Second World War veteran, best-selling author and anti-austerity activist Harry Leslie Smith celebrated his 95th birthday on Sunday (February 25).
Harry, who has worked with Unite and the wider Labour movement on various campaigns, has most recently embarked on a mission to raise awareness of the plight of refugees in Europe and globally.
Born to a destitute mining family in Barnsley, Harry enlisted in the army as a young man. When he and others of his generation returned to Britain after having witnessed the horrors of war, they pledged they would never go back to the poverty they knew as children — and so the modern welfare state was born.
Among other books, Harry is the author of his memoirs, Harry’s Last Stand, in which he makes an impassioned plea for the defence of the NHS and the welfare state. Harry rose to fame in the UK after a rousing speech he gave at the Labour Party Conference in 2014.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey congratulated Harry on his birthday.
“You are an inspiration,” he said. “You are for the many, never the few. Thank you for everything you do.”