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British Workers League


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#1 MichaelBully

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

I am reading 'To End All Wars- How The First World War Divided Britain' by Adam Hochschild , Macmillan 2011. There are not footnotes as such, but a list of 'sourcenotes' for each page at the end of the book.

The author discusses the formation of the British Workers League in March 1916, and states

"As in the fascist labour movements to come, several of the League's leaders were distinctly thuggish. Followers of one of them, Joseph Havelock Wilson of the National Saiors' and Firemen's Union, set fire to the office of an anti-war rival, with the man still inside. When he fled the fire, they tried to throw him back in." (page 178)

Sounds a horrific incident, but did it really happen? There are no details given, re date, location, were charges brought, and the incident is not referenced. Anyone heard of this taking place?

#2 Terry_Reeves

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:27 PM

Some film of the BWL here. If the author hasn't given a source I would treat the information with care.

http://www.britishpa...rs-league-march


TR

#3 MichaelBully

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:42 PM

Thanks Terry. Yes - being honest, I am not impressed with the book in any case. That's just my opinion, but I would advise anybody to cross reference before citing this work.
I will contact the Peace Pledge Union archivist to see if they have heard of this incident. Regards, Michael Bully

Some film of the BWL here. If the author hasn't given a source I would treat the information with care.

http://www.britishpa...rs-league-march


TR



#4 centurion

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:21 PM

It would seem that a number of unions at the time were not above violence against each other. There was an Old Baily case in 1912 against a dock worker for shooting an official of the National Amalgamated Sailors' and Firemen's Union (to give them their full title) and it appears that there was a turf war between the two unions in both Glasgow and Liverpool.



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