G - I

Hill Howard

 

 Howard Hill

Born in Sheffield in 1913, Hill trained as an electrician, working initially in various local collieries and steelworks and he was a member of the ETU.

In the 1930s he was a member of the Independent Labour Party, then on a very leftwards course, and was elected as a Labour councillor for Sheffield Brightside in 1938, retaining the seat until 1946.

He became dissatisfied with the official Labour policy especially after Munich. The early prosecution of the war – and Labour’s entry into coalition – prompted Hill to chair a Sheffield Daily Worker Rally on Sunday 24th May 1940. Within a week, he had publicly stated his intention to leave the Labour Party. Less publicly, he also took a Communist Party card.

“It is my intention to resign from the Labour Party  and consequently  the Labour Group (of the City council) I have not resigned earlier because I wished to consult with my trade union, the Electrical Trade Union (ETU) I consider the entry of the Labour leaders into the Cabinet the greatest tragedy that has befallen the movement.  It has now sacrificed its independence as a working class political party and it is therefore unable to defend the workers interests. In fact it is becoming the instrument whereby the Government and the employers impose their policy upon the people. I regard the policy of the National government of appeasing fascism as responsible for the present war; and I don’t think that the policy of coalition can save the people.”

After being invalided out of the RAF in 1943, he became full-time secretary of the Sheffield Communist Party, remaining a Party official until his retirement in 1975.

He stood as Communist parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Brightside in 1945, polling over 4,000 votes. Hill was expelled from the Labour Party in 1946 for association with the Communist Party, which he had actually joined in 1940. An active rambler, his book `Freedom to roam’, published in retirement, described his experiences with the mass trespass movement in the 1930s.

 

Sources include the Daily Worker May 30th 1940;  some details from miscellanous sources.