defence minister Tobias Ellwood paid tribute on Twitter.

He wrote: ‘An inspirational leader, fellow Green Jacket and mentor who landed on the Normandy beaches, received an MC in Holland a year later, served in our Special Forces, commanded the British Army and then the entire Armed Forces.’

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: ‘I’m very sad indeed to hear of the death of Lord Bramall. I met him recently to apologise personally for the great damage the Metropolitan Police investigation into Carl Beech’s false allegations has had on him and his family.

‘I was struck by his selflessness and generosity in the issues he wanted to discuss, focusing on a desire to ensure the lessons from Operation Midland had been learnt by the Met. It was very humbling to be in his company and hear first hand his experience.

‘He was a great man, a brilliant soldier and leader, and much loved family man. He was a true gentleman and will be hugely missed.

‘In his memory, and on behalf of all those affected by the mistakes we made in Operation Midland, we are committed to continuing to embed the learning from both the reports by Sir Richard Henriques and the Independent Office of Police Conduct.’

Earlier this year Field Marshal Lord Bramall’s son Nicolas said his father had put on ‘a very brave face’, but his level of suffering should not be ‘underestimated’.   

‘Look, I don’t want to make out Dad’s a shrinking violet. He’s not,’ Nicolas said. 

‘I find it mind-boggling the police could have got it so wrong,’ he added. ‘They took the word of a complete fantasist and threw Dad — a man who’s been a wonderful servant to this country — to the wolves without a single piece of evidence.

‘I think this has affected him more the longer it’s gone on. The very fact you’ve been so publicly accused of paedophilia, rape and torture when it’s absolute rubbish is enough to finish anybody, isn’t it? The trial has been particularly hard for him.’

‘Our concern was that this might not be sorted before he dies. It has dragged on and on,’ Nicolas said.  

Lord Bramall was having breakfast with his frail wife Avril, who was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, at his home in Hampshire when police knocked on his door on March 4, 2015.

More than 20 officers in white overalls spent ten hours examining every inch of the house, leaving with an old visitors’ book and copies of two speeches Lord Bramall had made, one to Sandhurst cadets and another about a fellow Army commander.

‘They went behind every picture in the house — every picture. They ripped the place apart,’ Nicolas said. ‘There was a busload of police in white suits. My parents live right in the middle of the village. They weren’t being subtle.

‘Most of the officers went down the pub for lunch and it wasn’t long before the local paper got onto Dad.

‘Hogan-Howe [Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe who was Met Commissioner at the time] actually came down to see Dad twice. He said from very early on he’d never really believed Dad had been involved, but the police were under such pressure, after the Jimmy Savile scandal, to show no-one was above the law.

‘That was the key to this: it doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve achieved, we’ll get them. They were absolutely seduced by the idea that they had a top-level paedophile ring.’

Dwin, the Eton Old Boy who enlisted straight from school took part in D-Day aged 21 and before rising to lead Britain’s Armed Forces

Lord Bramall, as a lieutenant, receiving his Military Cross for gallantry in the field from Field Marshall Montgomery in 1945

Lord Bramall, as a lieutenant, receiving his Military Cross for gallantry in the field from Field Marshall Montgomery in 1945

Lord Bramall, as a lieutenant, receiving his Military Cross for gallantry in the field from Field Marshall Montgomery in 1945

Edwin Noel Westby Bramall was born in Rusthall, Kent, in 1923. His father was an artillery officer in the First World War – and would serve again in World War Two, living off proceeds from his family’s Egyptian cotton business in between. 

Edwin, known as ‘Dwin’ to his friends, attended Elstree School in Hertfordshire and then Eton College, where he excelled in rugby and cricket.

He enlisted in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 60th Rifles aged 18 and was commissioned as an officer in 1943, one year before he would storm Juno beach in the Normandy landings, commanding a motor battalion platoon with half-tracks, providing infantry support for tank regiments. 

He was wounded in the thigh near Caen and was then evacuated back to Britain – and would return to the battlefield five weeks later, the Times reported. 

Bramall was wounded in the shoulder, spent three days in a field hospital and was back in action again.      

He went on to lead a reconnaissance patrol into a mine-laden wooded area and ran into a German outpost on October 20, 1944, where he wounded two Germans, took one prisoner and made seven others flee before coming back with information about German positions.

Bramall would be awarded the Military Cross by Field Marshall Montgomery. 

As the war in Europe came to a close he qualified as a parachutist and spent a year administering occupied Japan – which had surrendered before he saw active service there. 

He turned down a spot at Christ Church College, Oxford, instead opting to joing the Military Operations Directorate at the War Office. 

He met Avril Vernon, the daughter of a brigadier-general, in London, and the pair married in Winchester Cathedral in 1949. The couple had two children – Sara and Nicolas. 

He met Avril Vernon, the daughter of a brigadier-general, in London, and the pair married in Winchester Cathedral in 1949

He met Avril Vernon, the daughter of a brigadier-general, in London, and the pair married in Winchester Cathedral in 1949

He met Avril Vernon, the daughter of a brigadier-general, in London, and the pair married in Winchester Cathedral in 1949

Bramall would pass into the Staff College at Camberley, the youngest man in his year – aged just 29 – in 1952. He was then posted to Egypt and Libya where he would lead a 650-mile expedition across the Great Sand Sea to Kufra and returned to Camberley an instructor. 

He was chosen by then chief of defence staff Lord Mountbatten to merge the army, navy and air force ministries into the single Ministry of Defence, and was awarded an OBE for his efforts. 

He left Whitehall as commander of 2nd Green Jackets for service in Borneo – where Indonesia’s President Sukarno had been ordering attacks into British protectorates of North Borneo and Sarawak – and served two four-month tours in the jungle.

In 1972 he was appointed general officer commanding 1st Armoured Division in West Germany as a major-general. Two years later he would be knighted. 

Bramall was then made commander of British Forces in Hong Kong, and in 1976 returned to Britain where he was made a four-star general and commander-in-chief of UK Land Forces. 

After his promotion to vice-chief of defence staff (personnel and logistics) in 1978, raising the pay of servicemen became one of his top priorities to put a halt to an exodus that threatened British military integrity. 

It did not take long for Bramall to be appointed chief of the general staff – the post he occupied when Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982.  

The invasion was repelled and Bramall was made a field marshal and chief of the defence staff, and would eventually retire from the army in 1985. 

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