Born 7 April 1897, the son of William and Mary Roberts, Abertillery, Monmouthshire. He went to work as a collier at thirteen years of age. He won a scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford, and in 1919 to the Central Labour College, London. He was appointed a checkweigher for Rhymney colliers in 1921 and five years later was appointed the representative of the colliers in the Rhymney Valley. He was general secretary of the National Union of Social Workers from 1934 to 1962 when he retired due to ill-health. The union grew considerably under his leadership. He was a representative at the American Labour Federation in 1942 and was one of the deputation of Labour unionists to China in 1954. For a period he was a member of a committee on social workers in the Mental Health Service and was prominent as a local government councillor in Wales. Although he was a very able man he did not rise to prominence amongst the Labour leaders as one might have expected. He published a number of pamphlets and books such as At the TUC (1947), As I see it (1957) and The price of TUC leadership (1961) in which he did not hesitate to criticise the organisation of the Labour movement.
He married Violet Mary Sheenan in 1922, they had one son and two daughters. He died 26 August 1964 at his home in White Cottage, 11 Scotts Lane, Shortlands, Kent, after a long illness.
Published date: 2001
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