Obituaries: F. Kraske & Betty King
Death of Comrade Kraske
Comrade F. Kraske, one of the small but enthusiastic band of workers who founded the Socialist Party of Great Britain in June, 1904, has passed out of the struggle at the age of 81. He died of cerebral haemorrhage on October 10th at Cheltenham. To the last he was bound up with the working-class movement, to which he had given the whole of his adult life. When failing health, during the war years, kept him out of activity, his interest did not flag; he looked to his son to keep him fully posted about the Party’s doings, and always demanded a full report of what happened at conferences and similar party meetings. He was a Socialist and a good comrade in the fullest sense.
He lived to witness the first attack made by the Party on the central citadel of power in this country, and this had a very intimate appeal to him, because he was one of the party candidates in the Battersea borough election of November, 1906.
Kraske was a member of the Battersea Branch of the Social Democratic Federation, at the time he participated in the movement to induce that party to shed its social reform policy along with other rubbish. When the efforts of the group, of which he was an associate, failed to induce the members of that party to rid themselves of the leadership caucus, he came out of the Social Democratic Federation and took an active part in the formation of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
Kraske was a short, sturdy, man who looked younger than his years. He was always active in helping on the work of the party and, until a few years ago, he was to be seen at nearly every party meeting. A few winters before the war the party organised museum lectures at which members conducted parties around different museums. Old though he was, he attended these lectures. When asked why he came to them, he replied: “I am always ready to improve my knowledge.” That was his attitude to life; an increase of knowledge was to him an aid in the work of ending the system that exploited the workers.
When such a one as Kraske makes the final parting, we can do little more than express our sorrow and record his achievement. To the present writer it is the breaking of another link with a bright and fruitful past in which we clung to our hopes with the passion of youth; it is the passing out of a sturdy, honest and steadfast worker for Socialism, one of those people who really matter in a world of sordid ambitions, petty tricks, and the exploitation of man by man.
We therefore make this tribute to our late comrade so that his name may always figure on the roll of the fighters for the uplifting of humanity.
Mrs. Kraske, who was also one of the founders of the party, is still with us and, we hope, will long remain so. To her and members of the family we send our sincere sympathy.
We have also received the sad news that Mrs Betty King, another of the early band who formed the party, died in November. She was not well known to the younger members of the party, but across the years she has given hospitality at her Stockport home to numerous members whose party work took them to the Manchester area.
To the members of her family we also send our sincere sympathy.