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John de St. Jorre was born in London. Following military service in Malaya, he graduated from Oxford where he was recruited into the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, and worked in Africa for three years. After resigning, he joined The Observer as a foreign correspondent. He covered the Nigerian-Biafra conflict, 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and the Iranian Revolution. He was also the newspaper’s Paris and New York correspondent.