Obituary: Comrade George Ritchie

The Executive Committee and S.W. London Branch members join in sending their deepest sympathy and condolences to Mrs. Ritchie and family on hearing of the sudden death of Comrade George Ritchie, of S.W. London Branch.

Comrade George Ritchie’s sudden death on December 21st. was due to Coronory Thrombosis. He was cremated at Streatham Vale on December 27th. Unfortunately news of his passing did not reach us in time, so no member of the Party was present at his funeral, a fact that is deeply regretted by many who would have certainly gone along to pay their last respects. The news of his death has been a shock to many who knew him.

He joined the Tooting Branch of the Party early in 1929. He never became known as a Speaker or Writer, but turned his energies to promoting the sales of Party Literature in the Tooting area. For many years George worked with Comrade Hutchins, known affectionately to older members as “Hutch” pushing the sales of the Socialist Standard in Tooting and Mitcham district, their joint efforts brought forward very good results. After, the death of Comrade Hutchings, George Ritchie carried on alone. He was also very active at his place of work. He earned his living as a transport worker, being employed first with the old General Omnibus Coy., then by London Transport. He became well known to many bus and tram workers in the South London area through his efforts at selling Party Literature at various garages and “turn round points,” and it would be no mean boast to claim that through his efforts some ’bus workers became interested enough in the Party to eventually become members.

During the 30’s and for a while after the war, outdoor propaganda meetings were held at Undine Street, Tooting, the street in which George lived for many years, and many members will recall the short walk along Undine Street to number 68 to collect the portable platform that was always stored there.

George Ritchie was, until recent years, a regular attender at Branch meetings, though latterly his attendances were limited to monthly calls, when he would collect his quota of five dozen Socialist Standards, which he would distribute to the newsagents and readers who he had canvassed and encouraged for years.

It is therefore fitting that the last tribute the Party can pay to Comrade Ritchie, is in the columns of the paper introduced by him into many South London homes. His death is a great loss to the Party, but he will be remembered by his S.W. London comrades for his kindness to members, for being ever ready to offer a word of friendly advice and always at pains to make a new member or a visitor to the branch “at ease.” His past efforts and achievements will remain to spur on younger members to continue in the task of propagating Socialism.