Friday, December 28, 2007
Born 25th April 1912 at Handcross, Crawley, Sussex. Her father worked at the post office (telephones) and voted Liberal, her mother was a housewife.
Elsie trained as a Registered Nurse and later a Fever Nurse in various London Hospitals, Elsie came to Hayes in 1936.
In 1944 Elsie Joined the Hayes Labour Party, and became Secretary of Belmore Ward and later Constituency Secretary, She was also election agent for at least one Middlesex County Council Elections.
she recalls having to help compile are own Electoral Register in 1945. "many of us toured the streets on Sundays recruiting new labour party members. on one successful day, we made more than thirty new Party members in Ashford and Berwick Avenues". She also recalled the Party organising lots of street corner meetings"
She recalls that the first immigrants to Hayes where "Polish ex servicemen, many with English wives" and attacks by the local Liberals on the new Asian arrivals
Active in Hayes Trades & Southall Council from 1952
1963 - 1964 and Labour councillor on Maggie Broughton was a Labour Councillor on Hayes Urban District Council from Hillingdon Council 1964-1968 (?)
recalled Labour Party activists such as Wilfred Sutcliffe, E.K. Harding, Bill Mongor, Paddy Burke, Bill Lipscombe, Ivor Anthony, Simon Geldberg
Elsie recalled that "The acquisition of the Allied Estate, establishment of meals on wheels in 1948, allotments" were the major achievements of Labour controlled Hayes UDC. "We seemed to be an unusually successful UDC".
also she recalled Labour party or TGWU secretary ? Secretary Dai Jones Coldharbour Lane , Chair:Walter Chubb (Chalfont Road) and recalled Peter Pink, John Mansfield, George Brooks and Frank Foster as "key" local Hayes Communist party members
Regarding the devisions in Hayes Labour Party she stated that " to be honest. I can't remember what principle, was it Clause 4". (ed Think it was EEC. Elsie, rather sadly, followed Neville Sandelson (local Labour MP) into the Social Democratic Party. Elsie had been key in the Hayes Women's Section in securing support for Sandelson having been formerly his voluntary secretary. Having spoken to her in the late 1980's Elsie still recalled fond memories of the Labour Party and its work. with regard to the split "Neville was accused of going back on an undertaking which, it was contended, he had promisedwithdrawl). Unfortunately Neville could not resists countering insults with more insults"
She considered Walter Ayles MP "Not very approachable", Arthur Skeffington MP "Extremely hard working, never walked anywhere...always ran" and Neville Sandelson "Knowledgeable and friendly".
Involved in the Hayes Women's Co-operative Guild and also its Secretary for a number of years.
Active in the Hayes & Harlington Old Peeoplse Welfare Committee for 40 years, being secretary for most, organising Christmas parcels (3,000), outings and redistribution of ECC butter.
Elsie lived at 37, Warley Road, Hayes, later 47 Gledwood Gardens, hayes
Awarded MBE in 1990
Died, Hilligdon 21st March 1997 aged 84
Thursday, December 06, 2007
UXBRIDGE URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL 1946 ELECTION
First Labour majority on Uxbridge UDC April 1946
F.C. W. Glitz (Communist)(Not Elected) 465 votes
Cyril Bond (Communist) (Not Elected) 437 votes
Mrs S.H. Dubberley
W.H. Baker (Not Elected)
H.J. Bailey (Not Elected)
Mrs Bond (Not Elected)
C.J. Gadsden (Not Elected)
F. W. Cater
W. B Hill (Not Elected)
J. Simmonds (Not Elected)
Mrs A.L. Speechley (Not Elected)
G.A. Ward (Not Elected)
A.W. Draper (Not Elected)
C.Penn (Not Elected)
Uxbridge Council Result Labour 14 others 12
Labour Councillor Mrs S.H. Dubberley elected Chairman of Uxbridge Housing Committee (pic October1946) Mrs Dubberley's husband was leader of the National Union of railwaymen locally from the 1920's. Both Mr & Mrs Dubberley were highly rated by Dickie Bond.
Council Chairman Mr L.J. Reynolds
Mr W.G Pomeroy (War time Chairman of the Council) elected top of the poll Hillingdon West
Flight Luitentatnt Frank Beswick was also elcected as Uxbridge first Labour Member of Parliament in 1945 with a 1.084 majority
mr F. W Carter was Uxbridge Divisional Secretary of the Labour Party, Councillor G. Richards Chairman and Mr Robert Goodman Uxbridge Labour Sectretary
Labour majorities recorded at 1946 elections at
Middlesex County Council
Hayes & Harlington UDC
Yiewsley & West Drayton
Labour gains at Ruislip- Northwood UDC (Ind 19 Labour 5) (winning 3 in South Ruislip)
Chairman Ruislip Labour Party Mr C.M. Lewis
At Denham, Buckinghamshire, The Labour Party made its first challenge and four of its seven candidates were elected on to Denham council in 1946
First Labour majority on Uxbridge UDC April 1946
C. W. Glitz (Communist) not elected
C.R. "Dickie" Bond (Communist) not elected
W.H. Baker (Not Elected)
H.J. Bailey (Not Elected)
Mrs Bond (Not Elected)
C.J. Gadsden (Not Elected)
F. W. Cater
Mrs A.L. Speechley (Not Elected)
G.A. Ward (Not Elected)
A.W. Draper (Not Elected)
C.Penn (Not Elected)
Mr W.G Pomeroy (War time Chairman of the Council) elected top of the poll Hillingdon West
Labour majorities recorded at 1946 elections at
Middlesex Countu Council
Hayes & Harlington UDC
Yiewsley & West Drayton
Gains at Ruislip-Northwood UDC (Ind 19 Labour 5)
At Denham Labour made its first challange and four of its seven candidates were elected
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
An address on "The Land and the People" was given on Tuesday at Ickenham Congregational Guild by Mr A. Humphries of the Independent Labour Party (ILP)
The chairman Mr H. Rogers Houchin said
"the land question would become more important than ever after the War, large numbers of young fellows who had had a taste of open air life through joining the army and would never be content again in shops and offices, they would want access to the land".
