Obituaries: Bill Critchfield and Bernie Flitter
Bill Critchfield died on 1 April. He was 91 years old. The official cause of death was pneumonia but this was a development of his remorseless decline, over some ten years, through Alzheimer’s disease. He came from an extended family of which there were seven members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.
During the war he volunteered to join the Air Force and he was sent to Canada to train as a Bomb Aimer. After returning to England he flew on a number of bombing raids over Germany. In 1945, with the end of the war in Europe he was posted to India where he completed the term of his time in the Air Force.
When he returned home it was to find his two brothers were members of the Socialist Party and after a lengthy period of disagreement with them he was convinced that he should do the same. He joined the Ealing Branch, where he took on several administrative jobs and regularly spoke to introduce the Party at street corner meetings, which were then a regular feature of our propaganda. When, following the outbreak of the Korean War the Labour Government re-introduced military conscription Bill informed the Air Ministry that as a socialist he would refuse to be re-called. Towards the end of his life, with the cruel decline of his senses, he took comfort from the anti-war poems of the likes of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
We are saddened to have to report the death in April at the age of 90 of another longstanding comrade, Bernie Flitter. He joined the then Bloomsbury branch in 1943 after listening to our speakers in Hyde Park. He later transferred to Fulham branch where he was an active member and outdoor speaker in the 1940s and 50s. He earned his living as an accountant. Latterly he was a member of Central branch. Our condolences go to his wife, Marie, also a member, and family.