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War veteran and social activist Harry Leslie Smith dies at 95

‘One of a kind’: Harry Leslie Smith

JEREMY CORBYN has led the tributes to social justice activist, author and RAF veteran Harry Leslie Smith, who has died aged 95.

The Labour leader hailed Mr Smith, who was a critic of austerity while championing human rights and the welfare state, as ‘one of the giants whose shoulders we stand on’.

Mr Smith died in Ontario, Canada, while visiting his son, John.

The son of a coal miner, he spoke of growing up in the ‘barbarous’ and ‘bleak’ time of 1920s Barnsley. Mr Smith joined the RAF in 1941, serving in World War II. He rose to prominence in 2013 after an article for The Guardian declaring he would no longer wear a poppy.

He appeared at Labour’s 2014 conference to speak about life before the NHS and moved listeners to tears.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband called him ‘one of a kind’.