... by Ernie Trory

Ernie Trory - 1913-2000

Ernie Trory

This was Ernie's obituary in Revolutionary Democracy magazine.

Ernie Trory was born in Fulham, London and was raised in Brighton, Sussex. He was educated at Brighton Grammar School and Ardingley College. He left school at the age of fifteen. His initial political activity took place in the local Conservative Party and the Junior Imperial League but on being convinced by the arguments of his opponents he became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain at the age of eighteen in 1931 and joined the Hunger Marchers the following year. In the years leading up to the Second World War he was engaged in political and economic activity including the fight against the fascist Blackshirts led by Oswald Mosley, working for the Shop Assistants Union, and as Sussex Communist Party Organiser. He visited the Soviet Union in 1936 and his observations in Moscow and Leningrad cemented his lifelong commitment to the cause of communism. In 1939 -1941, the period of inter-imperialist war between Germany, France and Britain, he laid heavy stress on the need to strike roots in the factories to counter the imperialist propaganda against the Soviet Union which became particularly intense during the period of the Finland war when influential sections of the British ruling class favoured war against the first land of socialism.

Ernie Trory was called up by the army in 1940 but after training he was considered too much of a security risk for front line duties. After ten months in the army he was discharged in May, 1941 together with other former full-time organisers of the Communist Party. Under the Direction of Labour Act he was sent to work in the Southern Railway Road Maintenance Department where he joined the National Union of Railwaymen and penned many political articles for the union paper ‘Railway Review’. He later worked at Caffyn's Garage in Haywards Heath rebuilding army lorries and joined the Amalgamated Engineering Union where he became Shop Steward.

After the war Ernie Trory founded the Crabtree Press under whose imprint he published his political and historical writings. He returned to engineering near retirement. In the 1960s he visited most of the people's democratic states in Europe. His sojourn in Socialist Albania which coincided with the 1967 six-day war made a profound impression on him. In 1977 he became a founder member of the New Communist Party. He wrote occasionally for the New Worker and from 1998 he initiated the practice of reviewing each issue of Revolutionary Democracy in that paper. He regularly contributed to Northstar Compass.

The literary legacy of Ernie Trory is considerable. Three major volumes, Between the Wars, Imperialist War and War of Liberation, all sub-titled Recollections of a Communist Organiser, form a masterly survey of unfolding political events from the Depression right through to the end of the Second World War based on the contemporary communist literature, historical sources and personal reminiscences. The post-war period to 1960 is analysed in two volumes entitled Peace and the Cold War. It is a major loss that the projected third volume of this series will remain uncompleted. Of exceptional importance is his monograph How Did It Happen? The Dialectics of Counter-Revolution which is an insightful and detailed analysis of the rise of ‘market socialism’ in the USSR under Khrushchev and Gorbachev in the light of Stalin's last work Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR.

The memory of Ernie Trory will live on through this life's work and his writings.