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Coates WP (Pat)

WP (Pat) Coates

William (Bill) Peyton Coates was born in Kinsale, Ireland, in 1883. He started work on the railways in 1901 and, from 1903 was a member of the Railway Clerks Association and its successor, the Transport Salaries Staffs Association. Early on, he joined the Social Democratic Federation. He was a member of the British Socialist Party, becoming its National Organiser in March 1919, which was a founding body of the British Communist Party.

In September of that year, the National "Hands off Russia" Committee was formed at a conference in Manchester. Coates was then `lent´┐Ż by the BSP to become its secretary. He held this post until the establishment of diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. in 1924 made possible the transformation of the committee into the Anglo-Russian Parliamentary committee of which Coates remained the secretary until his death.

During these 44 years, his energy and resourcefulness became a by-word in the Labour movement. His speakers' notes and bulletins armed activists with fact and references against anti-Soviet attacks. Among his many books, written like all the foregoing in close collaboration with his devoted wife, Zelda Kahan (they celebrated their golden wedding a month before Pat's death and were both life-long Communists) were: `Armed Intervention in Russia" (1935); "World Affairs and the U.S.S.R." (1939); "A History of Anglo-Soviet Relations' Vol. I. (1943), Vol. II (1958); "Six Centuries of Russo-Polish Relations" (1948); "Soviets in Central Asia" (1951)

The outstanding part played by Pat Coates in the sphere of Anglo Soviet relations was internationally recognised; he was 80 when he died on August 8th 1963.

Source: Daily Worker Aug 9th 1963