Buckinghamshire Advertiser 9th April 1915
Early warning signs of the future campaigns to gain access to the Countryside, Kinder Trespass.
Held their annual meeting at the Labour Hall, Hillingdon Heath
Mr G.S. Paget was Chairman
membership was reported as steady, and about 15 members were with the forces
Mr R. Ruttledge NUCO area organiser spoke on unions role in securing the War bonus for the Middlesex County Council.
Officers NUCO Hillingdon are
Chairman Mr G.S. Paget
Secretary: Mr B. Samuel
Branch Comfort Fund Mrs Weeks and Miss K. Fitzgerald
Delegetes to Uxbridge Trades Council were also appointed
Meet at The Crown Hotel, Uxbridge Road, Hayes
need to establish a National Workers War vigilance committee
Chairman Mr A.J. Thomas AEU
Vice Chair Mr Cyril "Dickie" Bond ETU
Secretary Mr J. Golding ETU
Treasurer Mr Slade NUR
Extra Executive members
Mr Powell AE and SD
Mr Wiliam "Bill" .G Mongor ASWM
Mr Jacques AEU informed the meeting that a national shop stewards meeting for enginnering and aircraft trades was being held April 6th and 7th April 1940
Allegations of racketeering in hayes and coal dilivery muddle. it was stated that coal was being sold at 4s per cwt on one Hayes estate
Trades Council meets first Tuesday of the month at the Crown Hotel, Hayes
March 15th 1940
Among the 4,000 Basque children in the “heartbreak ship” which sailed to England from Bilbao nearly three years ago were tow little sisters Francisca and Manuela
Soon after their arrival their parents were reported killed but the two little girls found refuge and parental love in the house of Mr and Mrs Leonard Mayers of 22 Bempton Drive, Ruilip, London who are a childless family.
The children had seen friends and neighbours killed by bombs in the street and at first they could talk of nothing else.
By kindness and patience their new parents helped them forget and they were given English names Peggy and Molly.
Given same Birthday
Although they appeared to be twins Peggy instead she was the elder. So Mrs Mayers fixed their ages a year a part, but gave them the same birthday 1st August
Peggy and Molly were taught by Mr and Mrs Mayers to read, write and speak English. They were taught English sums, later they went to school
They forgot the horrors they had seen in Bilbao, they even forgot they were Spanish To everyone they meet they say they are English
Now aged Eight and seven Peggy and Molly are happy and contented they are popular with their teachers and schoolmates and were invited to four Christmas parties
Mr and Mrs Mayers were preparing to make the adoption legal when the war interrupted proceedings
Dead parents Return
They have not yet been told of the problem which faces the English mother and father to whom they are devoted
For news has just reached Mr and Mrs Mayers that the dead parents have returned to their home and want their daughters back again
The thought of parting with them breaks our hearts said Mrs Mayers they regard us as their real parents and have forgotten they were ever were Spanish they have even forgotten their Spanish tongue
“They are happy as the day is long with us and Peggy has lost a nervous frown she had…..We believe they are better off here in England than they would be in Spain but we would make any sacrifice for their good”
The Uxbridge Advertiser January 12th 1940
Yiewsley and District has developed so greatly in recent years that the number of engineering factory employees has reached the stage when a branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union can be formed.
Known as the Yiewsley & West Drayton branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) it held its inaugural meeting on Friday 20th January 1940 at the De Burgh Hotel meetings will be fortnightly
Brother Mr J. Oliver District president presided over the first meeting he stated that "The union was faced with ever growing responsibilities in 1940 particularly in view of the War situation. New branches meant new development and new officers, who were themselves developing a new and greater influence in the locality
NOTE: Later known as AEUW now Amicus/Unite
Eight local halls have been placed at the disposal of Hayes & Halington Urban District Council for use as refuges for people rendered homeless in the event of air raids
the Halls are
St Jerome's Dawley, Salem Baptist Hayes End, Congregational Hayes Town, St Anselms Church Botwell, Methodist Hayes End, Harlington Parish Church, Harlington Baptist, Botwell House Club Hall
Red Cross Society providing parcels to prisoners of War in German prisons
Mr B. J Adderley 12 Mount Road, Hayes Honorary Secretary
The Hayes Citizens Advice Bureau at Uxbridge Road opened soon after the outbreak of war (circa 1939) has proved to be such a vibrant addition to the services of the town that another branch is soon to open (Jan 1940) at junction of Bourne Avenue/Dawley Road
Some idea of the work that has been carried out at the Uxbridge Road office was given to the Bureau council by Reg Neal, the staff representative on the Council (Jan 1940)
The Hayes bureau is also dealing with letters to persons in enemy countries
The Hayes CAB had dealt with 155 cases since it opened of which 36 related too allowances for soldiers wives
On the question of service men's pay Reg Neal said
Reg Neal was at this point a prominent member of the Labour Party (later joining the Communist Party after serving WW2 in the RAF.
No CAB in Hillingdon today
Hillingdon Legal Resource Centre, based in Hayes
(in the 1980's funded by the GLC)
Pioneering Woman Councillor Slough
February 1940, James Maxton (Socialist MP) and the Mayor of Slough Alderman E.T. Bowyer were witnesses on Saturday 17th February 1940 at the wedding of Miss Ruth Harrison (Socialist/Labour) Slough Councillor,only daughter of Mr & Mrs R.B. Harrison of Farnham Road, Slough and her husband James Stanley Porter, the second son of Mr J. H. Porter of Windsor Road, Slough.
Miss Harrison has made it known that in her public work, she still wants to be known by her maiden name.
It is the first time there has been a Councillor's wedding in the Town
Advertiser & Gazette 23rd February 1940.
