This article was amended on 27 Jan 2017
I was born in NW London in 1956. My dad was in the Young Communist League (YCL) and Communist Party (CP) in the 1930s and 1940s and was an obvious influence in my formative years. My mother’s parents lived with us in a semi-detached house in Harrow. My mum’s grandfather was Scottish, and had three brothers. His eldest brother stayed on the family farm, my grandfather and his other two brothers set off for World War 1. My grandfather was the lucky one, he was gassed on the Somme and discharged in October 1916…his brothers did not come home. My mum was born 2 weeks before the end of the war – her unique name reflects both being a winsome lass and my grandad’s survival – she was christened Winnsom. Although my dad was a communist, I think my grandfather was the real rebel. He was a chauffeur, working for a variety of rich masters, but refused to let his wife or daughter (my mother) be employed in service as chamber maids or similar. This led to frequently falling out with butlers and housekeepers. As a result, my grandfather walked out of numerous jobs and my mother went to over a dozen schools.
I went to a top grammar school in Harrow, although didn’t really apply myself. When I was about 15 I became involved in the school council, and through that, Harrow Youth Council. I rapidly became exposed to broader political issues including CND and Anti-Apartheid.
Harrow YCL was very active in the Youth Council, and I started attending weekly meetings, usually with external speakers. I went to an Aldermaston four-day march (against nuclear weapons) and a demonstration against the Portuguese Fascist leader Caetano. I joined the YCL at a communist rally at the Rainbow Theatre in London in July 1973 and a few weeks later attended the 10th World Youth Festival in Berlin in the German Democratic Republic as a delegate from the recently formed National Union of School Students.
Well, what an introduction to international politics! The experience began on the train that had been hired to take us through Europe to Berlin. I remember Stan Keable, Ken’s brother, coming into our compartment. I was with Perry Miles and Derek Burden from Harrow YCL, and heard about Esperanto for the first time. There was then a major incident at Aachen where a number of delegations including the Syrians and Iraqis were removed from the train by the West German border police. An immediate impromptu demonstration was organised on the platform, eventually resulting in the complete delegations continuing on our journey to Berlin.
There were about 25,000 delegates from all over the world at this anti-imperialist Festival for two weeks of rallies, singing and discussions and I spent my time absorbing a plethora of ideas and impressions, and singing Bandiera Rossa in the streets. I remember not quite understanding the reason for the huge reception for the Chilean delegation, the cream of the Allende youth… sadly many would perish less than two months later in the CIA supported coup that killed Allende and put Pinochet in power. Each week about 1.5 million members of the FDJ (Free German Youth) were hosting us. It was a fantastic experience!
I was somewhat aware of tensions and political differences within the delegation. Harrow YCL was very much in the Internationalist / pro-Soviet side of debates that had raged inside the YCL, particularly since the intervention by Warsaw Pact forces in Prague in 1968. I remember seeing Peter Tatchell’s one-man demonstration about gay rights in Eastern Europe. I came away from Berlin enthused and inspired, and was to a large degree close to being a full-time revolutionary for the next 17 years – until the Communist Party (CP) virtually disappeared in 1990.
Although Harrow YCL was a numerically small branch, almost all the members were active (probably closer to a youth communist party). We had weekly meetings with speakers, including international speakers from Southern Africa, solidarity movements, labour movement issues as well as regular education classes. We leafleted, attended demonstrations almost every week and then went to socials somewhere in London on Saturday night and drinking and singing at the Metropolitan Pub on Sunday evenings. On my 18th birthday I joined the CP. Within a couple of years I was a leading activist in the CP and the YCL. Virtually every night and all weekend involved some sort of political activity. We regularly went to Brick Lane to confront the fascists; marched to free Mandela – albeit on marches of only a few hundred; worked in international solidarity groups including Chile, Iraq, Palestine, Namibia and Vietnam. We marched against the National Front in Red Lion Square (Kevin Gately killed), Southall (Blair Peach killed), Lewisham.
In 1974 it was clear that my studies were suffering, although I had rarely worked anyway. I dropped out of A Levels and naively went to my borough CP secretary and asked him where he wanted me to work! – I assumed the Party directed us to where we have most political impact, but he had no idea what I was talking about… I had a couple of cousins who were Firemen, and the Fire Brigade was in a period of restructuring and recruiting heavily, so I applied, squeaked through the physical assessments and started my training as a London fireman on 9th September 1974 at Ruislip Fire Station, a one-time-only training station.
