Stephen Ward

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Stephen Ward
Stephen Ward.jpg
BornStephen Thomas Ward
(1912-10-19)19 October 1912
Lemsford, Hertfordshire, England
Died3 August 1963(1963-08-03) (aged 50)
Chelsea, London, England
Cause of death
Barbiturate poisoning
Resting place
Cremated
NationalityEnglish
EducationHighgate School
Canford School
Alma materKirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery
OccupationOsteopathic physician, artist
Known forCentral figure in the Profumo affair
Spouse(s)Patricia Mary Baines (m. 1949–49)
 
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Stephen Ward
Stephen Ward.jpg
BornStephen Thomas Ward
(1912-10-19)19 October 1912
Lemsford, Hertfordshire, England
Died3 August 1963(1963-08-03) (aged 50)
Chelsea, London, England
Cause of death
Barbiturate poisoning
Resting place
Cremated
NationalityEnglish
EducationHighgate School
Canford School
Alma materKirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery
OccupationOsteopathic physician, artist
Known forCentral figure in the Profumo affair
Spouse(s)Patricia Mary Baines (m. 1949–49)

Stephen Thomas Ward (19 October 1912 – 3 August 1963) was an English osteopathic physician who became notorious as one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair, a British public scandal which profoundly affected the ruling Conservative government.

Ward introduced the married British cabinet minister and MP John Profumo to a showgirl named Christine Keeler at a house party hosted at Lord Astor's country home, Cliveden, in the summer of 1961. Profumo's subsequent sexual relationship with Keeler and his false statement to the House of Commons regarding its nature led to Profumo's resignation.

Following the Profumo scandal, Ward was charged with living off the profits of prostitution ("immoral earnings"). It was publicly reported that Ward committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping tablets on the last day of the trial. However, recently published research and interviews from MI5 & MI6 intelligence officers who worked with Ward have stated he was murdered to ensure his silence.[1][2] [3] [4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Lemsford, Hertfordshire, Ward was the son of Arthur Evelyn Ward, later a prebendary of Exeter Cathedral. His mother's sister was the mother of Wilfred Thesiger. He was educated at Highgate School in London. In 1920 the family moved to Torquay when Ward's father became Vicar of St. Matthias.

Ward was sent as a boarder at Canford School, a public school in Dorset. He recalled being made a scapegoat for a serious assault on a fellow boarder, which a master later admitted Ward had clearly not been responsible for. This experience marked the young man. His father wanted him to go to university but at 17 he moved to London instead, finding work as a carpet salesman in Houndsditch. In 1929 he moved to Hamburg and was employed as a translator in the German branch of Shell.

In 1932 Ward returned to London where he sold chests of Indian tea and subscriptions to The Spectator magazine. However, in 1934 he was persuaded by his mother to study at the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery in Missouri. Journalist Phillip Knightley has claimed that "Ward helped deliver babies at remote farms, did surgery on kitchen tables, set bones broken during tornadoes and gave typhoid shots after floods devastated the area around the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers."

Ward was greatly impressed by the United States. He later commented: "I loved America and Americans, a warm-hearted, open and dynamic people. Their kindness and hospitality made me feel ashamed of the standoffish way the British treat people".

Career[edit]

In 1940, Ward set up as an osteopath in Torquay. The following year he volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) but was rejected as they did not recognise his American qualifications. He therefore joined the Royal Armoured Corps at Bovington. Ward was soon treating officers for muscle injuries and back trouble, until the actual RAMC Medical Officer lodged a complaint. Ward was court-martialled and berated the Army for failing to recognise Osteopathy. The Army appeased him by commissioning him as an officer ‘stretcher bearer’ in the RAMC.

In March 1944 Captain Ward was posted to India. Later that year he treated Gandhi for headaches and a stiff neck. Ward was impressed with Gandhi: "Although much of his policy was opposed to that of my own country. I knew that when I was with him I was in the presence of greatness, and my encounter with him was certainly the most important meeting of my life".

After the Second World War, Ward worked for the Osteopathic Association Clinic in Dorset Square. His first private patient was Averell Harriman, after taking a call at the clinic that asked for the best 'Osteopath in London': Ward replied without hesitation, "that would be Stephen Ward". It was not long before other people such as Winston Churchill, Duncan Sandys, Feliks Topolski, Ava Gardner, Mary Martin and Mel Ferrer became his patients. This enabled him to set up his own clinic in Cavendish Square, on the fringe of Harley Street.

