2000s >> 2009 >> no-1254-february-2009

Obituary: Charlie Lawrence

We report with sadness the death of Charlie Lawrence in Australia on 12th January at the age of 89. Charlie was born in England but as a young boy emigrated to Western Australia with his family in the 1920s where they ran a dairy farm. This was part of the Group Settlements project on virgin land. It was hard work but he loved the life there but the depression of the 1930s saw the family in financial trouble and they returned to England.

During the war Charlie worked for a time in ‘directed labour’ but decided this was not for him after being too close to bombing raids near where he was working. He took this so personally that he decided to go ‘on the run’, rather than face military service or more directed labour.

It was while he was working at Woking Power Station in 1939 that Charlie met the Socialist Party in the person of a member, George Nuttall, who was the works fitter there. George talked about the party’s case for socialism and its analysis of capitalism. Charlie joined the party in 1944 as a member of the old Paddington Branch and attended meetings and lectures. He always recalled the very big meetings held at the old Metropolitan Theatre in the Edgware Road just after the war.

Charlie was the catalyst for no less than six of his siblings becoming socialists – possibly a record in this Party. One of these siblings was Pieter Lawrence (see obituary May 2007 Socialist Standard). Charlie returned to live in Australia in the 1960s and although not very active in the WSP of Australia, remained a staunch socialist to the end. Sympathy is extended to his family both in Australia and in the UK.

Phyllis Hart

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