The training regime was quite challenging, but at that time reduced to ten weeks and at Ruislip was less regimented than at the main training centre in Southwark. I was not very fit when I started, but after ten weeks could happily run two stops chasing a bus and catch it up! Some of the drills were pretty scary, in particular hook ladders that utilised one or two 13 foot ladders to scale a building vertically. Another drill involved practicing carrying each other down a ladder, simulating rescuing from a building (this drill was subsequently replaced with carrying a dummy). Half way through the ten weeks of training, we were practicing carry-downs. One of the bigger trainees was struggling carrying an equivalent-sized “casualty”, so I was volunteered as a lighter alternative. I was attached to a safety harness and safety rope, and his attempt to carry me down commenced. Unfortunately about 20 feet from the ground he attempted to buck me up higher on his back as he was struggling to continue, he swung around and fell off the ladder with me on his back! I held onto him as I was attached to the safety harness but unfortunately we hit the ground, just missing the large metal wheels on the Escape Ladder…. My colleague ended up in hospital and exited the Fire Brigade, I was battered and bruised but seemed OK – and the next day was the General Election and I was keen to be helping at the polling station for the CP candidate, Les Burt in Brent. We thought he would get thousands of votes but only received 318! I managed to complete my training and passed out, and was stationed to Red Watch at Fire Station G30 Wembley.
I loved most of my time in the Fire Brigade, and formed some very strong friendships. It was different, exciting, glamourous and personally very testing. At times I was scared of drills (particularly carry-downs!) but progressed well and at times was in temporary charge of a fire engine – pretty intimidating when you were 21, the driver was 20 and the three firemen in the back were 18 or 19! We of course went to some exciting fires, accidents and incidents, and saw some gruesome sights. Only once in four years did I think I was in real trouble, when I lost the guideline on the way-out of a smoke-filled factory with only a few minutes of compressed air left, but found my way out.
Of course I became very involved in the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) both at a watch and station level. The FBU was very progressive and I assumed that the CP was well organised and influential. However when I enquired through the CP Industrial Organiser was told that there were no known CP members in the FBU! A few weeks later at a CP social in London I was chatting to someone who turned out to be both a Fireman and in the CP! I of course kept in touch, and we and other communists were very active particularly through the National Strike in November 1977 which included organising some CP public meetings at which I spoke. However it was unlikely that I was going to get promotion, the recruitment drive had meant hundreds of potential candidates for very limited vacancies. I had contemplated a different career, and applied for a job in Vietnam (I had worked closely with Medical Aid for Vietnam) but my French was not good enough. I had filled up a hospital card with a variety of injuries, scrapes and burns and in the Summer of 1978 had a bad fall at work and was subsequently disabled out at the age of 23 after some months off sick.
In the Summer of 1974 I went on an exchange trip to Czechoslovakia. We stayed in trade union hotels – when they came to England in 1975 they stayed on the Co-op Hall floor! It was again a great experience, but I’ve never drunk so much in my life, even beer for breakfast. In 1975 I went back to East Germany, planning on staying with a girl that I had met at the World Youth Festival – we met up, she was as pretty as I remembered, and was very happy me staying with her and her fiancée… not quite what I had hoped for. In 1976 I went on a Progressive Tours trip to the USSR. We visited Vilnius, Pskov and Moscow. I had a great time, and near the end of my holiday went to a USSR – British Friendship Society event. A beautiful Soviet girl called Ludmila came and sat next to me. Unfortunately we could not converse, so I had to get a Russian speaker in our group to ask her out for me, and we arranged to meet the following day at a Metro station. I waited 59 minutes after our arranged time for her to arrive, and after almost giving up she arrived – so I will always wait at least an hour for someone special! We had a lovely holiday romance, repeated when I returned in 1977 (60th Anniversary) and then she wrote to me that she was about to get married which was great because it had only then been a holiday romance. Subsequently her marriage did not work out and we met again many times, resulting in us getting engaged and I planned to live in Moscow. I had a very amusing interview with Moscow Radio where, in an old fashioned radio booth, I was given a passage to read in English… I was told “very good, no mistakes!”. My parents visited Moscow to meet Ludmila, but sadly I found the logistics and the likely wait too long and emotionally challenging, so in the early Spring of 1981 broke off the engagement, one of my life’s few regrets, and certainly a ‘what if’...
