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Gerry Bradley (né Gerald Cecil Barathy)
According to the Barathy family, Gerry was born on the 25th April, 1896 at 40 Alridge Villa, Paddington (or, technically, Bayswater in the parish of Fulham). Bradley was to later claim to have been born in 1900 and he certainly does not appear in the January 1896 to June 1898, or any 1900, registrations of births at all (the only ones checked so far), begging the question as to whether he was even registered for birth and how old he actually was. A remarkable absence of actual registered as opposed to censused Barathys can be discerned in the record. Perhaps this had something to do with the insecurities of being born of second generation immigrant background. It is often forgotten that the late 19th century had much of the feel of contemporary Britain in the remarkable level of central and east European immigrants moving around the country.
However, some degree of certitude that Gerald was a toddler in Britain may be relied upon as far as the 1901 census is concerned, when he was cited as being four years old. His sister, Rose Louise was seven, and older brother, Alexander, ten years old. His mother, Mary Rowley, was supposed to have been born in 1862, but she certainly told the census in 1901 that she was then 29 years of age! Born in Widford, Hertfordshire, she was described as a confectioner and tobacconist with her own shop at 340 Lillie Road, Fulham. (It was a good location, in a business sense, for Lillie Road still runs from Fulham Palace Road midway between the Earl’s Court exhibition centre and Chelsea football ground, towards South Kensington.) Her husband, Sidney de Barathy was 23 years old, so she at least openly admitted that she was six years older than her husband at 29 years but was she perhaps as old as 36?
In keeping with Gerry’s entire life of intrigue and adventure, some uncertainty has emerged as to whether his real father was a Wilfred Barathy, or Sidney Alexander de Barathy but the 1901 census has the latter as being the man of the house. This Wilfred was either a conductor of music, or professor of music, or both, and was certainly deceased by 1919, when Gerry married Mildred Curzon on April 29th 1919. The marriage certificate gives his age as 24, Mildred (known as Mary) was 29.
The Barathy connection was always important to the family for a very real sense of history is attached to the name. Gerry’s grandfather, Alexander de Barathy, the originator of the taste for Alexander as a family name, was born in around 1837 and married Kate Apthorpe (born March 1852) in Cambridge. The old man clearly was around when Gerry was little, for he died in Paddington in 1901. Alexander had three children, the first, Henry Cecil (was Gerry second-named Cecil for his uncle?), was born in 1857 in Schonberg, Moravia, who was clearly born to a different wife than Kate and he may have not been. Moravia was still relatively undeveloped at the time of Henry’s birth; the town of Mahrisch-Schonberg still only had a population of 11,636 by 1911.
The family name, normally rendered Baráthy in central Europe (indicating a long `a’) may have two origins. There is the place name, Baráty (a more phonetic spelling for the name), which may be relevant since the addition of `de’ in the French style is suggestive of a noble family owning a village and its surrounding land. As a surname, there were small concentrations in 1891 in two areas of Hungary, then a dual monarchy with Austria in the manner of Scotland and England. There was the more southern area of Bács-Bodrog, which straddles Serbia and Hungary and Komárom on the Danube in north-west Hungary, which might appear as a more likely candidate for the Anglo-Canadian branch of Barthys.
For the boundaries between Slovakish Moravia and Magyar lands constantly changed hands over the centuries and a branch of a noble family from a younger son might easily find itself dispossessed and somehow shunted into `foreign’ territory to the north in seeking new opportunities. This was especially so in the wake of the Napoleonic wars that so unsettled the rule of nobilities across the continent. Either way, all during the 19th century, substantial numbers of Hungarians lived in Moravia and consequently became citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Moravia takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region; it variously called Mähren (German), Morvaország (Hungarian) and Morawy (Polish). This nation has perched on a mountainous plateau that slopes from north to south for a thousand years. A territory with its own history, it is bounded on the east by Hungary, the south by Lower Austria, the west Bohemia and north by both Prussian and Austrian Silesias, with some areas touching the Sudeten ridges that became so important to Hitler in 1938. A Slavonic state which lost its political independence, the majority population of around 2.5 million in the early 20th century were indistinguishable from their Bohemian or Czech neighbours, but around a quarter 95% were Roman Catholics.
