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Esmond Romilly

August 04, 1996

* Re your obituary of Jessica Mitford, July 24: Her first husband, Esmond Romilly, was labeled only as a "Communist sympathizer." Romilly, a nephew of Winston Churchill, is better described as an ingenuous nonconformist, a gadfly with a talent for self-aggran- dizement--characteristics not alien to his Uncle Winston.

He achieved notoriety in 1934 when he was 15. While a student at Wellington, one of England's most prestigious schools, he urged all public school boys to rebel against the ultraconservative political teachings of the times. He demanded that the schools take a firm stand against the rising tide of fascism, especially the pro-Hitler rhetoric of Sir Oswald Mosley. Romilly was roundly chastised in the press for being a "dangerous Red" and an "agent of Moscow."

An interesting young man, he might well have achieved prominence in the postwar world, but he died along with his crew in 1941 when their bomber went down in the North Sea.

PHILLIP ROCK

Sherman Oaks

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