In the Summer of 1978, I was a delegate from the Fire Brigades Union to the 11th World Youth Festival in Havana. As you can imagine, having been a very new and inexperienced YCL’er in 1973, Cuba was going to be a whole different experience and was something wonderful to look forward to! About ten days before we were due to travel I was informed that there were “insufficient travel facilities” and I and a few others could not attend the Festival. As you can imagine I was very angry and upset, but was unable to attend. So at the last minute, I managed to arrange a holiday with three older comrades to the Greek Islands; we had a great time (and repeated it the following year!). I think they were concerned how I might respond to the disappointment of Cuba. As it happened it was an important part of my development, and I spent many long hours in political discussion, in amongst the sun and surf – one of these comrades was Pete Smith, another London Recruit, but we only discovered our individual involvement over 30 years later….
After leaving the Fire Brigade, in the Summer of 79 I worked for the Russian Shop (with Derek Kotz a YCLer from Hackney), mainly as a delivery driver and occasionally working in the warehouse. They sold Soviet souvenirs, Matryoshka dolls, porcelain etc. There was a major exhibition in London, promoting the forthcoming Moscow Olympics. In September 79 I did an 18 weeks TOPS training course in Computer Programming, and after a few weeks of unemployment found a job as a Trainee Programmer at Harrow Council – by then the largest employer in Harrow. I naturally became very involved in NALGO (local government trade union) activities, fairly soon becoming Executive Chairman of a branch of 2000. I remained active at branch and district level, and working closely with other communists particularly with Ivan Beavis, the secretary of NALGO in London. We very successfully promoted the Morning Star at conferences and had an effective CP impact at conference and in international activities of the union.
So from 1973 to 1983 I had been very active in YCL, CP, FBU and NALGO and was deeply involved in a wide range of Internationalist and trade union struggles. This of course involved the struggle against growing issues in the YCL and CP of anti-Soviet and Anti-Party ideas. Unfortunately attempts to unite all pro-party forces together failed, and at times sectarian and opportunist thinking and actions by some on the “left” contributed to the eventual fragmentation within the party.
Going back a few years, in 1978 I was at one of the regular YCL or CP Saturday night socials when a good friend, and older comrade, Bob Newland took me to one side for a chat. It was quite unusual and somewhat early as we were still sober! I think we subsequently continued to chat in a coffee shop a few days later. I knew Bob well, both through YCL activities but also we both assisted in providing security at international solidarity events usually Southern Africa related – Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia.
Bob quietly explained the challenges faced by the liberation movement in South Africa, and how the ANC had asked for assistance from young people in London, mainly from within the YCL. This might consist of discreet support activities in UK, such as posting letters to South Africa. The discussion was carefully managed, initially explaining that I was being approached based on knowledge of me, my circumstances and character. Step by step I was asked if I would be prepared to assist the ANC, but also keep it a complete secret? Would I be prepared to take risks? Might I be prepared to travel to South Africa, purporting to be a tourist to undertake a “propaganda” mission? As I assented to each, Bob told me more and then arranged for me to meet an ANC and SACP activist based in London, Aziz Pahad. He had taken on the role of guiding the London Recruits previously played by Ronnie Kasrils, who had returned to Southern Africa in 1977.
I met with Aziz in a café and spent a couple of hours understanding more about what might be involved if I agreed to work with him and the ANC. I suppose there were several dimensions to the proposition. Firstly you could tell nobody, that is nobody, potentially for ever, about your involvement. Secondly if you went to South Africa there was a tangible risk that you could be arrested (note three of the London Recruits were arrested, and two spent many years in South African jails). Thirdly the role could consist of many different things, based on need, circumstances and opportunity. It is hard to imagine how much this conversation, and the subsequent events, changed my life.
I had been a Communist for about 5 years, was very active in both the YCL and CP, and Internationalism was at the heart of my beliefs and practice. I also read widely, and as well as Soviet literature was particularly interested in books regarding the Spanish Civil War and the anti-fascist struggle in Germany during the Second World War. I remember consciously thinking about being imprisoned and tortured, but also slightly regretted not living in a time such as the 1930s where one could practically participate in an act of internationalism such as volunteering to fight in Spain to defend the Republic. My agreement to work for the ANC was therefore a conscious and informed decision, with my eyes open…
I had a number of meetings with Aziz over quite a short period of time, initially focussing on basic “trade craft”, such as how to make sure you were not being followed, telephone protocols etc. My “code name” was Gerald and I continued to use this for the next 7 years!
