Prior to joining British Union, Tommy had been an active member of the Labour Movement and for some time had served as Branch Secretary for Newcastle West. In July 1933 disillusioned with Labour, he was won over to Fascism. Whilst reading of and researching Tommy`s early days in the movement, there has been three separate incidents that I have found particularly memorable.
Firstly, a Sunderland Echo report from December 13th 1933
As a sequel to a fight between Fascists and J**s in a Newcastle dance hall. Thomas Patrick Moran, engineer, of 22 Budle Street, Newcastle, was fined a total of £7 with two guineas costs at the City police court today.
Moran pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly, assaulting two attendants, Sydney Park and William Gilbert and to assaulting Police Sergeant Watt.
Park said that at 12.30 am today he saw a man in Fascist uniform arguing with a J**. He ordered both men to leave the hall and Moran intervened. There was a fight. Moran was very violent and struck him.
William Gilbert said Moran struck him in the face and had to be held down until a policeman arrived.
P.C. Swan said Moran was mad drunk and struggled violently. At the police station he had to be handcuffed before he could be got into the cells.
Moran said it was the first time he had been in trouble. He had been celebrating his birthday. “Some J**s were setting about our chaps and I went to their assistance.” He said. “I took what was coming to me, and other people took what was going to them. I was drunk.”
Moran asked for time to pay.
Replying to Supt. T. Dale, he admitted he was a professional boxer, but said he was not boxing now.
The second, and to me, my favourite Tommy anecdote of that period, a report from The Blackshirt
C/O Moran has been doing some very useful work in South Shields. On Sunday January 21, a certain individual addressed a gathering in the Labour Hall on Fascism. This man claimed to be au fait with the knowledge of the "thuggery" and brutality of Fascists. C/O Moran entered the hall unaccompanied whereon the said individual "dried up".
A policeman was sent for, but as no disturbance had or was likely to take place, the precaution was unnecessary, which fact the policeman placed on record. That one Fascist could cow a hall full of anti-Fascists without any threats or attempts at violence speaks well for the respect in which our men are held.
Cowen`s Monument, October 2014
Lastly, an incident at Cowen`s Monument, again reported in The Blackshirt
The Blackshirt meeting at Cowen's Monument every Sunday evening has become a feature of Newcastle life. Meetings held there have always been lively, but of late there has been a tendency for the opposition to become rougher than usual and to show signs of organised hooliganism.
On Sunday April 29, the usual heckling developed into systematic shouting and singing. Suddenly a concerted rush was made for the platform. Almost overwhelmed by the weight of the crowd, the stewards were forced back. The speaker had to vacate the platform, which was smashed. Encouraged by this apparent success, the “Reds” went further and several of our men were struck.
C/O Moran had relied upon conciliatory methods, but seeing our men go down he gave the order to fight back. The one constable present was of course unable to cope with the crowd.
Sticks, pieces of platform, boots were all used upon the Blackshirts and many were kicked and rendered unconscious. One Fascist who was being carried away from the struggle by sympathisers was kicked into unconsciousness.
On the arrival of the police reinforcements, the stewards were reformed and marched back to their headquarters to an accompanying barrage of whelk and winkle shells.