Obituary: Frank Mills, 1939 – 2012

Frank Mills, good comrade and friend, has sadly passed away after an extraordinary battle lasting ten years against the illness that eventually killed him. He was born in the Scotland Road area of Liverpool and remained true to his class.

Frank was an outstanding working class fighter, ex-seafarer and active trade unionist in the National Union of Seamen.

On returning ashore, he became a member of the GMWU (now the GMB) and a shop steward and branch officer at Dunlops in the Walton constituency.

When that plant closed he worked part-time for the union organising in the pub trade, during which he organised a strike at Maggie’s in Bootle.

Frank made an outstanding contribution as a leading member of the Liverpool socialist council in 1983-1987 when he stood shoulder to shoulder with his comrades and never flinched when the establishment and its media launched horrendous attack after attack on the 47 socialist councillors because they refused to carry through the cuts demanded by the then Thatcher government.

He was part of the negotiating team that secured sufficient funding from the Thatcher government, which allowed the council to continue its electoral programme of building houses and creating jobs.

In addition to his record as a fighting socialist, he was well known for his sense of humour, which he continued to display during his years of illness.

He retained his passionate defence of the 47 and the ideas of socialism long after many had succumbed to the notion that the ‘free market’ was the ‘only game in town’.

He viewed the capitalist infiltrators into the tops of the Labour Party and their underlings with unbridled contempt and gave his utmost to campaigning for candidates who offered a socialist alternative to the cuts policies of the three main parties.

Even during the latter stages of his illness Frank never lost his fire and capacity to laugh, shrugging off enquiries about his health with a brusque “I’ll be alright”.

It was only last May that he made his car available in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition mayoral campaign and drove it around the city calling for a vote for my candidacy.

Frank joined the Socialist Party and was a loyal member until the end, attending meetings and making valuable contributions.

He donated a pile of socialist books to the party which will form the basis of a socialist library. Frank will be hard to replace and he will be sadly missed. We send our deep condolences to Mary and his family.

Tony Mulhearn

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 3 August 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.