The Returning Officer: Colchester

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Captain Richard L Reiss fought Colchester for Labour in 1922, 1923, 1924 and 1929 and Preston in 1935. In the First World War, he served in the Gallipoli campaign and in India and Mesopotamia, where he was wounded in 1917. In 1918, he stood as a Liberal at St Pancras South East, having also stood in both 1910 elections in Chichester. At an election gathering in 1924, he said Labour had “the right to preach the gospel of hope and so hold a Sunday meeting”.

In 1930, he resigned his candidacy because of “the enormous calls on my time due to my position as deputy chairman of Welwyn Garden City Ltd”. He had visited the original site with the founder of the garden city movement, Ebenezer Howard. In the 1930s, he helped the flight of Jewish children from Nazi Germany.

Stephen Brasher

This article appears in the 24 September 2014 issue of the New Statesman, The cult of Boris