Over the next few years he gained several other patients. These included Lord Astor, who allowed him the use of a cottage on his Cliveden Estate. Other friends included Daily Telegraph editor Colin Coote, MI5 head Roger Hollis, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures Anthony Blunt, Conservative MP Geoffrey Nicholson, infamous slumlord Peter Rachman, and the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Ward used his social skills and his job as an osteopath to meet a number of rich and powerful members of society. During the late 1940s, he frequented the notorious Thursday Club with a group of hard-drinking friends from top London society, including Prince Philip, the Marquess of Milford Haven and photographers Antony Beauchamp and Baron Nahum.[5]

Ward was also an amateur portrait painter. He had members of the Royal Family and politicians sit for him, including the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Earl of Snowdon.

Personal life[edit]

Marriage[edit]

On 27 July 1949, Ward married Patricia Mary Baines, a fashion model, at Marylebone Register Office. The marriage ended after six weeks and Baines moved out of Ward's flat at Cavendish Square.[6]

Associations with young women[edit]

Ward was attracted to pretty young women from lower-income backgrounds. At his trial he stated that he liked "pretty girls" and he claimed that he was "...sensitive to their needs and the stresses of modern living". Ward introduced these attractive young women to the rich and famous, aristocratic, charming and powerful men from the British establishment of the 1950s and early 60s. Ward had a series of girlfriends that included Eunice Bailey, the Christian Dior model in the 1950s, Margaret Brown and Vickie Martin (who was killed in a car crash in 1955).

In her autobiography Dors by Diana, the actress Diana Dors mentioned the filming of the 1951 comedy Lady Godiva Rides Again, in which she starred. During filming in Folkestone in Kent, Dors met Jane Hart, a young starlet who had a small part in the film. Dors wrote that Jane Hart's boyfriend then was Stephen Ward. Dors did not take to him when she met him during filming, describing him as the "slick society doctor among the jet set".

Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK (in 1955), had a walk-on part in the same film. It is claimed that Ruth Ellis was being run by Stephen Ward, a decade before his name became public in the Profumo affair.[5]

Profumo affair[edit]

One of Ward's protégées, a showgirl named Christine Keeler, moved into Ward’s Wimpole Mews flat, and had a platonic relationship with Ward. Ward also lived with a young woman named Mandy Rice-Davies, to whom Ward at one time proposed marriage. In July 1961 Ward held a pool party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Viscount Astor. At the party Ward introduced Keeler to John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War. Profumo began having sexual relations with Keeler, unaware that she might also have been having sexual relations with Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attaché at the embassy of the Soviet Union.

Since Ward was cooperating with MI5 to entrap Ivanov, Profumo's affair quickly become known in establishment circles. Rumours about Profumo's relationship with Keeler became public in 1962, precipitated by one of Keeler's former lovers, Johnny Edgecombe, attempting to gain access to Ward's flat where Keeler was staying by shooting at the door on 14 December. Edgecombe was arrested, and Keeler's failure to appear at his trial in March 1963 gave the Press the opportunity they needed to bring the rumours out into the public domain.

After an initial statement of denial to the House of Commons, Profumo was forced to admit that he had lied, and had no alternative but to resign (June 1963) from the government, the Privy Council, and his Parliamentary seat. In the fallout of the Profumo scandal Ward was arrested in June 1963 in Watford and taken to Marylebone Lane police station. He was charged: "That he, being a man, did on diverse dates between January 1961 and 8 June 1963, knowingly live wholly or in part on the earning of prostitution... contrary to... the Sexual Offences Act 1956". Other charges of procuring prostitutes followed, and at Marylebone Magistrate's Court in front of judge Leo Gradwell he was committed for trial at the Old Bailey, beginning on 22 July. Soon after the trial began MI5 denied that Ward had informed them of Profumo's affair.

Some of those involved in the Profumo affair, such as Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, were called as witnesses at the trial. Also giving evidence were prostitutes Ronna Ricardo and Vickie Barrett. In the course of the trial Ricardo withdrew her allegations against Ward of procuring, and Barrett's similar allegations were shown by the defence to be specious.[7] Following a harsh attack on his character in the closing speech of the prosecuting counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, Ward took an overdose of sleeping tablets on the night before the last day of the trial.[8] and was found in a coma the next morning. Since there were no further instructions required to be given by the defendant to his own counsel, the judge ruled that the trial would proceed in the defendant's absence, and after summing up, he sent the jury to deliberate.

Thomas Critchley was the secretary to Lord Denning who reported on the Profumo affair. His diary described ward as "Osteopath, artist, demon, socialite, pervert - and now anxiously waiting his trial at the Old Bailey".[9]

Death[edit]

Ward was still in a coma on Wednesday 31 July, when the jury reached their verdict of guilty of the charge of living on the immoral earnings of Keeler and Rice-Davies. The charges of procuring (i.e. of being a pimp) were rejected. The trial was then adjourned until such time as Ward might be fit to return to court. Three days later, on Saturday 3 August, Ward died in St Stephen's Hospital in Chelsea, London. On Monday 5 August, the trial was formally closed with no sentence pronounced.[10] In his book on the trial, Ludovic Kennedy considers the guilty verdict to be a miscarriage of justice, and points out that Keeler received more money from Ward than he did from her, so that rather than Ward living on her earnings, she was living on his.[7]

