Born on the 1st January 1920 Hilda Sybil Forman was daughter to Harry and Rachel Davies. The middle child of Jewish Russian/Polish migrants, her impoverished upbringing worsened when her father, a tailor’s machinist, died when she was 10. Her mother took on tailoring jobs, taking home a measly 15 shillings a week. Yet spare pennies were found to send her children to the theatre, cinema and the music halls – where Hilda saw the greats of the time from Tito
Hilda was granted a scholarship to Thoresby Girls’ School where she was described by tutors as a “top scholar” But at 14 years old, she left to find work to help support the family income. She worked in sales and administration, and later, as a book-keeper for a clothing manufacturer in 1939, where she was sacked for her involvement in a strike.
Her skills and intelligence were recognised in the upheaval of the war; while managing contracts for the Ministry of Supply as an Executive Officer, she took great delight when the same company that had sacked her approached her to tender for a contract to produce army uniforms.
Hilda was largely politicised by her mother when she was a teenager. Rachel even allowed their home in
It was not long before Hilda joined the YCL, in which she met
She took a position in Central Books, the Communist Party’s book and periodical outlet.
She became the first executive secretary of BRIDGE (the Britain-German Democratic Republic Information Exchange) in the early 1960s.
As senior research manager at
Hilda Forman died on August 12th 2008.
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