Jim Brinklow left school at 15 with no qualifications, first working as an apprentice jeweller. Wanderlust struck at age 16.
Jim became a sea cadet, later gaining certificates as an able seaman and a rigger, travelling around the world on merchant vessels.
In 1966 he jumped ship in New Zealand where he took up with Margaret, his landlady’s daughter. Jim started as a docker in Wellington, beginning his trade union life.
He and Margaret Brinklow married in 1967, the year they joined the Socialist Unity Party of New Zealand, a breakaway communist party founded in 1966 to take the pro-Soviet side of the Sino-Soviet split.
In 1969, their party sent them both to the School of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow for a six-month study course. This trip cost Jim his waterside job.
After Jim’s father died, to support his mother, he and Margaret migrated to Britain in 1979. They joined the Communist Party of Great Britain, and became active members of the British-Soviet Friendship Society.
Jim and Margaret became volunteer workers at the Morning Star office in east London for a decade or so. A decade ago he was elected treasurer of the Greater London East branch of the Communist Party of Britain, then served as branch secretary from February 2013 until his death.