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Dave Springhall

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Subject: Communist Party of Great Britain, Peter Kerrigan, John Gollan, Idris Cox, Bob Stewart (politician)
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Dave Springhall

Headstone for Douglas Frank Springhall on the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing.

Douglas Frank Springhall (28 March 1901 – 2 September 1953), known as Dave Springhall, was a British communist activist.

Born in Kensal Green, Springhall joined the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen, during World War I. In 1920, he wrote "Discontent on the Lower Deck", an article for the communist publication Workers' Dreadnought, leading to his dismissal from the Navy for "associating with extremists".[1]

Springhall joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and its affiliated Young Communist League (YCL). He worked as a builder, but struggled to find employment, focussing his time on the National Unemployed Workers' Committee Movement and the trade union movement. He stood as a Labour Party candidate for Richmond Town Council, then later as a Communist candidate, but was not elected.[1]

In 1924, Springhall was a delegate to the Fifth Congress of the Communist International, and also the Fourth Congress of the Young Communist International. In 1926, following the imprisonment of William Rust, he became Acting Secretary of the YCL, serving during the British general strike, for which he was twice jailed himself. From 1928 to 1931, Springhall studied at the International Lenin School. He then returned to the UK, when he led moves to expel Trotskyists from the CPGB.[1] From this period on, he may have been working for the GRU.[2]

During the Rajani Palme Dutt.[1]

In 1943, Springhall was imprisoned, and also removed from his party posts, after he was convicted of receiving secret information from an Air Ministry employee.[1] It subsequently emerged that he had also obtained classified information from Desmond Uren of the Special Operations Executive.[2] He served four-and-a-half years of a seven-year penal servitude sentence. On his release, he worked in advertising before travelling through Eastern Europe to China, where he worked as an advisor to the Chinese Information Bureau of the Press Administration. He travelled to Moscow in 1953 to receive treatment for throat cancer, but died there.[1] His grave is located at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "COMMUNIST HISTORY NETWORK NEWSLETTER, No 5, April 1998
  2. ^ a b "Douglas Frank SPRINGHALL", National Archives
Media offices
Preceded by
Rajani Palme Dutt
Editor of the Daily Worker
Succeeded by
John Ross Campbell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ernie Cant?
London District Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Ted Bramley
Preceded by
R. W. Robson
National Organiser of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Peter Kerrigan
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