BERTIE Lewis was, until his death, a member of Bolton Stop the War/CND.

He was a regular attender at meetings, laid a wreath of white poppies on behalf of the group every Remembrance Sunday, always took part in its August vigil in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and could be relied on to join members of the local group in National anti-war demonstrations in London.

Many of the younger generation will not know the struggle Bertie had to establish the laying of a wreath of white poppies as a recognised part of the official Remembrance Day ceremonies.

When, on his own initiative and before he joined Bolton CND, he began to do this more than 20 years ago, he met with widespread opposition though, as a veteran of the Second World War who had lost many friends, he could not be prevented from carrying out his intention.

But the British Legion Club in Farnworth, ejected him from membership. Being the determined man he always was, Bertie appealed to the national headquarters of the Legion, which ordered his reinstatement.

There are several peace groups who lay a wreath of white poppies on their local war memorials, but always after the official ceremony.

Bolton is the only town or city in the country where such a wreath has been laid as part of the official proceedings. And the most fitting tribute to Bertie, and one that he surely would have wished for, would be for that tradition to be continued.

Bertie, though granted permanent residence in this country, never became a British citizen. Because of his political views, the FBI kept a constant watch on his movements and compiled a file on him, and Bertie knew that if he became British, the US Immigration authorities were likely to regard him as an undesirable alien and he might never see his native country again. But he had family in the US and contacts with the peace movement there.

Bertie was anti-racist and antiimperialist and so it is not surprising that he was implacably opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and their siege of the Gaza Strip. Indeed, his last London demonstration in May of this year was against the Israeli attack on the flotilla bringing supplies to the stricken people of Gaza.

He realised that it was now essential to oppose war if humanity is to have a future, and this meant active opposition to all the wars in which his adopted and his native country were engaged.

The man who had been a determined warrior in the Second World War, ended his life as an equally determined campaigner for peace.

Malcolm Pittock and Barry Mills Joint secretary of Bolton Stop the War/CND