British anti-austerity World War II veteran, RIP

This 21 September 2015 video from Britain says about itself:

WW2 veteran Harry Leslie Smith on Jeremy Corbyn

Afshin Rattansi goes underground with the WW2 veteran, Harry Leslie Smith. What does HE think about Corbyn not singing God Save the Queen?

From the Daily Mirror in Britain today:

Harry Leslie Smith dead: ‘World’s oldest rebel’ dies aged 95 after long fight for the poor

Jeremy Corbyn led tributes to the veteran activist, who told doctors in his final hours: “I am not ready to die because I have too much work to do”

Veteran activist Harry Leslie Smith has died aged 95 after a lifetime spent fighting passionately for the poor.

The former RAF pilot, WWII veteran and NHS and refugees campaigner was left critically ill after a fall while visiting Canada with his son John.

He drank a final beer in his last hours after telling doctors: “I am not ready to die because I have too much work to do”.

After providing regular updates on his father’s condition through Twitter for several days, his son announced the news from Harry’s account today.

He wrote: “At 3:39 this morning, my dad Harry Leslie Smith died. I am an orphan. #istandwithharry”.

Later he added: “I am wrapped in the blanket that covered him as he lay dying. And, I know exactly what my steps are. I will follow in his footsteps. I will endeavour to finish his projects.”

Jeremy Corbyn led an outpouring of tributes today, saying: “We will all miss Harry Leslie Smith – he was one of the giants whose shoulders we stand on.

“A World War Two veteran who dedicated his life to fighting for our National Health Service, a peaceful world and for countries to meet their moral responsibility by welcoming refugees.”

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote: “He was one of a kind who never wavered in his fight for equality and justice. We should all carry his passion, optimism and spirit forward.”

Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby said: “The best tribute we can pay to this remarkable, warm, inspirational man is to continue his relentless fight for justice.” …

Harry – who called himself the “world’s oldest rebel” – was born to a mining family in the slums of Barnsley in 1923.

He told the 2014 Labour Party conference: “I still remember hearing, while I played as a child, the anguished cries that floated from a window on my boyhood street.

He lived through the Great Depression and lost his sister Marion to tuberculosis when she was just 10 – because his family couldn’t afford a doctor.

“They were the screams from a woman dying from cancer who couldn’t afford morphine to ease her passage from this life.”

Harry and his late wife Friede emigrated to Toronto after the Second World War, raising three children in Canada before her death in 1999.

He later became a successful author, penning books including Love Among the Ruins – the moving story of how he met Friede in occupied Hamburg.

His last book, Harry’s Last Stand, made a passionate case for a caring society and how to stop modern Britain returning to the dark days.

After his 2014 speech he became an online legend, amassing almost 250,000 Twitter followers and establishing himself as a powerful supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

He campaigned against austerity and for the NHS and refugees, even starting his own podcast.

Last year, he celebrated winning a battle with pneumonia, telling the Mirror he would have died without the NHS.

He said: “I know were it not for the NHS my life would have ended a long time ago because I come from an endless ancestry of hard-working folk whose labour never paid enough to afford a pleasant life.

“The working class only came to good fortune when a Labour government was elected in 1945.”

Harry initially went in to hospital on Tuesday last week, tweeting himself before his son took over: “Bugger of a day, had a fall and now I am in hospital. It’s nothing just low blood pressure, but signing off for the next few hours.”

After the huge show of support for his father, John tweeted: “He sleeps and when he wakes for a moment I tell him about the love flowing out from Twitter. ‘tell them I love them all.”‘

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote at the time: “Very sorry to hear this. Please pass on my best to Harry. We need him to get well soon as the National Health Service, and our movement, needs him.”

The hashtag #istandwithharry trended on Wednesday morning as people continued to send their support.

John sent a string of updates on his father’s condition, describing his cough as “bone shattering” as he slept again on Wednesday afternoon.

“Thank you all for keeping vigil over Harry with me,” he wrote.

“It truly is less lonely this way for me.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.