On 9 August, a coroner's jury ruled Ward's death a suicide by barbiturate poisoning. According to reports, Ward left several notes, one of which read, "I'm sorry to disappoint the vulture [...] I feel the day is lost. The ritual sacrifice is demanded and I cannot face it."[11] That same day, a private memorial was held for Ward at the chapel in St Stephen's Hospital. His remains were cremated at Mortlake Crematorium.[12]

Shortly after Ward's death, a pornographer named Freddie Reid mounted an exhibition of Ward's pictures, which was alleged to include compromising pictures of well-known individuals. However, Reid held a private viewing and sold many of the pictures before they were made public.[13] In her 2001 autobiography, Keeler claimed, without supporting evidence, that the MI5 chief Roger Hollis was a Soviet spy and that Ward ran a spy ring which included Hollis and Sir Anthony Blunt.

In 1987 the book "Honeytrap, The Secret Life of Stephen Ward", written by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril was published explaining their theory of Ward's murder, based on several conversations with members of MI5, including Keith Wagstaffe (Ward’s case-officer). The book confirms that Ward had been involved in an operation that was attempting to persuade Eugene Ivanov to become a double agent. As a result of the 1987 book being published the authors were contacted by a former MI6 officer who claimed that Ward was murdered by a contract agent called Stanley Rytter, whose cover was as a freelance journalist and photographer. Rytter had died in 1984 but Summers and Dorril investigated the allegation and got the story confirmed by one of his associates, Serge Paplinski. The MI6 officer stated "It was decided that Ward had to die.... He (Rytter) admitted that Ward was killed on the instructions of his department. He convinced Ward that he ought to have a good night's sleep and take some sleeping pills. The agent said he let Ward doze off and then woke him again and told him to take his tablets. Another half an hour later or two, he woke Ward again, and told him he'd forgotten to take his sleeping pills. So it went on - till Ward had overdosed. It might sound far-fetched, but it's the easiest thing in the world to do. Once the victim is drowsy he will agree to almost anything." In December 2013, authors Summers and Dorril edited their murder theory, and republished the book titled "The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward".[14][15] [16] [17]

Cultural references[edit]

Ward was played by the actor John Hurt in the 1989 film Scandal, which told the story of the Profumo affair. He is mentioned several times (as "Stephen") in the film's theme song, "Nothing Has Been Proved", written by Pet Shop Boys and sung by Dusty Springfield, which became a Top 20 hit in the UK.

Ward also appears as a character in Anthony Frewin's 1997 novel London Blues, was the basis of John Lawton's character Patrick Fitzpatrick in his 1998 novel A Little White Death. His life was the subject for a music theatre piece That Man Stephen Ward (2006-7) by the British composer Thomas Hyde. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward the Musical, which revolves around the Profumo Affair, opened in the West End at the Aldwych Theatre on 3 December 2013. [18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10488686/The-Profumo-Affair-It-was-decided-that-Stephen-Ward-had-to-die.html
  2. ^ "Sparticus Books". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10488686/The-Profumo-Affair-It-was-decided-that-Stephen-Ward-had-to-die.html. Retrieved 11 December 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Lownie Literary Agency". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Ruth Ellis - My Sister's Secret Life by Muriel Jakubait and Monica Weller
  6. ^ Knightley, Phillip; Kennedy, Caroline (1987). An Affair Of State: The Profumo Case and The Framing Of Stephen Ward. Atheneum. p. 29. ISBN 0-689-11813-9. 
  7. ^ a b Ludovic Kennedy (1964) The Trial of Stephen Ward
  8. ^ Redfern, Nick (2007). Celebrity Secrets: Official Government Files on the Rich and Famous. Pocket Books. p. 226. ISBN 978-1416528661. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  9. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/10065727/The-fall-guy-for-Profumo.html
  10. ^ Ludovic Kennedy (1964) The Trial of Stephen Ward: 227
  11. ^ "Ward Leaves Suicide Note Saying He's Sorry to Disappoint Vultures". Reading Eagle. 4 August 1963. p. 1. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cremation Writes Finis To Dr. Ward's Sordid Career After Suicide Verdict". St. Petersburg Times. 9 August 1936. pp. 3–A. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Meltzer, Albert. "...And Ward". I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels. 
  14. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10488686/The-Profumo-Affair-It-was-decided-that-Stephen-Ward-had-to-die.html
  15. ^ "Sparticus Books". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10488686/The-Profumo-Affair-It-was-decided-that-Stephen-Ward-had-to-die.html. Retrieved 11 December 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Lownie Literary Agency". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "Profumo musical set for West End". belfasttelegraph.co.uk. The Belfast Telegraph. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 

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