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M - O - M

Bernard Moore

Born in 1907, Bernard was a worker and an intellectual, in the best tradition of his class.  He was a warm, vigorous man, with considerable talent as a writer and a great sense of fun. Unpretentiousness and consideration for others were keynotes of his character.

Bernard was a lifelong Communist who stood up for his beliefs at all times and supported the Soviet Union as the anchor of world peace. 

He ran as Communist municipal candidate in the Market Hall Ward of Birmingham in and was the Party’s “Demonstration Candidate” nominee in 1931 for the Duddeston and Nechells constituency, for which he gained 1.2% of the vote. The Party was using rooms at 115, Bradford Street, Birmingham, during this period, where Bernard could be regularly found.

Bernard kept up a ceaseless round of meetings as the Birmingham leader of the National Unemployed Workers Committee Movement (NUWM) and paid the price of ten months’ hard labour in Winson Green prison in 1932 for his activity on behalf of the unemployed.

He was also very active in the Hope workers’ strike in Smethwick in 1933, being a member of the Central Strike Committee. This concerned the reduction of a weekly wage of £3 12s 11d by eleven shillings.  The product of the labour was highly sensitive weighing scales, used in almost all shops. A normally similarly high paid worker, such as a weaver employed in man-made fibres could earn over £3 a week, of £150 a year. 

Prominent in opposition to Oswald Moseley and the British Blackshirts, he was also a skilled local campaigner. In 1935, Bernard ran a major campaign involving the Communist Party and local Labour Alderman, Jack Hart, to reopen a footpath on the Weoley Castle Housing Estate in Birmingham. (Ted Moore was Weoley Castle Communist Party leader and President of the Co-op Guild at the same time.) The closure of the footpath on Alwood Road caused great inconvenience and hardship to the Estate, which opened three years earlier. There was even talk of a school strike organised by women tenants and the local Allotments Committee was also active.

Bernard was blacklisted by Birmingham employers for most of the Thirties and the search for work took him to Leamington, where he led the trade union movement in the Lockheed works and became a by-word for Communism in the local community. 

The Second World War was both a testing time and a new lease of life for Communists such as Bernard.  For the first time, they – and he - worked to some extent with the establishment instead of against it.   Their activities were recognised and encouraged.  Bernard turned down offers of management jobs and also an appointment in Whitehall, when he impressed a Government Minister who was visiting the factory.  Another small irony was his decoration at Buckingham Palace, during this period of the broad democratic alliance.

When the red flag was flown in the Lockheed works in 1945, it was a token of the new political consciousness of the workers in the factories of Britain.  Like so many Party candidates, in the November 1945 municipal elections, Bernard Moore polled an astonishing 1,196 votes in Leamington West which brought him within an inch of election to the borough council in the most unlikely of towns. 

In the post-war period, his shop-steward activity was later carried over to Coventry at Wickmans in Banner Lane, and the Standard in Canley, where he stayed until his retirement in 1973. 

During the 1950s and early 1960s, Bernard became something of an authority on Party policy regarding automation in industry.

Bernard’s second marriage to fellow Communist shop steward Nancy (Annie T) Gallacher was in 1968. He died in 1980.

Sources: John Moore - Coventry Communist Party Area Newsletter November/December 1980; Daily Worker 30th August 1935; George Barnsby, `Socialism in Birmingham and the Black Country 1850-1939’;