Sligo Volunteers in General Eoin O’Duffy’s Bandera in Spanish Civil War (1936)

Draft article sent into the Sligo Champion by Gerard Cunningham, August 2008.

Little is known about the group of eleven Sligo Volunteers who answered the call of Blueshirt General Eoin O’Duffy to fight for General Franco in the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

The Sligo group was formed by Sidney Gallagher who was elected to Sligo Corproration in 1934 and became Mayor of Sligo in 1966. He had been an officer in the Freestaters and was part of the group who were ambushed at Dooney Rock and was lucky to survive having been shot in the arm.

Sometime in 1936 the then Bishop of Elphin, Edward Doorly, gave a passionate sermon in Sligo Cathedral in which he vividly described the terrible slaughter of priests and other members of the religious community in Spain.

Sidney assembled his group of 11 men from Sligo and sailed from Waterford to Liverpool and then onwards to Spain via Portugal. Upon reaching Spain they were trained in Caceres which is probably where the photo was taken. The photo was kindly provided by Sidney’s son, Tommy Gallagher of Doorly Park, Sligo.

On the list of names handwritten by Sidney is the inscription "11 Sligo members who answered the call to the Spanish Foreign Legion".

  • Back row:
  • Bob Armstrong, Calry
  • Micheal Keohane, Ballintogher
  • Sean (Snipe) Mulligan, Sligo
  • Sean Casey, Monastraden
  • Michael Gaffney, Calry
  • Christie Boylan, Calry

  • Front Row:
  • John Michael O’Boyle, Sooey
  • James Mullany, Sligo
  • Lt Sidney Gallagher, Sligo
  • Jack Crystal, Ballygawley
  • Jim Mc Glynn, Ballygawley

Any living relatives of the above listed Sligo volunteers are kindly requested to contact Mr Charles Dolan of Calry, Sligo (email: and provide further information and photos.

Mr Dolan is assisting Mr Ciaran Crossey, Belfast with the compilation of a website ( dedicated to the remembrance of all Irishmen who fought in the Spanish Civil War on both sides – for General Franco and for the International Brigade.

Read an article based on the experiences of Michael Gaffney