|Cymbalist Mark & Norris|
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Mark and Norris Cymbalist
Mark Cymbalist had been a conscientious objector during World War One. He had helped establish the Invernessbranch of the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) in the summer of 1938, having already become involved in the Communist Party. He ran Marxist educational courses in Invernessfor many years and assisted in the election of Mabel (Mabs) Skinner as a Communist Councillor for the Merkinsh area of Inverness. He was described as “Very knowledgeable and intelligent”.
During the Second World War, Norris Cymbalist was a radar operator, and had served with great courage and distinction. However, he was to end the War as leading member of the famous Far EastRAF Mutiny of January 1946.
By 1945, Cymbalist was stationed in Singapore, where he witnessed first-hand the poor conditions RAF personnel had to tolerate, while their RAF Officers lived in relative luxury with servants.
A series of Communists were prominent in the rebellion, such as Arthur Attwood, Stone, Noble, Jack Roth and Ernie Margetts, who was later a teacher. Ian Taylor, a Scot, was imprisoned in Winchester. Some had been sentenced, albeit never carried out, to a firing squad, some sentenced to ten years in jail, although the most anyone did spend imprisoned was 21 months. During the campaign to release them, a petition was signed by women at RAF Bishopbriggs, demanding the release of Cymbalist, a course emulated by some military units.
In the 1960s, Norris Cymbalist ran poster campaigns in and around Invernessagainst the Vietnam War. He was noted for having placed posters – and painted slogans - in all weathers on the rock faces along the A9.