Peter Moss, 1929-2024: ‘A giant inspiration to colleagues younger and older’

Former SJA committee member Tom Clarke shares an obituary of Peter Moss, who has died at the age of 95; Jeff Powell, Colin Hart and Peter Jackson also provide their memories of an outstanding sports journalist, who was dedicated to his job; funeral at Kingston Cemetery on morning of July 4…

By Tom Clarke

The Daily Mail sports team celebrates awards in 1985 for Michael McDonnell, Jeff Powell, Neil Wilson and Ian Wooldridge. Back row: sub-editors Alan Bromley and Jim Hopkins, golf correspondent Michael McDonnell, standing tall boxing correspondent and sports news editor Peter Moss, chief sub Ken Willson, racing editor Ewbank Callender, chief football correspondent Jeff Powell. Front row: athletics correspondent Neil Wilson, deputy sports editor Peter Lea, editor David English, sports editor Tom Clarke, columnist Ian Wooldridge.


Peter Moss, for 37 years a star of the Daily Mail’s sport pages, has died at the age of 95.

He was not only the boxing correspondent who covered fights around the globe, he was also sports news editor – and a giant (he was 6ft 5in) inspiration to colleagues younger and older.

Peter was born in Manchester in 1929. As a 16-year-old, he joined the Manchester office of the Daily Mail as a junior office assistant. Following National Service from 1947 to 1949, he returned to the Manchester office for a few months as a sports reporter before being transferred to the Cardiff office in 1950.

It was in Cardiff that he met Enid Thomas, a nurse. They almost literally bumped into each other on a bus to Swansea – Enid to visit her parents, Peter to cover a rugby match. Enid, no more than 5ft tall, was having trouble lifting her luggage into the overhead cubicle. Peter stepped in, placed the luggage aloft, started chatting – and they were married in 1951.

The Mail moved Peter to Fleet Street in 1960, and he and Enid bought a house in Surbiton which was to be their only home until Enid’s death in 2021. It was there that they raised two daughters, Sharon and Judi, and from them, four grandchidren and one great-grandchild.

I came into Peter’s life in 1975, when I joined the Mail from the Evening Standard as sports editor. During my 12 years at the Mail, Peter and Ken Haskell, my deputy (and later Peter Lea), were my principal allies on a great team.

Peter, as sports news editor, acted as a bridge between me and the staff I inherited – veterans like Terry O’Connor and Laurie Pignon and younger talents like Jeff Powell and Peter Jackson, later joined by Neil Wilson and Harry Harris among others.

Sunday with Mossy was our creative time. In those days, there wasn’t nearly as much live sport on Sundays as there is now. Sunday was the day when, round about 12.30, we’d walk from Northcliffe House in Whitefriars Street to Joe Allen’s in Covent Garden and there, over a glass or two of good Bordeaux, we’d explore ideas, find stories beyond the routine and assign them: “That’s one for Ian Wooldridge, that’s one for Brian Scovell…”

Jeff Powell, still starring at the Mail, recalls: “Peter Moss, unsurprisingly for one of his age, was an old school journalist in all the finest elements of that tradition – hard work, scrupulous attention to detail, obsessive dedication, absolute honesty, impartial in judgement, laser eye for a story, master of all facets of the profession and the most loyal of colleagues.

“So consuming was his devotion to the job that he never found time to learn to drive. The chore of ferrying him between home and work fell to his beloved and endlessly charming wife Enid. That continued through his more than a quarter century of retirement, which he explained thus, ‘It was too late to teach this old dog new tricks’.”

Neil Wilson, former athletics correspondent of the Mail, remembers Moss’s exit in 1991 from the paper he had joined in 1954: “Sir David English, the editor, prepared celebratory drinks in his office to mark Peter’s retirement but Mossy wanted none of it. He just put on his coat at the end of his shift and walked out the door, job done.”

Here are a couple of stories about Peter Moss…

From Colin Hart, boxing and athletics correspondent of The Sun from the late 1960s to 2022:

I owed Peter a debt of gratitude I could never repay – a story for the romantics that goes back to 1968. We were covering a European flyweight title fight in Naples between Fernando Atzori and Johnny McCluskey.

On our way to meet an Italian journalist for dinner, we were early and went looking for a bar. We came to a T-junction. I said, ‘Let’s turn right’, Peter said, ‘Let’s turn left’. We couldn’t agree, so he tossed a coin and I lost the toss.

We turned a corner and quickly found the bar we were looking for. Standing at the counter were two American blondes – Cindy and her cousin, who were touring Europe before going on to do a French university course.

The rest as they say is history. You won’t be surprised to learn we took the girls to dinner. I saw Cindy a total of two weeks that summer before she went back to Texas. A year later, I persuaded Cindy to give up her teaching job in Dallas to come to London. We have been married 54 years.

One of Peter’s less lovable traits was that he considered himself an expert on everything. In 1967, we were in Mexico City covering a Howard Winstone fight and our offices asked us to stay on and cover the Mexican Grand Prix – something neither of us knew anything about.

We went to the drivers’ hotel after watching the practice session and threw ourselves at the mercy of Graham Hill and Jim Clark, who was the reigning world champion. They patiently answered all our daft questions. Then Peter decided to tell Clark where he’d gone wrong in practice and suggested how he should approach the chicane on race day.

I couldn’t resist it. I had to tell them Peter had never learned to drive. Completely unperturbed and puffing on one of those dreadful smelling Dutch cigars he loved – and I hated – Peter said through clouds of smoke, ‘What the bloody hell has that got to do with it?’

From Peter Jackson, Daily Mail 1974-2009, last 20 years as rugby correspondent:

Peter Moss, forever frank and fearless in his pursuit of a story, has long held a unique place in the folklore of sports journalism for his scrap with a colossus of Welsh rugby and English cricket, Wilf Wooller.

It happened after stumps in the Glamorgan dressing-room at Cardiff Arms Park during Moss’ stint as the Daily Mail’s man in Wales in the 1950s. Wooller, an intimidating figure who had helped Wales put the All Blacks to flight, ruled Glamorgan with a rod of iron.

Peter Walker, the county’s former England all-rounder, had a ringside seat of what he described as an unprovoked attack by Wooller, then an England Test selector.

‘Peter [Moss] tapped on the dressing-room door and asked Wilf if he could get a quote from one of the Glamorgan batsmen who was experiencing a bad run of form,’ Walker told me.

‘Wilf leapt across the dressing-room and, to our astonishment, grabbed Peter by the throat and wrestled him to the floor. The senior players managed to pull Wilf off.

’Peter could easily have laid a charge of GBH against Wilf but he didn’t. It was a graphic illustration, particularly to the junior members of the team, of what would happen if we crossed the captain.’

A graphic illustration, too, of Moss’ ever-readiness to go where angels feared to tread. Peter, ever ready to fight his corner, swore that he was ahead on points when the senior pros intervened.

Many people helped me along the way but I learnt more from Peter Moss than from anyone.

Peter Moss’s funeral is at Kingston Cemetery and Crematorium, Bonner Hill Road, KT1 3EZ, on July 4 (11.00).

Those with memories of Peter are encouraged to email Tom at

Further reading…

Legendary former Daily Mail boxing correspondent Peter Moss dies aged 95 (Mail Online)

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