Sunday, December 6, 2015

Obituary: Charles Kincaid (1988)

Obituary from the December 1988 issue of the Socialist Standard

Charles Kincaid died last month at the age of 85. Despite suffering and considerable pain in his last few weeks, the one subject which he continued to be able to speak about with enthusiasm and lucidity was socialism.

Discovering a copy of the Socialist Standard in the West Ham library in the mid-twenties, he read it through and became a socialist, soon joining the West Ham branch of The Socialist Party. The family suffered extreme poverty during three years of unemployment in the early 1930s, and this situation was hardly improved when he obtained employment at Enfield Rolling Mills in 1934. Much of the journey to [and from] West Ham he often walked, not being able to afford the full fares throughout the week. For all but 2 years of his 34 years in the Rolling Mills he was a shop steward.

In retirement at Milton Keynes he formed a discussion group and followed up a number of promising leads. People showing an interest in the case for socialism were written to and visited, despite difficulties caused by his lack of personal transport in the urban sprawl of the area. He made significant contributions to the local newspapers through their letters columns, developing the case for socialism in lengthy contests with opponents.

One of his most unlikely encounters took place during the Blitz while on nightshift. The Rolling Mills Chairman and Tory MP, John Grimston, turned up and was treated to a discourse on socialism to the accompaniment of bombs and anti-aircraft fire. On subsequent visits, he was challenged by Chas to try his hand at chess.

Those fortunate enough to have known Charles Kincaid will sadly miss his good humour and determination in the struggle for socialism. His example can only inspire us to redouble our efforts to bring about the change he was committed to. We extend our condolences to his son Bill and the rest of the family.

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