Morris Beckman was born in Hackney and he attended Hackney Downs School in 1939.

Morris Beckman

Morris Beckman

In 1939, he tried to enlist in the Royal Air Force to become a pilot, but was turned down and signed up for the Merchant Navy as a radio officer.

After three months training to become a radio officer, studying Morse code, Beckman was assigned to merchant vessels participating in the Battle of the Atlantic until 1942. Two of his ships were torpedoed.

Morris tried his hand at several businesses and eventually went into partnership with John David Gold to start a men’s clothes manufacturer, opening their first factory in Crawley in 1952. The firm steadily expanded, at one time having several factories in the UK and even one in Malta. In 1975, faced with increasingly cheap imports from the Far East, the company went into liquidation. Beckman started further small-scale businesses in the same industry, eventually giving up work for writing in the 1980s.

Writing

While working for the Mogul Line, Beckman wrote many articles and short stories which were published in the Sind Gazette and Egyptian Mail amongst other newspapers. His only novel, Open Skies and Lost Cargoes, was published by Thacker & Co in Bombay in 1944.

Beckman wrote very little after leaving the Merchant Navy until the 1980s when he began to document his experiences growing up in Hackney, serving in the Merchant Navy and fighting British fascist groups with the 43 Group. Since The 43 Group was published, Beckman has lectured in Britain, Germany, Holland and Ireland to groups interested in the fight against fascism.

Subsequent autobiographical works are The Hackney Crucible about growing up in Hackney before World War II, and Atlantic Roulette about the Battle of the Atlantic. He also wrote The Jewish Brigade: An Army With Two Masters – about the Jewish Brigade.

The Hackney Crucible - Morris Beckman

The Hackney Crucible – Morris Beckman

The Jewish Brigade - Morris Beckman

The Jewish Brigade – Morris Beckman