The mineral wealth of Moravia was greatly attractive to Austria-Hungary, consisting of coal, lignite, iron-ore, graphite, alum, potter's clay, roofing-slate, and silvermines. This led to industrial development, in the form of textiles, iron-foundries, the manufacture of industrial machines and earthenware products. Little wonder then that, back during the time Henry was growing up, it was an made an `independent’ crown-land of Austria from 1849. This resulted in the most noticeable feature of 19th century Moravian political history being sympathy with the anti-Germanic home-rule agitation of the related Bohemian Czechs to their west. [`Die Lander OesterreichUngarns’ (Vienna, 1881-1889)] Moravia is now on the northern edge of the Czech Republic, bordering Slovakia and Poland.
When Czechoslovakia was established in 1918, the Hungarian speaking minority counted a million people, mainly inhabiting Slovakia and Sub-Carpathia along the border with Hungary. With the 1938 Munich Agreement, most of the Hungarian minority was annexed to Hungary but the outcome of the Second World War reversed the position. The consequence of a century of border movements is that Hungarians became a very small minority in what is now the Czech Republic. Czecho-Hungarians are today scattered across the country, with concentrations in Prague and the surrounding area, as well as in the Northern Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia region. According to the Czech Republic’s 2001 census, 14,672 people have declared Hungarian nationality, as against 19,932 in 1991, although the feeling is that this is more to do with a reserve about not being viewed as sufficiently Czech than it is to do with an actual decline in numbers.
To return to the story of the Barathys, who moved to Britain in the 19th century from this region, despite their Hungarian background, one Henry Charles de Barathy, a resident in Blackburn, received a certificate of naturalisation (No. 11,256) on 25th June 1924. [Home Office: Registered Papers, Supplementary HO 144/3297] Although he would have been 67 years old, it does not seem unlikely that this H C Barathy was not the H C Barathy born in Schonberg, Moravia, despite the transformation of Cecil into Charles, it is not unlikely that he simply didn’t like the name, certainly this is the only H C Barathy from this period that can be found. If the two men are one and the same, as a teenager or young man he would have perhaps come to Britain with his father, as immigrants seeking status, work and wives. As an elderly man, he would have wanted to declare his commitment to what he saw now as his native land, especially as Hungarians now found themselves in an entirely new country, Czechoslovakia – hence the late naturalisation move. It may also be conjectured that the Barathys were congenital avoiders of registration, if they could help it, and H C was marking his final territory by embracing the legalisation of citizenship.
The other two children, Kate, born in Hackney in 1879 and Sidney (Sydney) Alexander de Barathy, who was born on 6th May 1877 in South Hackney, then in Middlesex. (An Edward Curzon was born in 1889 in Cheshire.) Sidney was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and it was there that, around 1895, that Sidney married Maysie (Majorie) Vinsen (born 26th January 1877 in Cambridge) when she was 18 years old. Sidney served in the Boer War 1900-1901, in the Royal Army Medical Corps (according to the 1901 census). In 1907, he moved to Alberta, Canada and was an auctioneer, land agent and barrister there, being known as as Sir Sydney. A son, also Sidney, was born on June 26th 1911 in Trocha, Alberta. As a lieutenant in the Alberta Regiment, Sidney Alexander was wounded during the First World War and appears to have de missed in the early 1920, his wife remarrying and surviving to a grand old age in the USA.
Gerald was also in the First World War and this was to be a much more significant event for him in so many different ways. The radicalisation he would have experienced in the trenches would send him in the direction of Marxism and revolutionary activity, perhaps to an extent that it strained his marriage. The UK National Archive show possession of the army medal card of Gerald Barathy, private 12203 in the Machine Gun Corps, private 11153 of the Royal West Kent Regiment. The medal card of Gerald’s brother, Alex Barathy, a private in the Royal Fusiliers (8294) and Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (43870) is also in the collection. Both cards applied during the period 1914-1920. [catalogue reference is WO 372/1]. It is, however, pretty likely that these relate to the 1914-18 period. This was notoriously a greatly politically radicalising experience. If Gerald was born in 1896, he would have been 18 in 1914 and easily able to join up. If he was born in 1900, he would not have been able to join the army until very near its end. It may be of course that he was in the army from 1919 and, if so this would have placed him on the scene just as the most dramatic events were unfolding.
Gerry appears to have done well in the army by becoming a non-commissioned officer. A photograph of Gerry with army pals (pic left - Gerry is on the right) , judging by the joy of the scene perhaps on the eve of demobilisation, shows him wearing a corporal’s stripes. His military background of leadership would have received a strong welcome from Republican elements if he had offered his service. The fact that Alex, Gerry’s brother was in an Irish regiment is very interesting, especially since his nephews, Gerald’s sons, spent some time in Dublin, in about 1921/22 then returning to England.