At this time, I was engaged to my Soviet fiancée Ludmila, and was still travelling frequently to the USSR as often as I could. It was therefore impossible to undertake a mission to South Africa, even if it was on the agenda. As well as continuing to meet Aziz during 1979 and 1980, I was tasked with posting significant volumes of letters from the UK to Southern Africa. This consisted of receiving a sack of letters every couple of months and ensuring that I posted the letters from a wide range of different post boxes and different times and days. Aziz encouraged me to continue to practice my trade craft, and this pattern of activities continued into the early weeks of 1981.
Following the ending of my engagement to Ludmila, there was a slight silver lining – it would allow me to travel to South Africa if required.
A few weeks later, Aziz discussed with me a possible mission to South Africa in July 1981, and might I be interested. I of course confirmed I would be interested and more detailed discussions commenced.
I know now that the mission was initiated by Joe Slovo and ‘the doc’ Yusuf Dadoo to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the South African Communist Party (SACP). I was going to travel to South Africa with Simon, a London comrade I knew well from Haringey YCL. I think he lived just off of Fortis Green Road.
Simon and I met a number of times with Aziz, of course always at different locations and playing particular attention to personal security to ensure we were not followed. We spent more time now discussing and practicing tradecraft. It could now make the difference between being arrested and coming back safely! One of my early tasks was to organise a new passport. My existing one was full of visas and stamps from the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union – which would certainly have raised some eyebrows in South Africa! So I carefully spilt a whole bottle of ink over the old passport, and then sheepishly went to the Passport Office bemoaning my clumsiness.
A more detailed plan started to emerge; we were to travel via Nairobi to Johannesburg. We would then spend a couple of days there and then on to Cape Town where the plan was to construct, install and detonate a number of leaflet “bombs” to safely distribute leaflets to black workers, whilst minimising the risk of getting caught.
One of the major tasks was to learn how to construct these devices so a weekend trip was organised to Bristol, where an ANC and SACP comrade, Ron Press lived. He was an engineer and chemist and had worked on a number of technical projects for the ANC including designing these leaflet bombs and building the detonators. He was a great guy and as well as learning how to build the devices we discussed a wide range of subjects. We spent some hours repetitively constructing devices from raw materials and then went into the woods to set them off, well away from any public area. It was very successful so we came away quite confident that we would be able to repeat the process when we were in Cape Town. The design aimed at purchasing locally in South Africa almost all the components, with only the detonator and leaflets needing smuggling into the country.
As the date for departure drew nearer, we received monies from Aziz, and booked our tickets. We also received suitcases, already prepared with false bottoms containing the leaflets and detonators. Simon and I spent many hours poring over maps and making provisional plans. I also made some appointments with potential employers in Cape Town, including Shell, as part of my cover story for travelling. I had told my family I was going on holiday to Holland and Simon had provided his family a similar story. The day had arrived and I met Simon at Heathrow and we had a fairly uneventful trip to Jo’burg.
As you can imagine we were very nervous going through customs, with thousands of communist leaflets hidden in the bottom of our suitcases, but everything went smoothly. We were two white tourists, enjoying a two week trip to South Africa, and I was exploring the possibility of emigrating to work as a Computer Programmer in their booming economy…..
Well it didn’t take long for the culture shock to hit us. The obvious manifestations of Apartheid were everywhere, with signs for Blankes (Whites) only and seeing almost parallel worlds side by side. However we had to play the role of tourists, and possible emigres. This was not always easy. I remember walking down the high street and turning my head admiringly to watch a beautiful girl walk past. As I continued my journey down the street a middle-aged white gentleman was walking towards me giving me a very strange look. I was puzzled until I realised that the girl I was so admiring was black! Oops…
We stayed in Joubert Park in Jo’burg, and spent time just getting used to being in South Africa, strolling through the streets. We played the tourist role, including visiting a gold mine and a museum in Pretoria - this included a fascinating display about ANC and Communist “terrorism”! We then caught an internal flight to Cape Town, complete with false-bottomed suitcases. As we descended in to land, we had great views of the most beautiful city in the world! The back drop of Table Mountain, the two oceans meeting at Cape Agulhas, glorious sunshine in the middle of Winter… and of course Robben Island just of the coast, home for Nelson Mandela and his fellow political prisoners for over 20 years.
