George Massey was born in 1906 into a working class Bristol family. His father worked for the Post Office and George also spent a lifetime in the service. He was a messenger from 1930, a sorting clerk and telegraphist before doing his war service in the RAF. He married Mary, herself a Bristol telegraphist during the war.
During the 1930s, George became involved in a rank-and-file postal workers group in Bristol. A self-educated and, at times, dissident Communist from 1935, he was expelled from the British Communist Party in 1938 for opposing the MoscowTrials but seemingly returned to the Party at a later stage.
George gave lengthy service to the Union of Postal Workers, especially as a Bristolbranch officer in the 1950s and was a member of the UPW Executive Council.
Two decades after his earlier brush with Party discipline, George was again was in trouble with the Communist Party for protesting against the execution of Hungarian ex-Prime Minister, Imre Nagy.
He was promoted to an overseer’s position in 1959, despite still being a Communist. Despite his job position, George organised regular collections among his fellow managers for postmen and telephonists during the seven week UPW strike of 1971 and was a welcome guest speaker at strike rallies.
A book on his life and times as a Bristolpost office worker has been written by Dave Chapple, Branch Chair, CWU Bristoland District. This is centred on his discovery, a few years ago, of an old minute book in the branch office, that of a 1935-37 Bristol postal workers rank-and-file movement, and an oral history project involving the only surviving member, George Massey.
George was 94 on February 20th 2010, the oldest Honorary Member of the BristolCWU Branch, and, almost certainly, the oldest living member of the UPW Executive Council.
Source: "Grasshoppers, Stonkers and Straight Eights: George Massey and BristolPost Office Workers 1930-1976" by Dave Chapple. To order copies: £12 for 1, £18 for 2, £25 for 3, or £30 for 4, all post-free, from Dave Chapple, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 5AU.
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