1 November 1951
Few Fleet Street journalists other than travelling special correspondents can have had a wider range of experience of newspaper offices in different countries than Mr. Leonard Warburton Matters, the London representative of the Hindu, who died yesterday at his home in Much Hadham at the age of 70.
He was born in Adelaide, Australia, and at the age of 13 entered the office of the Perth Daily News as a messenger and became a reporter four years later. At 20 he was its chief Parliamentary correspondent and next occupied the editorial chair. On the outbreak of the South African war he volunteered as a trooper. Thereafter for a number of years he was managing editor of the Buenos Aires Herald. He also had newspaper experience in other South American countries, and Canada. He translated Argentine novels and one of his first essays in authorship was his Mystery of Jack the Ripper, which remains the best known work on the series of London street murders in the autumn of 1888. He brought to this country an established reputation as a trade union leader, and identified himself with the I.L.P. In the 1929 tide of Labour successes he was returned for Kennington, but lost his seat in the ensuing General Election of 1931.
In the following year he had permission from Moscow to travel in Arctic waters and thus gathered material for his Through the Kara Sea. It fell to him to develop and head the representation in London of the Hindu, the Madras daily which maintains the reputation of being perhaps the best of the Indian owned journals based on British models. He had for years taken a keen interest in the Indian Congress movement and in 1932 he was a member of the India League delegation which went to India to investigate Mr. Gandhi's civil disobedience movement and the actions of the then Government in seeking its suppression. The report of the committee was banned both in India and this country. His strong bias to the left did not deflect his many friendships with those who thought differently. He was active in journalistic organizations and for 12 years to 1950 was chairman of the Indian and Eastern Journalists' Association. He was twice married and leaves a widow and daughter.