We booked into the Capetonian Hotel. It was near the Foreshore and what is now the Waterfront, a trendy centre of restaurants, shops and bars, although at the time there was no access to the sea or harbour from Cape Town city centre. The hotel was a good quality hotel, very well positioned, and more importantly had an internal car-park accessed via lifts from within the hotel. So now the planning commenced.
Our aim was to plant approximately six devices in locations where black workers congregate or pass in large numbers, but there were some practical limitations as the main townships near Cape Town of Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu were closed to whites without special permission. We had a number of associated tasks. Firstly we had to purchase all the components to make the devices, including tools. We had to scout for potential locations to plant the devices, and because of the limitations of the timers, we had to be able to plant them all in under an hour. We had to be constantly vigilant and therefore had to apply our trade-craft in the real world.
We hired a car and started driving around looking for possible locations, as well as appearing to be enthusiastic tourists. We also tried to familiarise ourselves with routes and traffic, and made careful timing notes. We also created some specific walking routes, in particular I remember through Golden Acre Shopping Centre, where there were lots of windows, reflections and control areas where it should be relatively easy to spot if we were being followed. I also went to a couple of job interviews, keeping the appointment letters and brochures, as part of my cover story if it was ever required.
The device consisted of an empty 2 litre large can, a wooden platform, the home-made explosives, batteries and wires, and then the components from our hidden compartment in the suitcase, the detonators, timers and of course the leaflets. The only slightly difficult component (from memory) was aluminium powder, which we couldn’t get, so therefore bought some aluminium tubing. We also remembered to purchase replacement suitcases for the journey home.
Slowly the planned locations were narrowed down. We chose four locations in the centre of Cape Town, and four out of town spots including Nyanga Bus Station. In the town centre one location was the top of a multi-storey car park overlooking the Grand Parade where the workers’ buses arrived, and another was on a major construction site where a new hotel was being built. We reluctantly dismissed the Central Railway Station as the roof of the concourse was too low! Everything was now in place, with the target date 29th July 1981.
After an early morning breakfast on 28th, and after the maid had finished cleaning our room, we locked ourselves away and started the construction process. The most time-consuming task was cutting up the aluminium, and then mixing and grinding the pre-cursor chemicals that made up the explosive. The aluminium was a real pain, we had lots of hacksaw blades for our small saw, but the soft metal clogged up the saw teeth! We were grinding and measuring the final mixture in the en-suite basin. We created a mini production line, finishing each device, with wires taped up so they couldn’t detonate accidently. We were exhausted so placed the 7 devices in the wardrobe and went down to dinner. Somewhat embarrassingly for our super undercover operatives we had locked our room key in the room! At about 10 pm at night, on the day before D-day, we therefore had to get the porter to unlock our door, with 7 leaflet bombs hiding inside… We went out for a brief late night walk, and carefully disposed of our broken-up false-bottomed suitcases in numerous bins around town.
At about 0530 on 29th, we left our hotel room, and with slightly bulky shopping bags made our way to the basement. We set off on our pre-planned route and, at each of the four out of town locations, connected the batteries to the timer and left the devices, trying not to draw undue attention to ourselves. We then parked in town and placed the remaining four devices: one at the top of the car park, one in a bin in the Grand Parade, one in a bin in Greenmarket Square and the final one at the construction site. It was now about 7.30 so we made our way to a coffee shop in the town centre and ordered breakfast. This was probably the worst 30 minutes of our trip – not fear of arrest but fear of failure, of letting down the SACP and all the comrades that had made the trip possible… would the devices work??
At about 0800 there was a loud bang, probably the device at the hotel (Southern Sun) construction site. Well, a big relief, at least one device had detonated, but we had no idea if it had successfully distributed the leaflets.
We now put the next stage of the plan into action, and headed in the car to the Table Mountain cable car station to play the role of innocent tourists. We spent 3 or 4 hours up the mountain, enjoying a fantastic view in the Winter sunshine, and trying to keep our nerves in check. We then drove to Camps Bay beach, and - despite the locals being dressed in coats - stripped off and sun-bathed between sand-dunes! At 1pm we gathered around the radio in the car, and tuned in to the lunchtime news. The main item was the widespread detonations of “pamphlet bombs” in Cape Town and environs, and the urgent security police search for the perpetrators – YEAH!!!
