Frank Chapple

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Francis Joseph Chapple, trade unionist: born London 8 August 1921; Assistant General Secretary, ETU (later EETPU) 1953-66, General Secretary 1966-84; Chairman, General Council, TUC 1982-83; created 1985 Baron Chapple; married 1944 Joan Nicholls (died 1994; two sons), 1999 Phyllis Luck; died Maidstone, Kent 19 October 2004. [1]

Electrical Trade Union

In the 1950s and 1960s, both the CIA and MI5 took a close interest in communist penetration of British trade unions, an issue which was the subject of a television documentary by Woodrow Wyatt in 1956. The intelligence agencies were particularly concerned about the ETU, because of the presence of its members at GCHQ.

"The battle was a prolonged one with some communist officials only removed in 1963. In 1965 communists were banned from holding office in the ETU. The moderate Frank Chapple went on to occupy the post of General Secretary until 1984. Wyatt presented himself as an interested independent who had happened on the story of communist penetration of the unions by accident. In fact he had longstanding associations with IRD and formed the lead element in an organised attack. [2]

It Must Not Happen Here

"The Antisubversive lobby's Brian Crozier was among those who appeared in Chalfont's television psy-war programme, It Must Not Happen Here. Broadcast in January 1976, it 'purported to show that the Communist Manifesto was being implemented bit by bit in Britain. Bert Ramelson, Stuart Holland, Ken Gill and others were named and then Frank Chapple, Reg Prentice, Lord Hailsham, Brian Crozier of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Woodrow Wyatt and Chalfont himself all spoke in support of this view." [3]

Authors Ramsay and Dorril suggest that the lavish budget for this programme may indicate intelligence funding.


  1. Tam Dalyell, [Lord Chapple], Independent, 22 October 2004.
  2. The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence, Richard J. Aldrich, John Murray Publishers, London, 2001, p.547.
  3. Smear Wilson and the Secret State, Stephen Dorril and Robin Ramsay, Fourth Estate Limited, London, 1991, p281.