Alderman Mrs W. Pomeroy succeeded Labour's Robert John Came as Mayor of the London Borough of Hillingdon
It is the second time Mrs Pomeroy has been Mayor, previously for Uxbridge Urban District Council
Mrs Pomeroy was the second mayor of Hillingdon, the first being the Conservative Alderman Lila Wane in 1968
The new deputy Mayor will be Councillor John Walters, who lives with his wife and six children at Skipton Drive, Hayes
Councillor Ted Harris succeeds party vetran Bert Hann as Hayes & Harlington President.
Mr Harris sees his job as to forge closer ties with the trade union movement particularly in this year of the Greater London council elections.
The GLC candidate for Hayes is Councillor Peter Russell the vice chairman of Hillingdon Council Education Committee.
Ernie Wiltshire and Mrs O. Garvin (wife of former Hillingdon Mayor Ossie Garvin) were both elected as Vice Presidents.
Dudley Targett remains as Constituency Secretary and Stanley Chilton as Party Treasurer
Mick Martin is election agent
Councillor Robert John Came, Labour Mayor of Hillingdon, reported on his visit the three towns the London Borough of Hillingdon are "twinned with"
Mantes la Jolie in France
Shleswig and Emden in Germany
The links with Scleswig seem to have lasted longer with links with the SPD (Socialist) being maintained.
Israel Ellis was the pioneering headmaster at Hayes School for Jewish boys
Mr Ellis had originally in charge of the East London Industrial School for Jewish boys in Lewisham (closed circa 1923 and moved to the LCC Industrial School, Mayford near Woking).
However when the Jewish Industrial school at Hayes was officially opened in February 1901 and Mr Ellis became the first headmaster.
The school introduced a new method of educating delinquent and neglected Jewish children - a high standard of elementary and technical teaching in a free atmosphere being the chief characteristics. Until then it was customary to exploit child labour in the reformatory and industrial schools, in order to eke out the meagre grant made to them.
The average cost of maintaining a child was about £21 per Annam, at Hayes it began at £48 but stabilised at £38 per Annam, the Jewish community finding the necessary money. Today 1929 it is £96 per Annam
Soon after the school opened Mr Ellis organised the athletics side of the school and became Hon ray Secretary of the Home Counties Home Office Schools Association
In 1901 the society of Headmasters and Matrons of Reformatory school was founded and Mr Ellis became its vice president and president for several years.
He was regularly quoted in the Times Educational Supplement
During World War 1 he was chair of the Hayes Tribunal under the Compulsory Service Act , a body which decided who would be called up. He was also Chairman of the Food Committee
His eldest son was an officer in the Royal Engineers Signalling Corps and served in France and Germany.
He served as an "Independent" councillor on Hayes Parish Council and Hayes Urban District Council from 1901, often being the only non Labour councillor on the council, but working closely with the Labour Party on issues such as housing.
Born 14th October 1884 eldest son of Colonel the Hon. Francis Bridgeman
His father had been Member of Parliament for Bolton and ended his military career as Brigadier General.
Reginald Bridgeman was educated at Harrow, but left aged 16 to study languages in France and Germany.
In 1903 he was appointed honary attaché to the British Embassy in Madrid, later he was posted to Paris, later as Private Secretary to Sir Francis Bertie in 1912. Brdgeman as a up and comingdiplomat attended and was involved in the Paris Peace Congress. In July 1918 he was appointed as a Civil Service First Secretary (and a member of Association of Upper Division Civil Servants) .
Bridgeman was posted to Vienna, Austria and would later state he was greatly impressed by the Working Class (Socialist) control of the City, the use of the Imperial Palace and Gardens of Schoenbrunn to house the homeless and feed the starving children of the City. This he recalled "opened his eyes to the practicality of socialism"
Khan in 1921. Later that year the Soviet Bridgeman was then posted to Iran in 1920, and it was here he witnessed the Coup of RezaBridgeman took a controversially position in attending attendingEmbassy's commemoration of the October Revolution.
His attendance was labelled “One of the most shocking episodes in modern history” and Bridgeman was recalled to London (visiting India, and studying illiteracy and poverty rates) on the way back by Lord Curzon, where he was finally pensioned off by the Civil Service in July 1923.
Bridgeman moved to Pinner in 1922, and in 1924 Bridgeman was active in the founding of Pinner Labour Party branch of Hendon Labour Party (and Chairman of Hendon Constituency in March 1927)
Bridgeman's politics were confirmed when in 1923 he married Miss Olwen Elizabeth Jones, of Pinner, West London, the daughter of a Chemist and active in Labour movement.
Bridgeman showed his continued support to the Communist Party by organising annual Sunday Worker Garden parties between 1927 to 1932 at Waxwell Lane, Pinner (Where he had built 14 houses at affordable rent). Sunday worker banners would be tied across the street to the alarm of local Tories.
During the General strike of 1926 Bridgeman was involved with the Wealdstone Trades Council and it's strike bulletin (ref 4 editions at Hull University)
In 1926 he was appointed along with A. M. Wall, Secretary of the London Trades Union Council to be joint Secretary of the British Labour Council for Chinese Freedom and had become active in the formation of the Chinese Information Bureau and “Hands of China” campaigns.
In February 1927 Bridgeman attended the Congress of Oppressed Nationalities in Brussels, (organised by Eili Muzenburg) which resulted in the formation of the League Against Imperialism, Bridgeman becoming Honorary Secretary in 1933
It is probably for his work within the League Against Imperialism that Bridgeman is best known
The LAI was a vital part of the anti colonial struggle, producing numerous publications
Cypriot News (Kypriaka Nea)
It is therefore hardly surprising that Bridgeman was heavily involved in the Meerut trial 1929-1933 of trade union leaders in India including Shaukat Usmani
Bridgeman was selected as the popular Labour candidate to fight the Uxbridge constituency at the 1929 general election.