Well what a relief, the months of planning, the days of tension and sleepless nights – success! However we were still aware of the risks, so tried to relax. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a newsagent to get an evening paper – we struggled to get served as a lot of local white English-speaking residents were crowded around a small television on the counter watching the Charles – Diana wedding! So the plan was now to keep a low profile, don’t do anything silly and continue being tourists for another two or three days before we left.
Under Apartheid, there were four main racial groups. White, Black (living in designated townships out of town like Soweto), Indian (mainly in Durban) and Coloured (historically mixed race, often due to slave owners “sleeping with” slaves and immigrants including Cape Malays). White, Indian and Coloured all lived within Cape Town and suburbs, but in clearly defined areas. A lot of the lower paid clerical and administrative staff, catering and hotel staff were “Coloured”. Obviously at this time, and up until 1985, mixed marriage between race groups was not possible and sex across colour lines was illegal!
On the morning of the 30th, with the Cape Town newspaper headlines heralding our success, it was, as you can imagine, hard not to express emotion and pride, but not a little concern when we read about the security police closing in on the suspects.
That day we pottered around the shops, checked we were not being followed and returned to our rooms early evening. At about 6 pm our room phone rang (for the first time since we had arrived)…. It was our Coloured maid, who had cleaned our room each day. I must admit I found her very attractive, and we had flirted a little with each other…. She said that she and some friends of hers would like to meet us that evening, and we were in a quandary. I asked her to phone back in a few minutes. Apart from the obvious risk of meeting with some Coloured girls in Apartheid South Africa (to be honest I cannot remember this being much considered by two 25 year old, single hot-blooded guys), our bigger concern was that she may have found something incriminating in the room such as a dropped leaflet or similar. It could therefore be a trap or maybe blackmail, we were pretty stressed. However we agreed that the only option was to meet and play it by ear.
We collected the girls, there were three of them, at the back of a hotel in Sea Point, where it turns out they lived. There was nothing suspicious; they just wanted a night out! They suggested we paired off, and the third girl stayed behind. One of their friends was lovely and probably the instigator of the evening, and she sat up front with me, Simon paired off with the other friend, and then sadly our maid stayed behind. So two days after setting off leaflet bombs, intrepid Will and Simon roamed around Cape Town with two Coloured maids in the car! We tried the beach, but it was too cold, and stopped a few times for a kiss and cuddle at the side of the road. We had had a few drinks, so pulled up in a back street in town to relieve ourselves. When we were back in the car and about to set off, a police car pulled up next to us… apparently we were around the corner from the Police Station in Caledon Square – brilliant, guys! Fortunately our strong London accents and confirmation we were tourists, was followed by a strong suggestion that we drop the ladies home and return to the hotel alone – which we duly did.
Two days later we flew home, using our replacement suitcases. I had posted some of the press cuttings and a couple of the leaflets home, so we had nothing incriminating with us, and had no problems at the airport. We arrived back in England, and I remember sneaking into the house so my parents did not see my new suitcase which would have warranted an explanation.
A few days later we met with Aziz for a de-brief. He was of course very pleased and the next edition of The African Communist included details of the leaflet bombings in the editorial. Simon and I then met up for a personal celebration, looked at the photos which he had developed and had put into a special album, and at a few future social events where we met we exchanged knowing glances. However, as Aziz stressed again to us, our story could never be discussed in any way, or even be hinted at, to anybody. We locked it away, almost like it had never happened. We were immensely proud of our contribution, no matter how small, and were happy that we knew what we had done.
Over 35 years later, I heard an interview with Mary Chamberlain on BBC Radio 4 about the plan to make a film of the “London Recruits”. Two weeks later I walked into a planning meeting, and was confronted with this room of men and women in their 60s and 70s who were discussing their exploits a lifetime ago. I embraced Bob Newland who had recruited me 38 years before, and Pete Smith who I had last seen on a Greek Island in 1979! I could finally tell my story, and this is it…..
This is only a first chapter of the impact that my London Recruit activities had on my life. At the behest of the SACP and ANC I returned to South Africa and lived a double life in Cape Town from 1983 to 1985, but that is another story….