- 1884-2002 (mainly 1940-1990) (accumulated -2002, mainly 1960-1984) (Creation)
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Herbert Pearce, or Bert Pearce as he was known, was the full time Welsh Secretary of the Communist Party from 1960 to 1984. He was born on 6 January 1919 in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire and died on 21 August 2002 in Cardiff.
Bert Pearce was educated at the Pembroke Dock County School. His father, originally from Swansea, was a county school teacher and a lay preacher, and his mother was from the South Wales valleys. They were both active Labour Party members and supporters of the peace movement, and Bert Pearce was a Labour Party member himself until he joined the Communist Party in 1938. In 1946 he married Margaret née Forbister [1918-1996] from Rhymney who was a schoolteacher and a life long socialist, with whom he had two children, David and Marian.
He became the full-time area secretary for Wolverhampton from 1938 to 1949, and was employed by the Communist Party Great Britain from then onwards. He was a member of Handsworth (Sheffield) branch, 1938-1945, Midlands District Education and Propaganda Organiser, 1938-1945, a member of the Midlands District Secretariat, 1938-1945, a member of the organisation department of the Midlands district, 1938-1949, Midlands District Industrial Officer, 1949-1952, a member of the Sparkbrook (Birmingham) branch, 1945-1949, and was Birmingham City Secretary from 1953 to 1960.
He was a life-long trade unionist, being an active member of the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union, a Trades Council delegate prior to the bans being imposed by the Communist Party, and served on the Birmingham Trades Council. Later, when he worked in the South Wales Bookshop, he was a member of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
He wrote and edited several pamphlets on industrial work in the Midlands, and was very interested in housing and education policy. His first mass campaign in the Party was the Birmingham Rent Strike of 1939. During his time in Birmingham he also took the lead in the movement against unemployment in the motor industry in 1952-1953, and wrote a pamphlet called 'Jobs for Midlands Workers'. He edited and introduced the first Birmingham pamphlet on the colour bar.
In the 1955 and 1959 General Election Bert Pearce contested the Perry Barr Parliamentary Constituency in Birmingham, and stood four times for the municipal elections in Birmingham. He was the Communist candidate in the Swansea East constituency by-election in March 1963, the 1970 General Election in Neath, and Cardiff South ward, May 1968.
He was a member of the Cardiff branch when he became the full time Welsh Secretary of the Communist Party. His main responsibilities were agendas and progressing of the Welsh Committee and Secretariat, the general political line, propaganda, industrial and social service issues, editing 'Party News', and Young Communist League (YCL) building campaign. He also played an active part in the struggles against unemployment, against pit and factory closures, and for economic and socialist planning for Wales. He was a strong advocate of a Trades Union Congress for Wales, and a Parliament for Wales, and was prominent in the movements for peace, in the Peoples March for Jobs, against racialism and Apartheid, and with the Democratic Left Wales.
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