Threw himself into constituency , cycling everywhere, speaking everywhere and even fly posting
Bridgeman recalled that “The people are naturally conservative and opposed to any change, so that progress is more difficult than one might expect”
Bridgeman stood on a platform of
Shorter Working hours,
2 weeks holiday paid,
Raise school leaving to 16,
Abolition of overseas bases,
Self determination for colonies,
Full diplomatic relations with Soviet Union,
Abolition House of Lords
Bridgeman was also a member of the Pinner General & Municipal Workers Union branch and Southall Labour Club
At the 1929 general election Labour's vote in Uxbridge rose from 8,459 to 16,422 and the Tory vote slashed to a 1,348 majority
In the election of 1929 Bridgeman had been helped by the local Southall Communist Party (ref Hull University records)
When LAI was made a prescribed organisation by the Labour party, because of its links with the Communist party Bridgeman had no choice but to stand as a "Workers Candidate" for Uxbridge
a Southall section of the League against imperialism was established to support Bridgeman.
“Your vote is one weapon, class might be another
Bridgeman was readmitted to the Labour party in 1937 and selected as candidate for Hendon but resigned and was later expelled from the Labour Party for supporting the Communist Party backed "People's Convention" in 1941
During the war he was involved with the establishment of a Yiewsley Communist Party branch. Tragically his eldest son was killed in serve during WW2
Between 1949 and 1951 he was national treasurer of the National Council for Civil Liberties NCCL
While Bridgeman was never a card carrying member of the Communist party he was certainly a "fellow traveller" and was very close to harry Pollitt. Bridgeman himself stated
“Communist influence is gaining ground throughout the world, Social Democracy represented by the ILP, LP, TUC in close co-operation with Federation of British Industries is a waining force, while the masses everywhere are revolting against capitalism”
Died 11th December 1968
Monday, November 12, 2007
R.P. Neal was a popular local teacher at Yeading Junior School. Neal was secretary of the Hayes Left Book Club which he established in October 1937.
Active in local Aid to Spain movement in the late 1930's and based at the Hayes Labour Hall.
He became Chairman of the local ward Labour Party in the late 1930’s.
Reg Neal joined the Communist Party just prior to the start of the war.
During the war he served in the Royal Air Force in North Africa, rising to the rank of Flying Officer.
His prominent role in local campaigns, war record (he campaigned in his RAF uniform) and good looks (according to Joyce Mansfield) contributed to him being the most successful candidate in the local elections of 1946, missing a seat by less than 100 votes.
He was involved in the establishment of Hayes Workers Education Association in 1946.
His appointment in October 1950 to the Headship of Bounds Green School, led to Conservative controlled Middlesex County Council refusing to endorse his appointment, and then imposing a blanket ban on the appointment of Communists
In October 1950, Middlesex County Council Tory dominated Education Committee refused to endorse the appointment of Reg Neal of Yeading Junior School, Hayes to the Headship of Bounds Green School, and then imposed a blanket ban on appointment of Communists Headships in the County.
The leading opponent of the Communists was the Conservative Chairman of the Education Committee, Alderman Archer Hoare, a supporter of the anti-Communist campaigning group, 'Common Cause'
The attack on Reg Neal was a direct result of the activities of the famous Acton CommunistG.C.T Giles was a committed Communist party member and headmaster of Acton County School from 1926 to 1956. He became a member of the Executive of the National Union of Teachers and eventually its national President
Alderman Hoare regularly attacked G.C.T Giles accusing him of Communist indoctrination in the school.
In May 1958 the Uxbridge Advertiser & Gazette reported that the seven year ban on Communist's being appointed head teachers was to be rescinded by the incoming Labour administration at Middlesex County council
At a meeting of the Middlesex County Council Education Committee on Monday 12th May 1958 recommended that the County Council remove the ban.
The resolution was moved by County alderman J. Barrow, Leader of the Labour Group on the Education committee. He stated that Middlesex Countuy Council was the only education authority to the country to apply the ban which served no useful purpose and was condemned by all the teachers associations (unions).
It was reported that for many years teachers in Middlesex had passed resolutions deploring the ban, which was imposed seven years ago at a time when Hayes teacher, known as a communist had been selected for a head teacher post.
The Conservatives opposed, Sir Archer Hoare stating "it would be an error of judgement to remove this resolution which had worked smoothly for seven years"
The teacher was Reg Neal of Yeading Junior School, who was selected for headship of a Wood Green School but owing to the ban Middlesex County was subsequently rescinded the appointment Mr Reg Neal eventually resigned from his post under Middlesex County Council and obtained a headship in Sheffield.
When the resolution to rescind the ban on Communist Party head teachers was moved by Councillor J. Barrow and put to the vote by Alderman (woman) Mrs M.R. Forbes it was carried by 36 votes to 17
Report from Uxbridge Advertiser & Gazette Friday May 16th, 1958
URGENT REQUEST Any further information on this highly regarded, popular teacher and communist most welcome
Alfred Horace Smith
Councillor Alfred Horace Smith was a Labour Councillor (1936?-1960) and Chairman (Mayor) of Hayes Urban District Council in 1950.
He was also Chairman of the Finance Committee, he served on West London Rent Tribunal and was also Deputy Chairman of Rating & Valuation Committee. He retired from these committees aged 75.
He was married to Marion and had three daughters Joyce, Phyllis (who lived in Fiji) and Pamela and they lived at Crowland Avenue, Hayes .
Councillor Smith was a printers reader by trade, a trustee of the Typographical Society (Union) and a Labour Party member for over sixty years.
During World War 1 he served in the Royal Horse Artillery and during World War 11 in the ARP.
He died in Hillingdon Hospital on Monday 11th October 1971.
Councillor Alfred Horace Smith funeral was held at the South West Middlesex Crematorium, Feltham.
It states in Hayes News, Saturday 16th, 1971, that he was a councillor 1956-1960 but this is obviously a mistake.
there is also reference to Alfred Smith being "Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Hayes" also states he was Chairman in 1945 (but can not collaborate this)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Today is remembrance day, a day when we should honour those that fell in the Wars we must also honour those women and men who worked in the Munitions factories of Hayes in both World Wars.
