You might remember that on The Blitz online wargaming site I had been posing a question in the twenty question competition, in the nature of a 'who am I' query. Finally, after several weeks and sixteen questions (well, seventeen, but I was generous with a whinger) someone finally guessed the answer ... Tom Wintringham. Below is my final post on the thread, with a snapshot bio of this fascinating person.
I am so glad someone could get to this fellow's name. He lived an amazingly full life, of which below I only ramble off some of the more public dimensions.
- An able mechanic/despatch rider in RFC in WWI (served with the baloonatics). Notably, convicted of mutiny and returns to front.
- Founding member of Communist Party of Great Briton, editor (Daily Worker), journalist, (Picture Post, etc). Imprisoned on conviction for sedition in late twenties.
- Core influence in the founding of the International Brigades upon Franco's rebellion in Spain.
- Captain, Machine Gun Company in the British Battalion.
- Acting Commander of the Battalion at Jarama, wounded, hospitalised for two months.
- Return to the front, wounded again, two more months in hospital.
- Convalesce to Britain, anti fascist sympathies have him propagandising to a broad public during Chamberlain's appeasement.
- In the phony war and the dark days, is one of two major voices in public inspiring resistance and preparation (his arch enemy Churchill being the other). Heard by millions.
- Founder and chief instructor (with his old spanish civil war comrades) at Osterley House, in the Irregular Warfare Training course for the Local Defence Volunteers. (5000+ trained here).
- Refuses to join the Home Guard while running Osterley House as the bureaucracy and MI5 move in - eventually closing it down. By this time has left communist party, so joins for a few weeks the Home Guard as an ordinary volunteer before resigning.
- Founds 'Common Purpose' political party in latter stages of the war, party wins seats.
- Dies and buried at Grimsby, some of his books being published well after his passing.
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