1990s >> 1997 >> no-1110-february-1997

Obituary: Bill Williams

Bill joined the old Palmers Green branch in 1953, having moved to London from north Wales. From an early age he had been interested in science and technology, building his own reflecting telescope and even importing magazines on rocket technology from the USA during the Second World War!

He had been plagued by ill-health for most of his life, due to TB and aggravated by smoking, starting the habit years before it had been universally recognised as potentially dangerous. Although this limited his physical activity, as a car-owner he was able to act as “wheels” for branch members to carry out activities in the 50s and 60s.

His main profession was as a draughtsman in the Civil Service and he was active as a member in their union, DATA. It was at this time that, because of his gaunt appearance, he was known as “The Thin Man”.

He was keenly interested in the UFO phenomenon and related subjects, but managed to keep his feet firmly on the ground as far as his materialist understanding of the world was concerned. During the 50s and 60s he took an active part in the theoretical investigation of crisis theory in political economy and in studying the emergence of civilisations in the ancient Near East. As far as he was able Bill was an active member of the branch, and his knowledge of scientific and technological developments was of much value in branch discussions and meetings.

When eventually his health prevented him from working, he was able to escape from wage slavery, in so far as not being beholden to an employer. This situation left him with a modest income. Even by the limitations imposed by capitalism Bill could not have been said to have lived his life to the full, choosing an abstemious existence rather than living for the day. He lived the last 20 years of his life with only one lung and had to be extremely careful about not infecting his remaining one. He was, however, able to attend the branch up to a few weeks before his death.

Julian Vein