Mitchell Tom

Tom Mitchell


Mitchell joined the Communist Party in Letchworth in 1936 and attended regular district gatherings in Cambridge city. 


As a 21-year-old foundry worker who had left school at 14 and never went to a night school, to his amazement he was invited to meet Maurice Dobb and his colleagues in Trinity College to talk about the Communist Party.


He recalled that a local farmer who was a Party member (perhaps A L Morton’s brother?) led the campaign for a food-ship to Spain which went from Ipswich.


Mitchell’s recall of the 1938 Eastern Counties District Congress of the Party is interesting. His memory some two decades ago was that some of those present were: himself, Maurice Cornforth (who was full time district secretary in the 1930s), Kitty Cornforth, his wife, Paxton Chadwick, Leslie Morton, Margaret Bramley, Danny Gillies, Tom Nimmo, and Matt Gill. Away in Spain was Lon Elliott, the husband of Kathleen Elliott the woman who ran McLarens Books (effectively the Communist Party bookshop). Also present were Jim Kincaid, Len Atkinson, Bill Turner, Gwen Davies, and Dick Seabrook. The latter was an USDAW activist who left the Party in `56.

The Eastern district committee used to meet in a room on the first floor of the Commercial Hotel on the corner of Market Square. One day they were astonished to see Chamberlain stepping out of a room on the opposite side of the Street. He had just returned from Munich and was acknowledging the crowds outside. Mitchell also recalled, apropos the fuss about Cambridge spies that the university tended to inhibit many. Scores of Cambridge Communists, including railway workers, pressed for a separate city branch “so they could get a word in”, as he put it.

Mitchell stood as Communist parliamentary candidate for Luton East in the 1979 general election.


He was a strong supporter of the CPGB EC in its war on the Morning Star and trade union orientated activists in the 1980s.


Source (mostly): “7 days” 6th August 1988




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