In memory of John Davies 1928 – 2019 – a life of struggle for workers and socialism

Many members and supporters of the Socialist Party across the country will be saddened to hear of the death of John Davies who sadly passed away aged 91 on the 21st December 2019.

 

John will probably be best remembered by comrades, far and wide,  as the lovely softly spoken older Welsh man who opened up his house on election days from 5 am until 10 pm for the Socialist Party’s Hillfields HQ and who would keep everyone well fed and watered with endless tea, biscuits, crisps, biscuits, pork pie, and BISCUITS!

 

John loved to see so many passionate, political people, especially young comrades, in and out of his house all day for the cause of working people and socialism – it was something he had fought for all his life and until the day he died.

 

John was born in Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1928 to a poor working-class family. He was radicalized at an early age from reading newspapers each day for his dad who was blind, as well as his own experiences seeing the toil of working people in his local area and his own relative’s experiences during WW2.

 

John first started working on the local buses as a driver in Wales before being called up for National Service, which again directed him towards socialist ideas and the struggles of working people across the world.

 

Like many workers across Britain at the time, John moved to Coventry to what was then the richest working-class city in the land.

 

John started again as a bus driver for the Coventry Corporation Transport as it was at the time. He would remain a bus driver for 38 years, a model hard worker, who never took a day off sick but also a ferocious fighter for his fellow workers and class.

 

John quickly became a shop steward for the TGWU union, now Unite, and was part of a militant and powerful shop stewards committee that secured pay, conditions and pensions that were seen as the aspiration for workers in the industry across the country.

 

John would often tell stories about the tactics and methods they would use to defeat management whenever they needed too. And as John would laugh, ‘we always won!’

 

Often they wouldn’t know how to deal with John, he used to like to joke about it, because he was a model worker, nice and polite, but inside a burning hatred of capitalism and the bosses and a determination to fight for anyone in need.

 

During the miners’ strike in 1983 to ‘84, John sacrificed his weekends and all his days off to drive buses for striking miners to flying pickets, protests and demonstrations.

 

John was active in Coventry South East Labour Party since he had arrived in Coventry. Like many other militants and socialists, John supported the local MP Dave Nellist, especially after Dave was expelled for refusing to pay the poll tax and for his socialist views. John continued the support for Dave when he stood as an Independent candidate in 1992.  

 

John remained a member of the Socialist Party for the rest of his life. He loved to see young people getting involved in the struggle for socialism, always taking the time to speak, joke around and thank anyone new he met for the job they were doing for working people everywhere.

 

He knew the obstacles the working class faced across the world so he would always donate generously and willingly to the Socialist Party to help fund election campaigns and other campaigning work.

 

In his retirement, John would spend many days leafleting thousands upon thousands of houses across Coventry for Socialist Party election campaigns, keeping exact detailed reports of how many leaflets he had delivered and to which houses!

 

A wonderful man with a magnificent thirst for knowledge. He loved to learn and also, more importantly, to pass on anything he knew.

 

John did everything he could to practice what he preached. So many people were supported, helped out and inspired in so many ways by John through the many decades of his life.

 

John grew up with Welsh as his first language and would go each week to the local Welsh church in Coventry, despite his rejection of religion, so he could speak Welsh over a cup of tea.

 

John was a real working-class hero who just quietly went about his business, passionately standing up for his class wherever and whenever he could with a smile and his lovely Welsh chuckle.

 

He inspired and helped so many comrades in the struggle for a socialist world.  John will never see this but his contribution will always be remembered.

He will be missed but not forgotten.