The Oldie

Memorial Service:

Nigel Morgan

- James Hughes-onslow

Father Dominic Robinson SJ, parish priest at Farm Street Church in Mayfair, first met Morgan when he (Morgan) was a novice Jesuit aged 33: ‘a larger-thanlife person but a person of great faith.’

Others remembered Morgan as a No. 10 policy adviser with Sir John Hoskyns, a researcher at Margaret Thatcher’s favourite think-tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, a gold prospector in Yukon and Liberia, and officer in the Irish Guards and President of the Union at Durham University.

‘Forty-five years ago at Sandhurst, we were always in trouble,’ said Dai Prichard, an old friend. ‘We nearly got expelled, blowing up the Cranleigh school sign at the Old Boys’ cricket match. He was a man of real contrasts: robust but sensitive; loyal but challengin­g; a good friend and a fearsome enemy... enormous fun and life-enhancing but sometimes depressed.’ Prichard told how Morgan’s cactusfenc­ing business in Johannesbu­rg and security businesses in South Africa and Mozambique went bust.

‘His diamond mine project in the Congo, which he led personally, living in the middle of nowhere, was so successful that the local ministers and chiefs had to poison him with a rare lizard saliva to protect their scams,’ said Prichard. ‘He barely survived, was flown to Jo’burg and put in an induced coma for many days.’

He was also involved, with Simon Mann and Sir Mark Thatcher, in the Wonga Coup in Equatorial Guinea.

In 1974, Morgan challenged the gunman who took pot shots at Princess Anne in the Mall. Prichard suggested Morgan was straight out of George Macdonald Fraser or Evelyn Waugh.

‘He was jailed in Nigeria on some trumped-up charge, having failed to square the judge but luckily he had squared the right general. Nigel threatened the judge, who said “not to intimidate me in my own courtroom”. A squad of armed soldiers burst in, springing Nigel from a well-intimidate­d judge and escorting him to Monrovia Airport.’

The congregati­on adjourned to the Cavalry and Guards Club for tea and cakes and champagne.

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