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Obituary: John Robertson

We are saddened to have to report the death between Christmas and the New Year of John Robertson, a member of the Party for over fifty years.

John Robertson was born in 1914 in South Shields where his father had a butcher shop. After the General Strike and subsequent defeat of the miners the whole family had to move to London. His desire to do something about capitalism led him first to join the Labour Party which he soon left after the miserable failure of the 1929-31 Labour government. Later, after listening to Socialist Party speakers in Brockwell Park and at Hyde Park, he joined our Lewisham branch in 1938.

During the war his registration as a conscientious objector was turned down and he decided to go on the run. Naturally as a socialist he wanted no part in killing his fellow workers, and was prepared to suffer for his principles. It wasn't a very secure life but it was possible to survive on false papers and given the acute labour shortage in certain "non-essential" trades like hotels and catering. During this period "Robbie" was a member of our Hackney and later Islington branches but also spent some time in Oxford. It was here some time after the war that he eventually settled, running his own agency typing theses for students.

He was an active participant in the various activities the Party organized in the Oxford area over the years, including for a while a branch. He was always interested in current affairs and socialist theory. He and his wife Tessa were also keenly interested in music and were pleased that their son, Paul, came to be a founding member of the well-known Medici String Quartet.

John Robertson was not a member at the time of his death, but he remained a supporter of socialist ideas and meetings to the end.