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Launch tribute to post-war activist, ‘Skipper’

24 May, 2019 — By Angela Cobbinah

Billy ‘Skipper’ Strachan

FORMER Islington youth worker Winston Pinder was in full flow at the launch of a booklet about his one-time friend, Billy Strachan, an RAF war hero who also made a name for himself as a political activist during the 1950s.

Mr Pinder, who was deputy senior youth worker at Islington and went on to be Hackney’s youth chief in the 1980s, looked back on his friendship with the man everyone called “Skipper”.

Written by historian David Horsley, the booklet recounts how Mr Strachan left Jamaica at 18 to join the British war effort, rising through the ranks to become a flight lieutenant in RAF Bomber Command. A member of the Communist Party, he went on to become a leading political activist but worked as a lawyer, serving as a clerk to the magistrates at Marylebone, Hampstead and Clerkenwell.

“I hope the book can help restore Billy’s position as a key activist and intellectual of post-war Britain,” said Mr Horsley, a member of Caribbean Labour Solidarity, which facilitated the publication.

The Clapham launch included a contribution from Billy’s son, Chris.


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