We should also remember the Belgium refugees who lived and worked in Hayes during WW1
Remember the death of L.W. Spencer, Leonald Spencer was founding Secretary of Uxbridge Independent Labour Party and one of the first Uxbridge Labour Councillors. (13 th Kensington Battalion Cyclist Orderly, killed 1st September 1915, he is buried at Longuenesse St Omer)
The local paper noted that "L.W. Spencer's, Regiment took major loses and he underwent terrible ordeal suffering from hunger, thirst, sleepless nights and seven months on constant bombardment, he slept with his motorcycle by his side doing his Christian socialist duty"
(Son of Mr. T. B. Spencer, of 66, Kidmore Rd., Caversham, Reading)
The Palmer Brothers from Hayes (sons of Hayes Labour Party founder and Councillor Henry Palmer) They died fighting in the Canadian Army.
William Alfred Palmer, Eastern Ontario Reg (Killed 26 th April 1916 buried Woods Cemetery, Belgium).
Lieutenant Henry Arthur Palmer, Central Ontario Reg (killed 30th September 1918 buried Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, Nord France)
We should recall the words of Nurse Edith Cavell the night before her execution at 2am on 12th October, 1915
"Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone"
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Heathrow Labour Group 1977
The concept of organising as a political force within industry is not new. Indeed, as was pointed out by Moss Evans at the Hillingdon Labour Conference, there have been moves by the Labour Party in support of this concept during the past two years. Yet, it is regrettably true to say that little has been done in practice.
Although organising support for the Labour Party in industry does involve a great deal of work, as does every other area of potentially fruitful activity, the basic principles involved are relatively easy to grasp and carry out! We all spend a great deal of time at work, be it factory, office or site, and we talk to our friends and colleagues about politics.
We only therefore need an organisational structure provided by a small grouping of currently active Party members to be able to turn vocal sympathy into electoral support and agreement for our views into membership.
At the present time we in the Labour Party tend to leave political agitation to groups on the political extreme left and right, education of our working friends to the T.V. and Newspapers and leave political activity till we get to our own Labour Party General Management Committees (GMC), branches etc.
Yet if we are to succeed in winning over the majority of British workers to our side, and more important, if we are to encourage the reconstruction of British Industry along socialist lines, we must be prepared to play our full part in industrial based political agitation and education
With this in mind Labour Party members and supporters working at Heathrow have now come together to form the Heathrow Labour Group.
With our own paper 'Heathrow Labour News', we hope to be able to give full scope to the organisational principles expressed in 'Organise the Place of Work!'.
We intend to liaise with local Labour Parties as far as possible and with our 'Heathrow Labour News', specially deigned leaflets and visits by local Labour candidates, hope to win support from
least a small part of the 52,000 people who make up the Heathrow working community.
We have set ourselves a target figure 100 new Labour Party members and we urge all readers who work at Heathrow have friends or family at Heathrow, c belong to local Labour Parties with menbers at the airport, to contact us and help us to make this experiment in grass-root political participation a success.
We would be pleased to answer any question which readers may have regarding our work at any time.
David Neller (Twickenham CLP & TGWU British Airways)
Secretary, Heathrow Labour Group,
8 Elleray Road, Teddington, Middlesex.
From Hillingdon Herald November 1977
The Hillingdon Labour Group of Councillors always contained a sizable number of Heathrow employees
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Rise of Paris
By Robert Ballanger
Paris Resistance Fighter & Communist Leader 1945
FOREWORD by Ted Bramley
Secretary, London District Committee, Communist Party.
This is a story that will stir the blood and fire the imagination of every Londoner who reads it. It is the story of the people of
It is a first-hand description of history in the making, told by one of the people who helped to make it—a leader of the Paris Resistance Movement, Robert Ballanger.
A metal worker by trade, not more than 32 years old, the Secretary of the District Committee of the Paris West Communist Party, and member of the Joint Committee of the Communist and Socialist Parties, Ballanger worked -and fought in the front ranks of the people of
We give you this story just as he told it. The facts will speak for themselves. The rich experience, the valuable political lessons will be quickly grasped. Running -like a red thread throughout is the service rendered to the people of
We see how it strove to have Paris transformed into a fortress against the onrushing Germans in 1940; how it raised the banner of resistance in the blackest days; how its best leaders were taken to concentration camps and never faltered, even when hostages were executed; and how it rejected any idea of a truce with the Germans and reached its triumph when all Paris responded to its slogan:
"TO THE BARRICADES—PICK YOUR OWN GERMAN." -
No wonder with the record of such service for and with the people, it should have become the greatest Party in
To the Londoner who reads this story, I say—if this message means anything to you at all, you will want to join the Communist Party in
If you are already a member of the Communist Party, one conclusion above all others you are bound to draw, and that is that you will not want to rest by night or by day until you have gone out among your neighbours, your friends, and your workmates to convince one, two, a dozen or more that their place is with you inside the Communist Party. With 50,000 to 100,000 organised Communists in
This is a translation of the speech given by Robert Ballanger, Fraternal Delegate from the Paris Communist Party to the Congress of the London Communist Party on
It was with great pleasure that the Paris District Committees of the French Communist Party accepted your fraternal invitation. I bring greetings of all the Communists or the Pans region. I am sure that I am interpreting the feelings of every inhabitant of the capital of my country, in bringing to the citizens of your great martyred city the expression of our loyal and sincere friendship.
We are both faced with the same stubborn, cruel and bestial enemy—Hitler Fascism. Ever since 1933 our leader, our great comrade, Maurice Thorez, warned us of this peril and exposed the true face of Hitlerism. With clear foresight, he called upon all men who treasured Justice and liberty to stand together and combat the danger with threatened all free peoples.
