Mark Arnold-Forster was born in 1920, and was therefore just old enough to have served throughout the Second World War, first as a merchant seaman and then in the Royal Navy. He spent most of the war in command of motor torpedo boats and of MTB flotillas based at Dover attacking German coastal convoys and minelaying in the continental estuaries. He was awarded the DSO and DSC, was three times mentioned in despatches, and was demobilized as a reserve Lieutenant in 1946. As a newspaperman he was blockaded in Berlin in 1948 and reported on post-war Europe. He was chief editorial writer on the Guardian and continued to write regular leaders for the paper until his death in 1981.