Born in Jarrow, South Shields, in the middle of the Great Depression, John Hindmarch was an extraordinary individual. He left South Shields to look for work at the end of the Second World War, and eventually landed up in Birmingham.
He worked for car parts manufacturer Hardy Spicer from 1970, and became a senior steward on the night shift.
By the mid-1970s he had become a member of the International Socialists, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). He remained a supporter of the SWP and reader of Socialist Worker to the end of his life.
John had a sharp mind and keen sense of humour. He was utterly dedicated to his class and fought every day of his life. While at Hardy Spicer, he made sure that management never got away with anything.
In retirement, he became chair of his local housing association, wringing every improvement possible out the system.
But John was much more than a militant fighter for his class. He was a self-taught, highly cultured individual.
He loved music. One year he left me Jessye Norman’s rendition of Strauss’s four last songs as a thank you for letting him stay for the Marxism festival. He could talk about Shostakovich and Russian music for hours.
Conversations were often peppered with a suitable quote from Shakespeare.
And after he retired, he became the scourge of his lecturers when he took A-levels in English, Maths, Sociology and French.
As part of a team from Hardy Spicer, he had helped win more than 60 quiz competitions all over Birmingham—always donating the proceeds to charity.
To all who met and worked with John, he left indelible memories, stories to tell, jokes to remember. He was a self-deprecating man of principle, a socialist who would never bend his knee to the ruling class.
Those who knew him are richer for the experience. His death is a loss to all of us.