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Activism

“World’s oldest rebel” Harry Leslie Smith dies aged 95

The war veteran and Great Depression survivor fought for social justice in later life, finding mass support on social media and striking a chord with younger political activists

The fight for social justice lost one of its greatest warriors today. Harry Leslie Smith, World War Two veteran and political campaigner, has passed away aged 95.

Smith, in recent years an outspoken critic of austerity and the refugee crisis, was hospitalised on November 20 after collapsing while preparing to leave Canada for a flight to the UK. Following an eight-day bedside vigil from son John, it was announced that he had died in the early hours of this morning.

Known as the “World’s Oldest Rebel”, Smith grew up in poverty in Barnsley, before serving with the RAF in World War Two.

He later emigrated to Ontario in Canada in the 1950s before finding fame and mass support in later life as a campaigner against social injustice. Smith penned five books recounting his life and experiences, including bestsellers Harry’s Last StandDon’t Let My Past Be Your Future and Love Among Ruins.

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He also broke the mould on social media, delivering his message of a better world to his 254,000 Twitter followers.

During his rise to fame, Smith penned a column for The Big Issue titled ‘My Generation Broke Down Divisions, It Didn’t Build Them Up’.

Image: YouTube

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