Confirmation that Gerry was indeed involved in some way in the struggles in Ireland comes from the daughter of his third wife has said that he was active in the Irish Republican movement and also a founder member of the British Communist Party, which would have made him very likely a member of a pre-existing Marxist organisation before 1920. If he were active in Irish politics this would be by no means unusual, given the close connection between the Party and Republicans forged first in the Irish War of Independence (January 1919 to July 1921) and then the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War (June 28, 1922 to May 24, 1923).
Bradley’s involvement is likely to have taken the form of being a combatant, for he would have been at least 22 and possibly 26 years old. If G C Bradley and G C Barathy are one and the same person as the family believe and he was thus born in 1896, intriguingly, it would make him around 19 or 20 years of age during the Easter Rising which, in the form of the Citizen Army brigade, contained many Marxist socialists. It is not yet known for sure what form of activity his Irish adventure took, however.
Whatever the case, a year after his marriage to Mary, their son Gerald (also Gerry) Alexander (another one!) was born in 1920. Was Gerry senior absent on revolutionary wanderings for the next period? In 1925 Mary (Mildred born 1888, died 1984) gave birth to Terry and Gerald announced that he was leaving shortly after the birth, coming back about a year later but being told to clear off! Mary went into service from 1926, her children variously looked after by Barnados and private schools; it is unclear whether a divorce was sought and granted.
Seemingly Gerald C. changed his name to Bradley, it is believed by the family, perhaps around 1929/30. Although, there is no reason to suppose that it may not have been some time before and his involvement in Irish revolutionary politics would make this highly likely. One interesting hypothesis that may be worth considering is that the correct phonetic pronunciation of Barathy is “Baraty”; such a name would certainly be rendered closely to sound something like `Bradley’ by those with strong Irish accents, especially those from Dublin. And Gerry, coupled with Bradley, was the name of more than one IRA hero in history. Moreover, Bradley is a very confused and twisted Anglicisation of an ancient Celtic warrior family of note in Irish mythology. No doubt the name suited him.
By the very late 1920s or early 1930s, Gerry Bradley was in a `married’ relationship with a `wife’ by name of Lee. In May 1933, Gerry Bradley, described as a writer living at Jubilee Place, Kings Road, Chelsea, and two other men, were charged with pouring red paint over the head and shoulders of a wax statue of Adolf Hitler, displayed in the rooms of Madam Tussaud, after which they also hung a placard saying “Hitler, the mass murderer” on a cord, dangling from his neck. After wrangling with the magistrate who tried to prevent them from making political statements of justification, the men were removed from the court forcibly and then kept in custody for a week and this was considered sufficient punishment along with a fine and payment of compensation to Tussaud’s.
Although Lee Bradley had been also involved and was initially detained, she wasn't charged. It was said that she had struggled with what she thought was a bystander but who turned out to be a conveniently handy policeman, so as to permit her husband to escape. The magistrate gave her the benefit of the doubt but the fact that she was an American diplomat’s daughter may have helped!
At the trial, a Special Branch detective sergeant from Scotland Yard said 'he knew Bradley of old' and the other two protesters both had form, having been previously arrested in 1931. Don Irving had been an organiser of the NUWM Hugh Slater had `incited’ a breach of the peace in Nottingham. Gerry Bradley’s age was given as 33, which would have had him born in 1900. The supposition may be offered that the discrepancy of four years arose around the time of a formal name change in 1929, when he is likely to have met Lee and impressed her with his panache. If he had served `only’ in the war of independence and civil war in Ireland, and had supposedly been born in 1900, he would have been between 19 and 23 when his military activity ceased and around 29 when beginning a relationship with Lee. Perhaps an age of 33 sounded less attractive? Moreover, it might beg the question as to why he had not been in the Easter Rising, when he was 20 and not a mere 16 years of age, thus being excused for not being quite the pioneer.
It seems that, some time after the 1926 General Strike, Bradley began to prise himself away from the Communist Party in the belief that it had not been sufficiently revolutionary and that the strike had been betrayed by the closeness with left socialist trade union leaders that the Party had displayed. His involvement in Irish guerrilla activity surely disposed him to a belief that insurrectionary politics were the answer to the failure of mass action.
