Cowe Bill

Bill Cowe

Born in 1907, William "Bill" Cowe was a railwayman who joined the Communist Party and was sent to the Lenin School in the Soviet Union. His general stance of questioning all authority earned him the following criticism in his Lenin School report: “strong remnants of petty-bourgeois individualism and traditions of the labour aristocracy”! 

Despite this, he
was first a District Party official in
Lancashire and then became the Glasgow Communist Party Organiser in the late 1930s. He was elected to the Communist Party Central Committee in 1938. By the 1940s he was the Scottish Communist Party organiser. 

He was detained for speaking at a gate meeting in May 1940 outside Babcock & Wilcox in Renfrew, at which the Communist Party held regularly factory gate meetings. This being at the beginning of the war, he was warned by the police not speak at the work gate again.

Cowe served as a full-time Party worker through to the end of the 1960s, latterly once again as City Secretary in Glasgow but he was, for a long period of time, very well-known as the Scottish industrial organiser of the Party.

He remained a life long Communist and died aged 82 in 1989.

Sources: Morning Star July 18th 1989; unpublished autobiography found by Michael Walker