Obituary: Frank Simkins

Frank Simkins

We are saddened to have to report the death in May at the age of 90 of our comrade Frank Simkins. Frank was born in Battersea in South London in 1930. He had been a member of the Labour Party while a teenager but, on returning from conscripted national service (in Greece where the British Army was supporting the pro-West side in the civil war there), joined the old Camberwell branch in 1950 after listening to Party speakers at East Street, Walworth. He trained and worked as a tool-maker in various engineering factories, where he was an active trade unionist and AEU shop steward and, later until the age of 80, as a storekeeper in his brother’s motor business in Stockwell.

Frank was a regular outdoor speaker and occasional writer for the Socialist Standard and the Party’s candidate in Clapham in the 1970 General Election. He also represented the Party in elections to the old GLC and was a regular attender at Conference and Delegate Meetings (until his final illness), where he emphasised the need for socialists to support political democracy and warned of picturing socialism as a society without problems. In particular, he often argued that it was ‘inconceivable’ that every person on the planet would have their own personal car if socialism was to be an environmentally-friendly society.

Rarely seen without his trademark jacket and tie, the word ‘dapper’ could have been invented to describe him. But above all, Frank will be remembered as a polite, considerate and thoughtful man, with a good sense of humour. He was well-regarded by his comrades and our condolences go to his family and friends.