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Here he is with his Amah on the boat home and with Jill his sister in China aged 18 months.

Jeremy was born in Tientsin China in June 1933. He left in 1935 to go back with his family, who left shortly before the Japanese invaded China. He was lucky as many ex patriates were captured and interned.

From 1937 the family moved around the country due to F.W.G North catching TB (probably from China where it was rife) and because of the 1939 war. The family settled in Pinner from 1942 from where Jeremy went to school at Northwood walking 4 miles each way and taking the train daily.  The blitz was in full swing then  followed by V1 doodle bugs and V2 rockets all of which made school and home life quite exciting

Jeremy is back row far right and as a cadet corporal in the CCF below.

In 1946 he went to Clifton College and there followed “some of the happiest days of my life” He embraced sports and extra mural activities becoming a School Prefect, Cadet Under Officer in the CCF, Head of the Drama Society, as well as claiming a rugby cap and winning the sculpture prize three years running. He rowed for his house, captained the house Rugby Team and was a member of the house athletic team. 

On the death of his father at aged 16 he decided not to be a doctor but to go into the army. As the only member of the military upper sixth he came top (and bottom) of every exam so was not intellectually challenged 

He taught for a term in a prep school in Malvern for a year whilst waiting to go into the Army. In 1952 he went to Sandhurst joining Alamein Company. He continued to play Rugby, took part in the lining of the streets outside Westminster Abbey at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and finally passed out as a junior under oficer in 1954 into the Suffolk Regiment 

He said: “I was very lucky to join the Suffolk Regiment, their first battalion had a wonderful record in Malaya where they had collected 9 MC`s and killed 200 bandits, the highest total of any regiment. As the new boy on the block the other officers could have sat on me but they were very kind.

1954 comissioning photo

I joined them in Trieste, where the Italians and the Yugoslavs were argueing about who owned the port. The Italians were rioting from 10am to 4pm but then they would stop and serve you in the local Trattorias..all very civilised”. 

Jeremy in 1954 carrying the old colours off for the last time in front of Princess Margaret. (right hand colour)

From 1954 to 1956 the regiment was in Wuppertal in Germany practising nuclear warfare. He was  Brigade Liaision Officer to 4 Guards Brigade, then Intelligence Officer for the battalion. He played Rugby for the battalion, brigade and division . He admitted to being a bit of a playboy as his grandmother left him too much money when he reached 21. His brigadier said on his confidential report: “North condescends to be in the army at all”.

In 1956 he went to Cyprus as battalion intelligence officer, working with special branch and military intelligence. He had a battered hire car changed once a week by the army, but he was convinced the Greek owners tipped off EOKA (the terrorist organisation) but paid protection money to keep the car from being attacked..thus he was safe! He also drove a white Jaguar XK 120, the only one on the island, a somewhat arrogant gesture of defiance. He refereed the Sergeant versus Officers football match at New Year in this car wearing a united nations helmet...the Sergeants sandbagged up the their goal and the officers used armoured cars.
He was promoted to Captain in the field after only six months as Lieutenant, becoming the youngest captain in the army. He claims no credit for this as the Governor decreed that all intelligence officers must be captains.

Jeremy had to report to the chief of staff once a week which meant time waiting in the secretary`s office and she was a very pretty young girl...Annabelle Alexander and romance blossomed very quickly, with a full regimental wedding in 1957.

Following a clandestine operation working with Lionel Savoury and a group of surrendered terrorists, the hideout of the last remaining active group in the regimental area was pinpointed. Jeremy drove a milk float at 2am back to base to     bring in the battalion who duly captured the entire group. He was awarded a mention in despatches, not just for driving the milk float!

in 1957 he was posted to be adjutant of the Suffolk Regiment training depot at Gibraltar Barracks, Bury St Edmunds. A very social posting: Tennis tea parties, Dinners, Rugby 7 a sides etc. Here two children were born to the marriage, Mary Lou and Simon (Sam). In those days prospective fathers had to sleep in the car he did not see the births

He saw out the National Service Army and the start of the Regular Army. The regiment was rebadged “East Anglian” with formation of 1st East Anglian amalgamating with the Royal Norfolk Regiment.  

He had enjoyed life as a young soldier but felt the Army was not a long term option and he came out at 29 to go into business. 

Right: Jeremy as Adjutant at the Depot

He went into sales and marketing because at that time you did not need a degree. Moving quickly from marketing post to marketing post to get experience he worked with Fisons (Sales Rep). Smith Kline and French (New Products) Boots (first ever Brand Manager) and Lyons Tea Division (New Products manager). During his time at Boots he divorced Annabelle, which he still feels was the most difficult time of his life. His thoughts today: “She was such a fine, unselfish and generous person that I felt dreadful for years. She did nothing to deserve it.”  

He went to America in 1967 and joined IDEA (International Development Expansion and Acquistion) becoming Managing Director in 1968. He married Alexandra Dunne on the rebound which lasted six months. He loved America but the break up of his second marriage unsettled him and he returned to London to start his own marketing consultancy starting off with  his biggest client at IDEA,   W.R.Grace. 

During a cocktail party in 1970 in London he met Dawn. His comments: She looked so thin and unhappy I was moved to ask her out to dinner. She reluctantly agreed and I courted her for a few months with delicious canapes, leaving them on the stairs up to my flat. It worked”. 

They had a hectic but happy life in international business living and working in London, Paris and Marseilles. The constant travel meant it was dificult to keep connected to family and friends, so they took a deep breath and returned to the UK permanently to have children (Natsha and Beccy) in 1977 and 1978. They opened a marginally successful  Bridal Boutique together, then Jeremy became Marketing Director of Meon Villa Holidays in 1979.

Left: Jeremy at his desk at Meon in 1980

He loved Meon and the travel business but by 1985 his third marriage was in trouble and he resigned to be Business Studies Tutor at the Royal College Of Art.

His post at the Royal College of Art lasted for 20 years, partially on salary and partially freelance, and varied from 4 days a week to one day a week plus long holiday breaks so he was able to continue as a marketing consultant for the Travel Business (He started Affinity Marketing Limited as a vehicle for fees). He also ran courses on business skills for designers, worked with the London Enterprise Agency on business start ups and taught at other Design Colleges. His last major project was to launch an Italian mineral water on to market in the UK through Supermarkets.

Before semi retiring in  1997 he took an a major series of projects in Eastern Europe working for the London Enterprise Agency and for Greater London Enterprise. This involved training and consulting Russian small businesses as well as promoting tourism in the mountain regions of Bulgaria.

The last fifteen years have been calmer due to him finding peace with his fourth wife, Nettie Iles. Married in 1993, with his first Grand Child Esme present, he says: “There have been four very happy periods in my life. Clifton, early days in the army, Meon and best of all the last 23 since knowing Nettie”.

He is now the webmaster for Francis Iles Galleries, web master for Brompton Village in its bid for Heritage status and Webmaster for this site. He is printing limited editions for 7 artists including himself and he as two books planned.  One of these is how to get to 80 with your marbles intact!
Right: Jeremy with grand daughter Kitty on his 70th birthday 2003  

All four children, all six grand children and two wives at his 70th birthday party

A message for his 6 grand children with whom he is trying to be more interactive: “I have been a bit of an all rounder, doing a lot of business things quite well and a lot of personal things rather badly. Take the lead from the new President of the United States: Say, yes we can. Then go and do something really special”






Mary Lou





Simon Andrew Mathews















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