James Cunningham, usually called Jim, was born in South Shields in 1912. He retained his Geordie accent throughout his life despite leaving South Shields when he was 15, joining the army after lying about his age. In common with many, it is likely that his sympathy for Communism arose at this time, when he was in the forces, although he had seemingly come across the Party in South Shields.
Cunningham had certainly joined the Party after the Second World War, when he stood as a candidate in a local election in Acton in the late 1940s and early 1950s and possibly later in Stevenage. He lived in Nemore Rd, Acton, London, with his wife Gladys and a daughter.
A bricklayer, Cunningham was very active in the struggle against lump labour during the 1950s and 1960s and he was to die in Stevenage in 1985.
Source: the family of James Cunningham