Obituary: Albert Grant

On Friday morning of April 15th a small number of Party members met at the Marylebone Crematorium to witness the passing of the late Comrade Albert Grant, who died at the age of 55.

Many comrades who knew him for years will be shocked at the sad news.

By coincidence it just happens that I knew him many years ago. We were boys together in Lansbury’s old Herald League at the Manor House, Finsbury Park, in the days of the first world war.

Several young people flocked to Lansbury’s pacifist banner during 1915-17, and a vigorous and growing propaganda was carried on. With the end of the war the Herald League virtually broke up. The discordant elements, which had sunk differences, gravitated towards the Labour Party, Communist Party, and branches of the I.L.P.

I think I am correct in saying that, out of over 600 members on the books of the North London Herald League in 1918, two joined the S.P.G.B. One was Albert Grant who remained, until the day he died, a staunch, loyal, unwavering revolutionary Socialist.

Well do I remember how much moral courage it required to stand out alone amongst the horde of supporters of reformism of various kinds, whether the romantic variety of the C.P., or the pale pink I.L.P. Comrade Grant, though still a boy, philosophically accepted all the good-natured banter, and a great deal of ill-humoured gibing and epithets (“Impossibilist!” “Small Party of Good Boys”) and “jokes” which still pass for wit in similar circles to-day.

Calm, genial, and urbane, he invariably gave as good as he got from those disagreeing with him, without ever losing composure. He was always sure of respect, if not support.

Shortly after the first war, he went to South Africa and was a first-hand witness of the bitter struggles occurring on the Rand before returning home. During the Second World War he was frequently to be found, when circumstances permitted, supporting the Party platform in Hyde Park.

In the Second World War, as the First, he had no doubts whatever about the strength and validity of the Party’s attitude.

A clear logical thinker, he could be relied on for sound advice in changing situations. Members of Hampstead were accustomed to seeing him regularly at the Whitestone Road on Sunday mornings in recent years, where his acid comments on the absurdities from opponent’s platforms frequently enlivened the scene.

The Party has lost a loyal and dependable member; many members a dear and respected friend.

To his wife and children we extend the hand of sympathy in time of trouble.

Though many may step forward to fill the gap he leaves vacant, to those who knew and loved him, it will never be filled.

Harry Young

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