Hitlerism was the hope of all the forces of reaction and when in our country, thanks to the wonderful rallying of our people during the memorable days of February, 1934, we checked the French Fascists, they turned towards Hitler, calling on him for help and support, and prepared to surrender, our country
to German Hitlerism. What they could not do to our country by themselves, they hoped to achieve by delivering
From that time onwards, the French Communists have been in the forefront of the struggle to defend our motherland threatened by the Hitlerite Fascists and their accomplices the Fascist Fifth Columnists, the Deats, the Doriots, the Lavals, the Bonnets, the de la Rocques and others.
I need not enumerate the various stages: the refusal to apply sanctions against
At that time, at the very moment when the Hitlerite hordes were advancing on Paris, our Central Committee, hunted by the police, threatened with the guillotine, made concrete proposals for transforming the character of the war, to turn it into a national war for independence and liberty, by freeing the imprisoned militant workers, by immediately arresting the swarms of enemy agents working in the Government and Ministries, and by arming the people to make Paris an impreg-
But these proposals were turned down and
This was a very difficult period for both our countries. We place on record our great appreciation, our admiration, our gratitude for the glorious Red Army which, by its heroism, its sacrifices, its strength, the warlike ardour of the Soviet people,
the military and political genius of their great leader. Marshal Stalin, alone held in check the Hitlerite armies, shattered the might of the proud Wehrmacht, and in three years of gigantic battles, killed or put out of action 9 million Hun soldiers and destroyed 70,000 aeroplanes and 60,000 tanks.
THANKS TO THE SOVIET
Thanks to the Soviet people, thanks to the Russian Bolshevik Party, the backbone of
Today, one single all-essential task faces all peoples, the destruction of Hitlerite Fascism, and this can only be achieved by fighting the war to a victorious and speedy conclusion.
At our Paris District conferences, we examined these problems and studied the best means of mobilising the people of Paris to build up a powerful national Army, to keep our great Paris engineering factories going, to enable our country to play an ever-growing part at the side of our Allies, because we want a strong, united, well-armed French army to march to Berlin alongside our American and English allies.
Yes, we want to fight so that we may restore our country to its rightful place as a great, free and independent nation. We want to fight with all our strength to wipe out that hideous disease called Fascism. We want to smash it in
We have suffered cruelly in this war: our towns, our villages, our factories have been devastated—1,100,000 of our houses have been destroyed You, too, have paid a heavy tribute in this war. The Hitlerite savages have vented their fury on your capital, but the mourning and the ruins, far from having under-mined us have, on the contrary, aroused us to fresh efforts We are absolutely determined to destroy Hitlerite barbarism once and for all. We are prepared to accept still further sacrifices for the complete crushing of
A TERRIBLE HATRED
Yes, we want to fight because we have in our hearts a terrible hatred against the Nazi barbarians who, for four years plunged our country into a blood-bath; we have this-hatred because for four years we have known the really terrible face of Fascism
One must have lived under this dictatorship to realise the crimes which are perpetuated by the Hitlerite soldiery. The tacts are so horrible that they surpass the imagination. I am sure that our comrades in Allied countries who have not known German occupation find it difficult to believe that the tales of the horrible Hitlerite crimes are in fact true.
In fact it: is difficult to believe the widespread massacres of millions of men, women and children in Soviet Russia, in
I want to describe to you some of the terrible crimes committed in our country by these savage beasts.
During the four years of occupation, 150,000 Frenchmen were tortured and shot. Of these 75,000 were from the Paris Region, and of these 60,000 were members of our Party.
A few eye-witness accounts will illustrate the degree of bestial cruelty of these killers far better than general statements.
The underground fighters who fell into the hands of the
the treatment inflicted on our comrades. I wish to insist that what I am going to describe was not exceptional but, on the contrary, it was the general rule of what happened to every patriot, every Communist fighter, who fell into the hands of the quisling police or the Boche.
A comrade was placed on his stomach, his hands and feet chained, then put into presses. His limbs, especially his feet, were completely deformed.
Another had on his buttocks wounds which bled so much that the blood came through his trousers and his back was in the same state. The next morning they took him into another room to recommence the same tortures as those inflicted on the previous day.
BEATEN FOR FIVE HOURS
A young worker at the police station at St. Denis was beaten with truncheons for five consecutive hours by eight police officers until his lung collapsed.
A patriot was tied stark naked to a table for 26 hours while police officers, in relays, beat him up with electrified truncheons.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the forms of torture inflicted. One of the most usual methods was to submerge our comrades first into an ice-cold bath and then into a boiling hot one. Another which was often used consisted in giving electric shocks to the most sensitive parts of the body. Finger-nails and toe-nails were often pulled out and the teeth of prisoners broken.
Very often tortures, which lasted for 8 to 10 days, resulted in the death of those tortured.
"MORROWS OF SONG"
These brutes wanted, by the odious treatment inflicted on our comrades, to force them to give information which would have led to further arrests, but the comrades remained silent.
The most terrible tortures brought nothing to these butchers but the disdainful silence of their victims. Our Party is proud to have given to
But they were not content to torture and shoot patriots active in the struggle: in their unrestrained savagery they massacred entire populations of peaceful citizens such as at Asq, at St. Claude, Oradour sur Glane and many other place which are now no longer villages of France—villages which were once so full of life, of joy and of prosperity, but are now heaps of ruins, horrible slaughter houses.
And these are not isolated cases: scenes equally atrocious took place in tens and hundreds of villages of
Our boys of the Maquis were tortured, and very often before being shot their eyes were gouged out, their limbs broken. The Hitlerite brutes trained strong-arm men recruited by Vichy, the Darnand militia, and criminal police agents, who assisted the Nazi torturers and sometimes attempted to be even more cruel,
showing in this way that Fascism is the most extreme expression of cruelty, of sadism and of the most primitive barbarism.
And it was in these conditions that our struggle took place—a hard struggle, a terrible struggle, a struggle strewn with the corpses of our martyrs. Yes, the French people as a whole have paid a heavy price in the war against Nazism, and it is the sum total of these sacrifices which today enables us to demand our
place as a great power by the side of the other great nations.
