Activist and hero Harry Leslie Smith passes

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World War II veteran and Labour activist Harry Leslie Smith standing with refugees

Veteran Labour activist Harry Leslie Smith has died aged 95.

Harry, who served in the Second World War and wrote movingly of the suffering and death of loved ones, friends and neighbours before the foundation of the NHS, campaigned not only for the protection of our health service but stood with refugees and against all the predations of Tory government on our vulnerable citizens, showing an energy that people half his age would have been proud of. He was in Canada when he died, after being hospitalised following a fall.

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Harry as a young man in his military uniform

News of Harry’s illness sparked a worldwide surge of sympathy, solidarity and interest, with leading figures from many nations expressing hope for his recovery under the hashtag #IStandWithHarry.

Harry met his German wife Friede in the devastation of post-war Hamburg and his book about her and their experiences, Love Among the Ruins received huge acclaim. Their son described her as ‘[Harry’s] true homeland’.

Episodes of his ‘Harry’s Last Stand‘ podcast can be downloaded from iTunes, SoundCloud and other services.

The SKWAWKBOX sends sympathy and solidarity to his family. RIP.


  1. I read ‘Harry’s Last Stand’ when it was first published, oddly I was attracted by the sleeve Photograph. It should be in every school library,
    along with ‘Animal Farm’ ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’
    You a true Hero Harry RIP

  2. Inevitable, but still sad. He gave telling and moving testimony for a generation that knew what it’s priorities were, and remembered why – before the bullshit began to dominate.

  3. Thousands of people will shed a tear today at the sad news of Harry’s death. A true Socialist and an example to us all.

  4. God rest him. Unofficially, THE ‘Right Honourable’ , at least in my estimation.

  5. He patiently, but urgently reminded us of the fetid swamp of awful grinding poverty, neglect and human cruelty the labour Party gave us the means to crawl out of and and how easy it would be to slip back into it.

    What are we going to do without him?

  6. ‘A star is torn from amongst us.
    Who believed we were sisters and brothers.
    As Jeremy says we stand on the shoulders of giants.
    Our forefathers and foremothers.’
    I shed a tear at this news.
    Rest in Peace.

  7. RIP to a legend; a fighter for justice for the many and against the few greedy, uncaring despicable individuals.

    The nation mourns for the loss of you. #StandWithHarry. You will live on in our hearts.

  8. Shamefully I was only dimly aware of him but I’ll make a point of reading ‘Harry’s Last Stand’.

    Would #Harry’sNextStand be a fitting tribute?

      1. And me , Thank you Harry and all that you and your generation did for ours and future ones . I hope that we don’t go and piss it all up the wall in the coming months / years .

  9. An absolute gem of a human being, and a wonderful example to us all. Blessings upon him.

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