My grandfather, Heinrick Englart, father of my father Ted, died on 1 February, 1936. Ted was sick, being treated for chronic gastric ulcers, and at the limits of endurance for himself and his family.
In the desperate hope of some inheritance from his father's estate Ted wrote to his younger brother Bill who, with Ted's cousin Sid Nuss, was a trustee of Heinrick's property. Bill told Ted that probate hadn't yet been granted but he had arranged that Ted's eldest brother Jack (who Ted never got on with) to lend Ted £50 until probate was given.
Bill then gave Ted a tirade. Ted loved his mother and was very upset by Bill's insinuation that he was depriving their mother of her future income by asking for an advance on his inheritance. Then Bill fell to lecturing Ted on his wilful ways, on his membership of the Communist Party, accusing Ted of being an agitator and extremist and urged Ted that he would do well, as he once did, "by leading a good Christian life and bring your family up as good Christians and go about quietly, you will get on in this world." (Bill never had any children).
Ted responded to Bill by saying he had written to Jack thanking him for the £50 loan and defended himself.
Ted challenged Bill's argument by writing ''you say I am not the same man I was 12 years ago, I am the same Ted Englart you knew then Bill, but you forgot one thing - conditions have changed since then; we now work under individuals who roar and swear at us all day long, in order to drive us even faster;
"they use everything bar a whip; we are treated worse than slaves, for slaves had to be fed and looked after when they were ill; and when there is a rush of shipping I have to work 20 to 24 hours in a stretch and then, after staggering home, had to turn out again".
Continuing, Ted writes "Because we fought for better conditions we are now subject to bitter and wretched humiliation. Even if I desired to leave the wharf I could not get anything else for you must know that there are many cleverer and stronger men than I on relief work".
Over many of his seven handwritten pages Ted defended communism as the alternative to capitalism. He told Bill that if Jesus Christ were alive today he "must inevitably find himself fighting alongside the communists and other humanitarians''.
I have not quoted the letters at length but enough to convey the problem and temper of the times. Ted's written words expressed the passion, and the hopes, that moved Ted, and millions of other working people, in the dark days of the depression.
Knowing our father, brother Kevin and I feel that Ted would have the help of someone to compose his letter; most likely Ron Brown. Ron was a young insurance clerk and a communist. I will have more on Ron in a future essay. But I emphasise that the words of the letter express the spirit of Ted Englart.
I don’t know what precipitated the degree of animosity that developed between the brothers - Bill, on one hand, and Ted and George, on the other. There were rumours that Bill had advantaged himself through the management of their parents' estate. Bill established himself as a successful building contractor and later, as refereed to previously, he became well known as a horticulturist (and a millionaire).
For more than fifty years the brothers wouldn’t speak to each other until brother Kevin first brought George and Bill together and, a little later, Ted and Bill. Of all the family, Kevin is the one who has always taken the initiative to maintain our extended family. But such is Life !!