It is to the eternal glory of the French Communist Party that it was the first to call for struggle against the Hitlerite invaders within
In July, 1940, in a manifesto signed by Maurice Thorez, and Jaques Duclos, secretaries of our Party, we declared: "
Our hopes for national liberation and social well-being lie in the hands of the common people. Our working class, proud, militant, confident, courageous, will be the mainspring of the Liberation Front for the independence and re-birth of
And so General de Gaulle was not alone when he spoke in
We rejected the cowards and those with a wait-and-see policy. We rejected them because we were determined that our motherland should again become a great, free and independent nation and because we knew that independence cannot be won by passively awaiting help from outside, but that it can only be won in struggle. We are a proud and free people and we intend to remain so.
I should like to say a few words about the main stages of our struggle, the struggle which came to its climax with the magnificent national insurrection and especially with the Great Parisian uprising which enabled the people of
This insurrection was the fruit of four years of incessant struggle and, as our Comrade Benoit Frachon stated in an article in our illegal Humanite:—
" It was first of all necessary for us to reject the false notion that national insurrection would just happen one fine day by order of some committee or other, and until that day came we should sit around doing nothing, on the fallacious pretext of not wasting our forces. Those who defend this conception, which can only result in demoralisation, show a complete lack of understanding of the problems of national insurrection."
From July, 1940, our comrades formed Popular Committees to take the place of the Trade Unions, which had collapsed. These Committees organised the workers and called on them to take strike action for their demands.
It was the Michels, the Timbaults, the Poulmarchs, the Granets, who were later shot at Chateaubriant, who were the organisers of these first movements.
After that, dozens of strikes took place. Thanks to these Strikes hundreds of thousands of hours were lost to Nazi arms production and every day, thanks to this incessant struggle, the fighting capacity of our factory workers developed.
THE FIRST DEMONSTRATIONS
It was in response to our calls to the people that the first mass demonstrations, drawing in all sections of the population, took place in
On July 14 and
The Boches were afraid. They retreated before the people of
Further demonstrations were held on July 14 and
Each year these demonstrations of the people of
They were so many blows struck at the accursed Germans and their
During these four years we called for 'the unity of the whole French nation, for the unity of all patriots without distinction of opinion, because we knew that only by the complete unity of every possible French patriot could our country be saved.
It is to our Party that falls the honour of having formed the first group of Francs-Tireurs and partisans (F.T.P.F.). These F.T.P.F. have written one of the most glorious pages in the history of our country. Cowards shouted: "Stop! If you
continue your attacks against the Germans, French hostages will be shot." These eo-wards hid behind theoretical arguments in an attempt to bring our struggle to an end and to force us to take refuge in passivity, which would have, in fact, meant the final capitulation of
shall be free and independent." And we therefore fought strenuously. At first alone, then little by little the patriots joined us in the struggle, and it, was the first struggles of the F.T.P.F. which led to the formation of the French Forces of the Interior. This vast army, without uniform, made up of patriots of all opinions, conducted the most murderous fight against the Occupation forces under the most difficult conditions.
We fought without arms, because we had no arms. The men of the Trusts who, id their hearts, fear the people, prevented the few arms that were dropped by parachute from getting into the hands of the men who were fighting. They preferred to give them to the cowards,-the " wait-and-seers," who were building up depots for D-Day, depots which regularly fell into the hands of the enemy, while only too often our comrades succumbed because they were unarmed. In our Paris Region specially the struggle was difficult because we never received arms.
The first German officers to be killed were killed with improvised arms. It was with hammers that our courageous fighters struck down the first Nazis, in order to take their revolvers from them. What more striking example can be given of the fighting ardour of the people than the example of our great hero. Colonel Fabien who, in July, 1941, at the head of a group of F.T.P.F., brought down his first German officer and who, three years later, at the head of thousands of fighters,
brought about the capitulation of a proud unit of the Wehrmacht at the Palais du Luxembourg in
Yes, our armed struggle took place under the most difficult conditions, but nevertheless we obtained results. For instance, here is the balance sheet of three weeks of struggle, published in the communique of the Committee of the F.T.P.F. of the Paris Region on May 15 to June 10, 1943:—
1 General, 1, Colonel, ,2 Lieutenants killed.
135 N.C.O.s and soldiers killed or , wounded.
12,000,000 litres of alcohol destroyed. .
2 factories working-for the Boches completely gutted by fire.
2 E-boats, 25 wagons, 2 locomotives, 2 railway tracks destroyed or damaged.
2 German goods trains derailed.
3 Collaborators, 'traitors to
These heroic exploits, chosen from amongst thousands, were carried out in most cases with bombs made with sugar, of chlorate of potash, bits of metal and empty preserving fruit tins.
Do you know that incendiary bombs were made with sulphuric acid and petrol? Do you know that fires were started by comrades using tinder boxes instead of matches; that in factories, at the risk of their lives,
It is for this reason that our people are determined themselves to define their own policy without pressure from any outside source.
And alongside our armed struggle went our mass activity. In the factories the workers organised strikes. A day's strike was so many hours lost for the German war machine. Despite the dangers, despite the risks, despite the shadow of death which fell on them, the French factory workers ingeniously sabotaged their machines and their work.
The women of France also played their part in the struggle by organising demonstrations for their demands, by demonstrating for better rations, and it was this struggle of our people, of the whole of our Paris population, that brought about the conditions which made it possible to call the victorious Paris uprising.
However, it must be realised that all these actions carried out in conditions of the most terrible illegality were not easy. In the Party leadership down to the groups of three, which, as the basic organs of the Party, carried out the Party directives, distributed leaflets and organised the struggle in the Resistance movements, and in the Trade Unions, it was necessary to have a strong, central organisation, a closely knit network of liaison agents, illegal printing presses (on which 2 million pamphlets and leaflets were printed monthly), runners, and houses to use as " hide-outs."
I should like to describe to you the appointments at street corners in the suburbs, the moments of suspense and anguish when your comrade did not arrive because he must have fallen into the hands of the police. How describe those suspicious individuals who turned round as you passed and followed you, and the police agents you tried to shake off? And at home, in one's secret room, every unfamiliar noise aroused suspicion.
