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William Dutson was born in Clayton, Manchester in 1899; his mother was a tailoress and keen trade unionist, who encouraged her son to read. His father secured a job in Ayrshire, Scotland, then in Essex, but when he was eight years old the family moved back to Clayton, where he lived until 1938
Leaving school at the age of fourteen to work in a rubber factory, he became a blacksmith apprentice with Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. He fought in world war one, but being disabled was unable to secure employment after it.
Dutson finally secured work engine cleaning and became active in ASLEF. He joined the National Minority Movement in 1925 and by 1929 he was secretary of the local Departmental Committee, a recognised union body that negotiated with the employer. But he was sacked in the same year and remained unemployed until 1938 and was active in the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) throughout the 1930s. He led the great
In November 1932, as a member of Openshaw & Clayton Communist Party branch, he stood as a candidate for the
During this period 280 trolley bus boys had been sacked, 380 teachers and 1,000 council workers. According to the medical officer’s report for
After the slump ended, Dutson became a Woodworker and an active member of the Amalgamated society of Woodworkers (AsW).
His poems and articles were widely published in the
Sources: `The CP in