Even so, Lee certainly emerges as by far the more radical and committed idealist and is even mentioned as a significant figure in `The History of British Trotskyism to 1949’ by Martin Upham (September 1980). Sometime in 1929 and 1930, the Marxist League was formed, as the first formal manifestation of opposition factionalism in the British revolutionary movement. A tiny revolutionary propaganda group, it stayed independent of all parties and spent its time selling literature and holding open air meetings in Hyde Park, Tottenham Court Road and elsewhere. Lee Bradley, who like her husband Gerry had been a member of the Marxist League, was a member of the Chelsea branch of the Communist Party expelled early in 1933 for Trotskyist factionalism. Some of the ML adherents joined with a tiny fragment inside the Independent Labour Party to form a short lived “Communist League” (CL); family history, perhaps based on Bradley’s own account, has him as founding this new formation but it seems his `wife’ was more of a key player.
The reality is that a debate was now under way all during 1933 about how Trotsky’s supporters could organize, whether in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) or outside it and this was only `resolved’ by the end of the year after major debate by the outcome of a complete disarray between ultra-leftist factions. Of course, this reality continued well into modern times, as Trotskyists wrestled with the problem of entryism posed against the reality that the foundation of an independent party was rather more difficult.
Trotsky’s proposal for his small band of British supporters to enter the ILP was matched by a range of alternatives. There was the idea of a “split perspective” of working within the ILP, in anticipation of a break, by making themselves an organised fraction. Yet there were those who also insisted on independence from the ILP, but the maintenance of an independent ultra-revolutionary Communist current in some way. A man who became famous as a pioneer of British Trotskyism, Harry Wicks, rather unrealistically, led the idea of the infinitesimally small CL being transformed into an independent organised fraction which could then openly join the ILP. Wicks had been behind the very first small “Balham” group of Communists who began to reject the position of their party and coalesced around support for Trotsky’s position.
Various combinations of these tactical organizational approaches were before the several score of nascent Trotskyists in Britain but belief in the continued existence of the Communist League was not well based. But Wicks’ proposal was backed by the Battersea and Chelsea groups of the Communist League and received sterling support from Lee Bradley in particular. Naturally, this support was important to Wicks and he speaks highly of the husband and wife team in his autobiography: “Both were experienced speakers in Hyde Park. Lee was outstandingly intelligent; her husband, Gerry, had done a short stretch in jail for involvement in a confrontation between unemployed and the police. They and our other Chelsea comrades eventually got hold of a small press and actually printed four issues of `Red Flag’ – hand setting the type, a most laborious task.” Harry Wicks “Keeping my head” Logie Barrow/Socialist Platform (1992) p168]
Wicks and the Bradleys insisted that entry into the ILP wouldn’t work well without an organized fraction but did not think that the ILP could be won for Trotskyism. Expelled Communist Party members such as the Bradleys had taken a far larger step than had the ILP members now in the CL, because they had split with their party and this single fact undermined any possibility of a united position.
Of the 37 delegates at the 17th December 1933 `unity’ conference, the Battersea-Chelsea position had only 10 supporters, most then moved behind the majority that sought to establish a new Trotskyist formation. This floundered, like all other attempts, until the new environment of the 1960s rejuvenated ultra-left politics. The remainder of the minority now declared they were going to join the ILP, so both Wicks and Lee Bradley were put on the new National Committee in place of their representatives. Most of those who had not been in the Communist Party remained in, or returned to, the ILP. The ex-communists opted for an open organization and Trotskyism was born. In this sense, Wicks and to a lesser extent, the Bradleys are accepted by most students of Trotskyism as it founders. Lee Bradley was certainly still a major force in British Trotskyism up to 1939, when she appears to have returned to the USA.
Lee and Gerry had one daughter Anne, and the mother and daughter later returned to America. An Anne Lee later surfaced in British Trotskyist politics, though a relationship is unknown and it is likely that the name was a pseudonym, although it may have been in homage. Gerry then 'married' Beryl and they had two children, the daughter of which survived until recent times and has supplied information. So far, it is unclear when Anne was born but it is likely to have been in London. Ultimately the answer is to search birth records. But it must have been after May 1933 for, had Lee had a child (or been pregnant), it would have been too tempting for the magistrate not to have resorted to this as an excuse not to charge her over the Tussaud’s incident. A reasonable guess is that Ann was already born by 1939 – for reasons which we shall come to.
But a few final details about Gerry Bradley’s role in revolutionary history; he does not quite disappear yet. It may be reasonably speculated that his insurrectionary past and disappointment with the calamity of the outcome of the 1926 strike, in which the British Communist Party was to the fore in leading united working struggle, by building Councils of Action, but did not seek repudiation of weaker elements at a local level lay the basis for a hostility to the Party that he was a member of. His background made it difficult for him to accept the moderate implementation, and then rapid shift away, from independent revolutionary perspectives and towards left unity, and even broader popular front politics, that was evident in the British Communist Party’s handling of the Communist International’s left turn from 1929. Whilst it is also likely that the personal fractiousness of his political character simply made it difficult for him to submit to Party discipline.
The sharp character of the international financial crisis of 1929 had seen the Party active in the mobilization of masses of unemployed; many stunts, such as the taking over of posh restaurants by the unemployed, were employed and Wicks’ account seems to suggest Gerry Bradley was heavily involved in this. The evident panache and dash that may be surmised as being his particular personal style would not have fit well into the developments inside the Communist Party that were already evident and led to the mass mobilization of communities against fascism so well exemplified by the `battle of Cable Street’. Individual acts of heroism, especially where touched by personal violence, such as small gangs street fighting Fascists, which had been so much a feature of late 1920s German politics, were not to the taste of the British Party. A sense of Gerry Bradley’s persona emerges in one account by the veteran Trotskyist, CLR James that would appear to validate this speculation about his earlier political journey.
C L R James recalled that, in 1936, he was involved in public debates over the Moscow treason trials; he made it a practice to go to Communist public meetings and take a couple of people with him to “wreck” the event. At one such meeting, there were a number of celebrities on the platform, such as Kingsley Martin and others. It is difficult in contemporary times to recall how unpopular criticism of the USSR was at the time. James, nonetheless, challenged the platform from the hall and then stood up. He recalls: “There was a man called Gerry Bradley, Gerry was a great fighter, irrespective of the number of policemen. Gerry was my good friend, he said to me, "James, there will be the two of us ...." and we went into the meeting together. He stood up and said, "Mr Chairman, Comrade James here has been standing up for the past half hour and wants to be able to say a few words....". The Communist Party did not want to give me the democracy, but they were afraid that Gerry would break up their meeting. Then Gerry turned to me and said, "Mr James, come with me" and led me up to the platform. The audience listened, and I put the case for Trotskyism, and it wrecked their meeting.” [CLR James and British Trotskyism, an interview given by CLR James to Al Richardson, Clarence Chrysostom and Anna Grimshaw; 8th June and 16th November 1986 in South London. Socialist Platform]
Back to Lee then; we can’t now at this distance in time, unless witnesses or documents surface, tell in what circumstances and exactly when Lee returned to America with her daughter Anne. But we can speculate that, whatever the state of the relationship by this stage between Gerry and Lee, about her departure. The key to understanding here is that Trotskyists (for contorted reasons to do with opposition to the USSR, which need not detain us) were opposed to the coming conflict that we know as the Second World War. The US was initially largely determined to keep out of it. Lee would not have renounced her US citizenship, which was so valuable an asset then as now, but, had she formally actually married Gerry, would have acquired dual nationality. I suspect no formal marriage occurred but, again, only a time-consuming and detailed check of the records, which is very time-consuming, would reveal it.
So … opposing the war but also being a neutral citizen has dangers. It might very well attract questions that make a neutral uncomfortable, especially speaking `English’ naturally. The public mood would be to be suspicious (recalling the murderous bombardments in Spain) and there were real fears that the blitz would be much worse than it actually was and many British children would be evacuated, even as far as Canada. Lee’s `connections’ would make it easy for her to leave and why should she stay in discomfort only to be treated as a virtual enemy? Everything changed after 1941, so a pretty good guess would be that Lee left anywhere between 1939 and 1941, with an emphasis on the earlier stages.
Trotskyists were viewed (probably unfairly in retrospect, especially as Communists had had their fair share of such accusations from 1939-1941) as being potentially tactical allies of Hitler after 1941 because of their anti-Sovietism and support for strikes in wartime, at least objectively so. Plus, even though the US became a valued ally after 1941, Americans themselves weren’t too well-liked (except by young women and little kids!) an American Trotskyist would be disliked by Americans and Brits alike!!! It seems reasonable to guess that Lee departed as soon as war between UK and Germany was declared.