Suddenly at in the morning, while you were fast asleep, heavy steps would be heard and loud bangs on the door. Then you had to flee, to attempt to get away whilst firing on the traitorous police, or else to escape through the window.
Every day the life of a militant was an adventure, an adventure which brought so many of us to their deaths. But for every fighter who fell in the struggle, a new fighter came forward, full of courage and determination to carry on the fight. This was possible because we love our Party, because we were full of confidence in our leaders.
The landing of
In the course of July more than 17 big demonstrations were held in
The strike had been called for immediate demands,' but rapidly took on an insurrectionary character. On August 14 the General Strike shook Paris. Most
of the factories were brought-to a standstill because of the lack of electric power. Those that were still working stopped one after another at the summons of the leadership of the illegal C.G.T. On the evening of the 18th, the strike was complete throughout the Paris Region. Meantime, on August 10, the National Military Committee of the F.T.P.F. issued its Order No. 3, which declared:—
“The armoured columns of the triumphant Allied armies are throwing back on
" Now is the decisive hour of battle.
" Francs-Tireurs and Partisans of the Paris Region, make the slogan of General de Gaulle, " Everything for the struggle," the battle-cry of
On August 18 the elected Communist representatives of the Paris Region, in a manifesto posted on the walls of the capital and suburbs, called on the people of
rection against the Boche. And then followed the heroic epic of eight days of struggle, during which the enemy was tracked down and harassed in the various districts of
Col. Roy Tanguy, a young colonel of 32.
THEY WENT MAD
The Boches went mad. Their only wish was to get away after massacring, looting and destroying. They carried out negotiations with men whom history will record as traitors. They concluded an armistice, but our Party, ever vigilant and 'the
guardian of the interests and honour of
Our Humanite launched the slogan "All Paris to the barricades." "Each one pick his own German." "Parisians arise and fight." It was a moving and wonderful sight to see at every crossroad, at every street corner, men and women, young and old, .girls and children, build barricades, rent up streets, bring up everything available and which could be used to erect and reinforce the barricades they had constructed—their own barricades.
For the Hitlerites the end of the battle had come. Tracked down, pursued, trapped in the streets of our capital, the Germans were forced to capitulate. It is impossible for me to describe to you the innumerable acts of courage of the glorious fighters of the people of
was .necessary to wipe out an island of resistance, to destroy a tank which was still firing, to capture a Kommandatur, to force the surrender of German troops, isolated but still holding out in this or that house.
WILD WITH ENTHUSIASM
In this way German blood was freely spilled on the cobbles of
Such was the struggle of the Parisians during the years of German occupation. Our Party is proud of having been in the vanguard of the movement for liberation. Our underground activity was carried on under immense difficulties but despite
police terror, despite the Gestapo, the
THE NATIONAL ARMY
And now today our country is nearly completely liberated. Our Party has now resumed its legal activity. Tens of thousands of workers have joined our ranks, but the military situation remains serious. There are still Germans at
We also want this army to be an army linked to the people, a democratic army, and we therefore appeal to the whole population to become patrons of these fighters. Every soldier must feel himself surrounded with the affection and the solicitude of the whole nation.
For this army we want to provide arms, munitions and equipment. -At present our soldiers lack everything. The workers of
THE MEN OF THE TRUSTS
There are difficulties. The men of the Trusts, the same who from 1940 to 1944 placed the whole of our industry at the service of the Germans, now move might and main to prevent the economic reconstruction of France and to place obstacles in the way of reopening the factories. But we will outplay these
manoeuvres—standing together, workers, technicians, and patriotic employers—we will show the Trusts, which are the enemies of
Such was our struggle.
In the same way as the unity in struggle of the French people brought about the liberation of our motherland, so unity will enable us to rebuild our country.
The Liberation Committees which exist throughout the country already constitute a powerful patriotic united front
Several Resistance organisations have now decided to amalgamate and are moving towards the establishment of a vast united-front for the re-birth of the French nation.
WORKING CLASS UNITY
Finally, a Joint Committee of our Communist Party and the Socialist Party has been formed, and we have the fervent desire that this unity of action, which is so enthusiastically welcomed by the members of our two parties, shall lead to the establishment of a great United Party of the People of France.
Such are our present tasks. They are immense, but we will fulfill them. For us French, as for you British comrades, one urgent, imperative job lies ahead, to defeat Fascism.
All our efforts must be to this end. The Communists of our two countries are the best placed to fulfill this task.
Forward to crush the enemy! Long live the Allies! Long live England! Long live France! Long live the glorious
Maurice Thorez, Communist General Secretary Radio Moscow,August 24, 1944
Honor to the Representatives of Greater Paris who died for France
You didn’t die in vain, glorious martyrs of the French cause, representatives of Greater Paris, imprisoned by the Munichois and the Vichyssois and assassinated by the Hitlerite bandits. In these days of victory, your names are in all hearts, on all lips: Charles Michels, deputy of Paris; Gabriel Péri, deputy of Argenteuil; Carriou, Frot, Gardette, Le Gall, Losserand, munipal councillors of Paris; Pierre Sémard, Auffray, Grandel, General Councillors of the Seine.
You didn’t die in vain, my brave companions: Catelas, Cadras, Rebière, Sampaix, Lampe, Timbault, Granet, Mourre, Dalidet, Pierre Rigault, Guinsburg, Delaune, Moulie, Politzer, Solomon, Decour, Pitard, Gasteur, and a thousand, ten thousand valorous militants, ferocious patriots, organizers and animators of the fight for the liberation of Paris and of France.
You didn’t die in vain, young students, assassinated by the Germans near the Tomb of the your elder, the Unknown Soldier, the evening of November 11,1940. And all of you, men and women, Frenchmen and -women of all parties and all beliefs who shed your blood for the fatherland during those four years of foreign occupation.