Pettman was an active Kent Communist Party member, who became a long-standing elected parish councillor.
When Gordon Pettman was only nine years old, he saw a farm worker and his six children thrown out on the street. “The injustice of it raised an anger in me and shaped my politics,” he once said. This was fuelled by his experience of picking hops as a child with his mother, Nora, who worked on the land all the year round. “It was absolute purgatory,” he said. “You got really dirty and had to produce an awful lot.”
This was fuelled by his experience of picking hops as a child with his mother, Nora, who worked on the land all the year round. “It was absolute purgatory,” he said. “You got really dirty and had to produce an awful lot.”
He served on HMS Phoebe, a Royal Navy ship that saw much action in the
After 12 years in the navy, he discovered that his file warned “this man is a red”! Having left, he became a building worker in his native
He was a member of the National
Golding was the agricultural workers’ union local chair and had lived in the cottage for 21 years with his family of four when his employer had stopped farming. “When the bailiffs arrived to kick him out they got an unexpectedly hot reception from the angry villagers and delegates from
Gordon is pictured below (on the right with a beard) during a demo against the eviction.
In the 1970s and 80s, Gordon Pettman worked closely with other
Gordon received an accolade in the form of a special certificate for half a century of campaigning against evictions of farm workers and other injustice in 2005 from the T&G Rural & Agricultural section
Well into the 1990s, Gordon also stood in
Gordon’s stature in Wingham meant that he survived as an elected representative during all the difficulties that befell the British Communist Party in the 1980s and 1990s. Gordon did not hide his continuing personal adherence to the ideals of Communism and it did not seem to do him electoral harm. In the 1987 Wingham parish councillor elections, he came fourth out of nine places on the council with 318 votes. In 1995, he was elected to the 9 member council with 270 votes, coming fifth on the list and polling some more than 60 votes needed to beat his nearest rivals. But he was elected unopposed in 1999.
He suffered for many years with leukaemia, having to undergo as many as 45 sessions of chemo-therapy, and 35 injections, in 2004. It was believed that the leukaemia had stabilised. Whilst enjoying getting back to his busy activities, Gordon became somewhat annoyed that his long bushy beard, in the naval tradition, had disappeared! Ever persistent, he embarked upon growing it all over again. However, this was not to be, since the illness reasserted itself aggressively and he died on
Wingham’s parish council was so moved by his passing, and the long service he gave his village, that they voted to purchase a “Gordon Pettman Memorial Notice Board”, which was erected in a central location in Wingham, “on the verge by the Dental Surgery”.
Sources: Morning Star
Below: Gordon pictured at the time of the T&G presentation at his home by