Obituary: Charlie Barnes
Death of a Comrade
The Party is poorer by the death of Comrade C. Barnes. For over twenty years a member of the late Watford Branch, he seldom missed a branch meeting, and, although occasionally unemployed, he never missed paying his dues. Neither bad weather nor three miles of country roads to trudge deterred our old comrade from what he considered his duty, and one could always count on the appearance of Charlie. He was neither a “writer” not a “speaker,” but he was a particularly fine specimen of an unobtrusive member. During the early part of the war he gave an unexpected exhibition of what such a member can do. When a fanatical mob besieged a party speaker and threatened to overturn the platform, Charlie, the mildest of men, rolled up his sleeves and invited them to “come on.”
His early death is another of the countless tragedies associated with what is called “progress.” He was a coach painter, known as one of the best in the county. (Incidentally he was an excellent landscape painter, but few knew of his work.) The invention of spray-painting led to his final dismissal. A long period of intermittent employment followed; and our comrade was a craftsman to whom inactivity was distasteful. How far this contributed to his final illness is a matter of opinion, but one can imagine the inner feelings of a highly skilled craftsman who is told at 53 that he is “too old.” A ghastly commentary on our civilisation. For death there is no remedy, but our comrade’s twenty years’ unswerving devotion to the party was an inspiration to all who knew him, and they sadly feel his loss.
W. T. Hopley