Raynes Park photojournalist 'shot at three times' still working at age 84
A retired photojournalist and author who photographed royalty and politicians all over the world is still working at 84.
John Jochimsen, who grew up in Raynes Park and attended Raynes Park County School, has published three works, including his memoirs and a 120-photo-anthology spanning his-fifty-year career.
The charming raconteur rubbed shoulders with prominent figures and photographed countless world leaders during the post-war era.
The anthology features Winston Churchill, US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan, Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, the Shar of Persia and King Hussein of Jordan.
He even shot the photo for Margaret Thatcher’s Christmas card, who, he claims, was a difficult model.
He said: "I have had a very colourful life. There is only a few people that have done what I have done."
The anthology, Through the Lens of a Photojournalist, includes his first assignment photographing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s honeymoon in Kenya.
He was one of the first people to see her as Queen the morning when her father King George VI died, but respecting her wishes, did not take her photo.
His memoirs, 80 Years Gone in a Flash, recount his hair-raising adventures overseas, while working for the Government.
He has been shot at three times, once by Malayan terrorists, again in the Mau Mau uprising and during WW2 by a German aircraft on his way to school.
Describing the time he was caught in cross-fire in the Malayan jungle, he said:"I was out on patrol with the British army when they were ambushed.
"Bullets were buzzing like bees. Not knowing where the bullets were coming from I decided to lay flat on the ground and put my nose in the dirt and tried to make myself as small as possible."
His travels found him living with the Dinka tribe in South Sudan and with the fearsome head-hunting Dyak tribe in Sarawak.
Assignments also took him to Singapore, Malta, Cyprus, Libya, Liberia and Uganda.
Mr Jochimsen, who also worked for the News of the World and whose photographs documented the building of the QE2, has now set his sights at writing fiction.
Having published his first novel, Kings Flight, he is now considering a collection of short stories.
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