Obituaries from the July 2004 issue of the Socialist Standard
Our comrades of the World Socialist Party of the US have informed us of the death of comrade Harry Morrison in his 92nd year. Born in 1912, he came to the US from Canada (as an illegal immigrant) in 1937 where he met and joined the Workers Socialist Party (as our US companion party was then called). After moving to Los Angeles for a while, he finally settled in Boston where he earned a living as a salesman.
For many years Harry Morrison was on the editorial committee of the old Western Socialist for which he wrote the editorials and editorial replies to letters as well as numerous articles under the pen-name of “Harmo”. He was also a member of the WSP’s NAC and its secretary, an outdoor speaker – or “soapboxer”, as the Americans call them – an indoor debater and radio scriptwriter and a broadcaster (the WSP having its own programme on a local Boston station in the 60s and 70s). After health problems caused him to slow down his socialist activity, he wrote some books: one of which, The Socialism of Bernard Shaw, in which of course he showed that G. B. Shaw wasn't a socialist at all, was published in 1989.
Our US comrades have published an appreciation of Harry Morrison's life and socialist activities on their website.
Les Dale, our friend and comrade for many years, died on 22nd May in Newport Hospital on the Isle of Wight, aged 84 years.
He and his wife Queenie joined Ealing Branch in 1952. Les accepted our case after discussion with another comrade (the late Jack Law) during their time on the land together as conscientious objectors during the Second World War. Right from the outset, he became active in the work of the branch, soon excelling at the job of literature secretary. What heady days they were, with rapidly increasing sales of the Standard plus much other literature besides. His experience was put to good use when we worked together on the production committee of the Standard in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Les had a very fine knowledge of horticulture and agriculture and was also well versed in medieval history. With his firm grasp of the materialist conception of history he wrote periodically for the Standard and gave lectures on his favoured topics to various Party branches.
Sadly, his wife died of leukaemia at the early age of 48. It was a bitter blow to all who knew her, but Les showed great courage in carrying on despite his grief. Now that he is also gone, we will miss him greatly but will cherish the memory of his erudition and his keen philosophical wit.
Bob Miller, who died last month aged 67, first joined the old Merseyside Branch of the Party in 1970 after having been active in the National Secular Society, but left the Party for a time after a branch disagreement. When Merseyside Branch revived in the 1980s, Bob rejoined and was a stalwart at meetings and worked hard selling the Standard, most typically at Williamson Square in Liverpool for many years. At one point BBC local radio used recordings of Bob on his pitch there in one of their programmes analysing the distinctive Liverpool ‘scouse’ accent.
For a short while Bob served on the Party’s Executive Committee and took his duties seriously and with a certain degree of dedication. He remained a staunch socialist until the end, the last 15 years or so of his life blighted by unemployment, this being in no small part related to his activities as a militant trade unionist in Merseyside during the 1970s and early 80s.