Having been a member of the Communist Party from 1920 to 1933 and then heavily involved in Trotskyist politics for much of the 1930s, the general trail on Gerry Bradley currently goes cold. We don’t know quite what kind of war he had. But his third `marriage’ to Beryl, who came after Lee, presumably sometime during the war years seems to have brought some stability. The 20 year difference between Gerry and Beryl, who was born around 1923, is still alive and lives in Cornwall, is most evident from a late 1940s group photo in which the older man proudly and happily shows off his lover.
Sometime after the war, he appears to have found enough capital to become the proprietor of a small hotel in Cornwall; it was a role that seemed to suit his larger than life persona. A photograph of Gerry as `mine host’, dispensing drinks, once existed but has disappeared. It seem that his third partner only ever had a total of three photographs of Gerry, seemingly he didn’t like having his photo taken at all, perhaps a relic of more adventurous days?
Beryl’s and Gerry’s children were born between 1954 and 1960, when the couple appear to have `married’. However, there is every reason to suppose that this time round, even if he was something of a late developer, Gerry turned out in the end to make not so bad a job of his third attempt at being the father of a family. Perhaps he had simply matured, or aged more likely; maybe Beryl had the knack of allowing his adventurism to dissipate in a more positive way. His final brood all turned out to become very successful in their various chosen fields. Although Gerry died in 1961/2, aged 61 years old, no great age even in those days, at the Greenbank hospital, and his address was given as Coombe Mill, Camerford Street, St Breward, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.
Pic Left: Gerry and Beryl are on the left of the group
The only pub in St Breward today is the “Old Inn & Restaurant”, Cornwall’s highest Inn, and it does not list Gerry as a previous landlord, so maybe he merely lived in the village and `hosted’ elsewhere? In any case, by then his occupation was given as a retired publican, so he had either sold the pub, or had assigned others to look after it, perhaps due to ill-health? It After Beryl was left to bring up the children, although she had an asset in the form of the pub, and both children were able to go to university. From Hungary, via Moravia, England and Ireland, the wild rover had finally found his resting place on the haunting, wild and rugged territory of Bodmin Moor.
In ancient times the area was fairly densely populated; in the modern era if it were not for the occasional anoraked summer tourist there would be few people to come across. It can be a lonely but very beautiful landscape. Surely the dramatic granite peaks and many prehistoric stone barrows that scatter across Bodmin would have been symbolic to the aging Gerry of how he had never run away from the storm but welcomed it, raging against the hurricanes of life, even if it meant being in relatively solitary defiance. There is romance aplenty, with its wild ponies and rumours of strange wilds beasts, and Bodmin Moor is an officially designated `area of outstanding natural beauty.
On the moor are many small natural bodies of water, including the pool where legend has it that the Arthurian Excalibur was thrown to The Lady of the Lake. Gerry had been a fantastically couragous man, with charisma aplenty – even if his appetite for adventure rather overshadowed his ability to grit his teeth and deal with the mundane challenges of life. Reinventing himself and his relationships always seemed easier than finding new courses for himself and others. His attraction to factionalism in politics, his bent towards being argumentative, disputatous, and the elevation of minor tactical questions to irrelevantly strategic matters, mirrored his restlessness in domestic life.
Was it no accident that, by the 1950s, he appeared to have permitted his colourful past to tint the patina of his personality rather than interfere with the comfort of his daily existence? As Trotskyism gave way to the swapping of saloon bar tales, Gerry appears as a more rounded person, his humanity more dimensional than had been the case. Alhough we will never know both sides of the story, as the partner of Mary, it seems that he had been a failure to her and her children; he was simply still too immature in outlook to cope with a mature woman, perhaps in his mind more his mother than his lover. Lee had been dazzling, her sheer force of personality being simply too seductive to resist, so that he sought to be the man she wanted – a combination of James Connolly and Lenin but, alas, his character – or his times – meant that he simply wasn’t up to it. Beryl’s more down to earth outlook, made wildly attractive by her youth and beauty was the making of him in the end. Gerry was one of history’s outrageous characters; to enable him to slip into the comfort zone before blazing log fires he needed, outside his window, the backcloth of drama at least. Where else would such a rogue find his final resting place?
Sources: Information supplied by June Barathy (Australia), including cuttings 15th and 21st May 1933; CLR James, Martin Upshaw, Harry Wicks autobiography.