Richard Edmonds Memorial Meeting 2021 – Tony Paulsen Reports from South London

Some thirty patriots gathered in a traditional South London hostelry on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd September to pay their last respects to Richard Edmonds.

Chris Roberts chaired the meeting. His own involvement in the movement goes back to supporting the late Terry Denville-Faulkner’s campaign as National Front candidate at the Carshalton by-election of 11th March 1976, so over 45 years. Many other veterans of the cause were there, including the BNP’s first councillor, Derek Beackon; former press officer and candidate for Mayor of London, Mike Newland; and well-loved Downham patriot Tess Culnane.

The first speaker to pay tribute to Richard’s memory was Steve Smith (ex-Tower Hamlets branch, not to be confused with another stalwart, Steve Smith of Burnley). Steve gave a very fine speech, recounting several entertaining anecdotes about Richard, some of which appear in his impressive article about the history of the BNP in the East End in the 1990s now published in Candour, no. 877.

Steve has mastered many of Richard’s mannerisms and peppered his speech with them so effectively that at times it seemed that Richard was still marching in our ranks, not only in spirit (as he surely does) but even in the flesh!

Richard Edmonds with the famous Lewisham march poster from the NF’s anti-mugging campaign

Steve’s was not an easy act to follow, but the second speaker, John Morse, who had travelled a long way to join us, also made a valuable contribution, recalling his close comradeship with Richard over almost two decades of the NNF/BNP years between 1981 and 1999, until Nick Griffin’s ultimately ill-starred election as BNP chairman.

John Morse emphasised the centrality of Holocaust revisionism in Richard’s political work in uncompromising terms to which, it must be said, by no means all those attending privately assented, though it was not an occasion to debate what the speakers said, rather than to listen to them.

John Morse made a less controversial and very valid point when he called to mind Richard’s crucial role in keeping the BNP active and together in 1986, after John Tyndall and indeed John Morse were both sentenced to prison terms that left the ship bereft of its captain for several months.

Richard not only deputised for JT as chairman, but stood in for John Morse as editor of British Nationalist, the party newspaper, which in those days long before the internet changed how nationalist parties communicate with their supporters, was central to its political work.

Richard Edmonds (1943-2020)

The last platform speaker was Peter Phillips, who gave a moving speech, saying that as all lives must end in death, what makes a difference is the reputation that we leave behind us in the memory of friends and comrades.

That concluded the formal speeches, but many briefer tributes followed from the floor before the evening was out. We shall surely not see Richard’s like again.

“Cattle die, and kinsmen die, and so must one die oneself. But there is one thing I know which never dies, and that is the fame of a dead man’s deeds.”

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