John Michael Derrick
3 January 1915
|Died||5 August 1961(aged 46)|
|Occupation||editor, journalist, translator|
|The Tablet, Dublin Review, L'Osservatore Romano|
|Relatives||Christopher Derrick (brother)|
|Family||son of Thomas Derrick|
John Michael Derrick (3 January 1915 – 5 August 1961) was the son of the artist, illustrator and cartoonist Thomas Derrick, and older brother of the writer Christopher Derrick. He was a leading figure in Roman Catholic journalism in mid-20th-century England.
Derrick was brought up in rural Berkshire by back-to-the-land parents and attended Douai School, where the headmaster, Dom Ignatius Rice, was a friend of his father. On a holiday in Hungary, not long after beginning his studies at the University of Oxford, Derrick was incapacitated by a severe intestinal infection and spent several years as an invalid. During this period he wrote The Portugal of Salazar (1938), a sympathetic study of the Corporatist regime of António de Oliveira Salazar.
In 1938, at the suggestion of Fr Ignatius, he was taken on as assistant editor of The Tablet. He remained in this position until his early death, throughout the period of the weekly newspaper's greatest prestige. He frequently wrote the editorial "Notebook" column. In 1956 he became editor of the Dublin Review, which was actually published in London and under his editorship was renamed The Wiseman Review to avoid confusion. For a few months before his death he was London correspondent of L'Osservatore Romano. He also wrote pamphlets for the Catholic Truth Society and for Sword of the Spirit, and translated a number of books on Catholic subjects.
Derrick was Chairman of the Challoner Club, and from 1958 Secretary of the Catholic Union of Great Britain. He stood as the Liberal candidate for Reading North in the election of 1950, losing to the Labour candidate.
In 1951 he married Anneliese Burkhardt, and the couple made their home in Petersham. They had two sons.
On 29 July 1961 he fell seriously ill, and he died on 5 August, a few hours after receiving the viaticum.