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Bert Ward was born around 1923 and left school at 15 and for the following two decades he undertook a variety of solid working class occupations; first in the Navy, then at a building site, a foundry, the steelworks, a shipyard, on the railways and as a scaffolder. He then trained as a student nurse and became an active trade unionist and a member of the Communist Party.
His interests led him into full-time adult education as a student at Ruskin College on a trade union scholarship and then on the London School of Economics (LSE). He then had a spell working for the Amalgamated Engineering Union.
After his final studies, he became a lecturer for a further two decades in Politics at the South East London College, before retiring and settling in his native Middlesborough. He was active on Irish issues in the Communist Party in the 1980s.
An account of how he came to be involved in Northern Ireland and how effective that was can be seen here:
An obituary follows: