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Will (Thomas William) Paynter 1903-1984

Red Line

Born Whitchurch, Cardiff. Began work at 13 on a farm and then as a collier’s assistant from the age of 14. He became checkweigher at Cymmer colliery until 1931 when he became unemployed and played a key role in organising the National Unemployed Workers Movement. Paynter also joined the Communist party during this time and remained a lifelong member.

In 1937 he was selected as representative of the International Brigade and travelled out to Spain to serve with the British battalion in the Spanish Civil War. His trade unionist activities continued and in 1939 he became miners’ agent for the Rhymney Valley. He served as President of the South Wales Area National Union of Mineworkers’ from 1951 to 1959 and General Secretary from 1959 to 1969.


Communist Party of Great Britain. South Wales District Committee. Communists in South Wales : policy and aims. (Cardiff : South Wales District of the Communist Party, 1941.)

Paynter, Will. British trade-unions and the problem of change. (Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1970.)

Paynter, Will. My generation. (London : Allen and Unwin, 1972.)

Paynter, Will and Horner, Arthur. Outlook for mining. (London: Communist Party, 1958.)

All items listed in the further reading are available for consultation in either the South Wales Miners’ Library or the Library and Information Centre, University of Wales Swansea. Click here to link to the library catalogue. 


Will (Thomas William) Paynter 1903-1984

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