Chenoweth Frank & June


Frank and June Chenoweth

Born into a radical family, June grew up in Plymouth and as a young woman was very affected by the Spanish civil war. At the outbreak of the second world war she volunteered for the Land Army and was sent to the Shetlands, where she worked with goats (later in life she would support Goats for Africa). She then became a Wren, carrying passengers from ships moored in Plymouth Sound to Millbay Docks.

June met Frank Chenoweth (seemingly an old Cornish name), who was a below-decks engineer in the North Atlantic convoys, in a Communist Party bookshop in Plymouth – both of them were then members of the Party. They endured long periods of separation during the war, married in 1947, then spent a short time in the US during which time Frank was blacklisted for union activities.

Back in England, with very little money, they managed to buy an almost derelict 52ft ex-Admiralty pinnace, which they rebuilt as a seaworthy home. A doughty campaigner for peace and justice, June walked in the early Aldermaston marches, and was chair of Plymouth CND for a time.

As a mature student, June trained to be a teacher, specialising in literacy teaching and helping disadvantaged students.

After Frank died in 1973, June moved to Wiltshire, but travelled widely, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

In 1984 she raised money for the striking miners, and was presented with a brass miner’s lamp in Sheffield in recognition of her work.

June Chenoweth died aged 85 in 2008.

Source: The Guardian 11th December 2008





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