Bob Doyle (12 February 1916 - 22 January 2009)


"You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend."

Page updated: March 2nd - another obit from the Times and a letter in the Sunday Times.

It is with great regret that I pass on the news that Bob Doyle, one of the last two Irish International Brigaders, has died in London, aged 92. The initial statement from Marlene Sidaway of the IBMT and a statement by Manus O'Riordan are available here.

At this emotional time for his family and friends, the best I can do is to offer my personal condolences and to remind everyone that Bob kept saying - the struggle goes on!

27th January 2009

Dublin Memorial for Bob

Bobs memorial event was in Dublin on Sat 14th February (2 days after his 93rd birthday). The crowd of about 500 assembled at the Gardens of Remembrance, Parnell Sq, 12.00pm and marched to Liberty Hall for the memorial event.

This was a great event, attended by a wide spectrum of political groups, along with representatives of veterans families and groups in Ireland, Britain, Spain and further afield. A full report will follow in the next few days. The Irish Times carried a report quoting Harry along with Seve and Anna (2 who'd travelled from Spain), Dublin honours veteran of Spanish Civil War. They say there was 300, my estimate would be closer to 500.

Manus O'Riordan has sent out this brief report, while this very good one appears on Indymendia.

In his report Manus refers you back to the Indymedia article,and in particular to a set of videos put on YouTube by Ciaran O Brolchain (thanks CoB for making these available). There are several video clips as follows:

A friend baked this marvellous celebration cake. This poster was the centre piece of the entrance of Liberty Hall. Bobs casketalong with a commemorative poster.
there are a few more photos by me, along with a lot by some more professional people available here.

Brigadista - Bob's Book

Buy it on Amazon - well worth the time to track this down, before it's sold out.

One review on Amazon says:

This is Bob Doyle's account of a life of struggle and hardship that is difficult to imagine these days, brought up in poverty his father away at sea and his mother in a mental asylum. Mercilessly beaten by the catholic nuns during his school years as so many were, Bob was reunited with his family in Dublin's tenements. He was a committed anti-fascist and during the 1930's fought against the Irish Blues shirts, from joining the IRA he moved on to the Irish Communist party. On his own he set forth to Spain to fight for the democratically elected government against the fascist backed coup. He was captured by the Italians and tortured by Spanish prison guards before being handed over to the Gestapo for interrogation. Once he was taken outside to be shot but was repreived. he witnessed some dreadful acts of brutality by his fascist guards. Later Bob Doyle was exchanged for Italian prisoners. On return to the UK he served in the merchant navy and as a firewatcher during the blitz of London.

This is a fascinating tale of bravery from just an ordinary working man who believed passionately in freedom and justice for all. It is an uplifting story.

SIPTU General President, Jack O'Connor, encouraging attendance at the Commemoration.

Poster for the Dublin Commemoration, Feb. 14th 2009.
This small group of photos is just to give an idea of how busy Bob was last year.
Bob at the Feb. 2008 Jarama Commemorations. Bob with Jack Jones and local activist Paddy Murphy, Inistioge, Kerry, June 2008
With Jack Jones at the October 2008 anniversary in Stiges, near Barcelona. At the 1st James Haughey Memorial Lecture, Lurgan, Nov. 2008

First notification of Bob's Death - by Marlene of the IBMT

Dear All,

I'm so sorry to have to tell you that Bob died yesterday evening. Max and I went to see him last Saturday, and although he perked up a bit while we were there, it was obvious that he was very ill indeed; he'd had 2 bouts of Pneumonia, two slight heart attacks, and numerous infections.

A fighter to the end, truly a rebel without a pause, we will all miss him so much.

I will put a notice in the Morning Star, Robert will let me know when the funeral is, and I will let you know, it may be that it is a small family affair.

In any case, we have decided to devote the morning of the Lecture day at the Imperial War Museum as a tribute to Bob. Showing a film which he made some years ago, and I shall ask Harry and members of the family to share the story of his life, and their memories of him.

If you want to send cards, Robert's address is 78, Huddlestone Road, London, N7 OEG

Marlene Sidaway, Secretary, I.B.M.T

Some initial expressions of sympathy

He was a true fighter and believer in democracy and will be remembered.

Good wishes,

Steve Nugent(nephew of Jack Nalty)

To the memory of Bob Doyle

Hasta la Victoria, Siempre.


You're History, you're Legend

from Nacho Eli (France)

Sad news indeed. Bob Doyle was in good form when I last saw him in October, and I recently dug out my VHS copy of the Video Diary he made for BBC TV on his return to Spain in 1993, to remind myself of the inspiration he gave to so many.

His speech to the assembled worthies at the lunch in Barcelona in October was as fiery as ever; his anger never wavered, and he remained true to the cause of his vision of fair play and anti-fascism. A great Irishman, and a great Brigader.


Brian Harding

That's very sad news - I feel privileged to have met him. A great loss to his family but he's back with his old comrades now. RIP Bob.

Brian Curragh (nephew of Brigadista, Ben Murray)

'Bob Doyle’s life long struggle for freedom and social justice is an inspiration to everyone who wants to see a better world'. Ken Livingstone, then Mayor of London

'Over the past 30 years it has been a privilege to encounter Bob Doyle at various gatherings in London, Dublin and Waterford. I have long admired his zest for life and his willingness to go to any lengths to commemorate his fallen comrades'. Christy Moore.

'Despite, defeat, capture and imprisonment, Bob Doyle emerged from Spain with his faith in humanity undiminished... this marvellous book must inspire anyone who did not fight in Spain to know more about the anti-Fascist struggle that unfolded there'.....Paul Preston, Professor of International Studies, London School of Economics.

‘Brigadista is an incredibly important testament to a crucial but neglected part of our history’...Michael D. Higgins

The 2007 Irish Tour!
Bob Doyle's 2006 Irish Tour
Dublin Book Launch
Other articles, interviews, etc.


The Memorial Booklet used for Bob's Funeral.
Statement issued by Manus O'Riordan - IBMT Rep for Ireland
Manus O'Riordan - issued this statement to the ALBA Forum, a mail list ran by the American Veterans group
Last Irish International Brigade member dies Luke Cassidy in the Irish Times, Fri, Jan 23, 2009
Last Irish survivor of International Brigade dies Irish News, 23 Jan 2009
Last civil war veteran dies at 93 - BBC Northern Ireland report, Sat. 24th Jan. 2009
Bob Doyle: 12th February 1916 - 22nd January 2009: 'An Unusual Communist' - An obituary and then comments on Indymedia - includes his last interview with him, Nov. 2009. That is 8 minutes on video.
Mick Hall obituary- this also appears in the Indymedia compilation
Patricia Campbell for the Independent Workers Union, January 2009
Eugene McCartan for the Communist Party of Ireland, Jan. 23rd
Two statements from Sinn Fein January 2009
Brigadista who fought Franco dies aged 92 Klara Kubiak, in the Irish edition of the Daily Mail, January 24, 2009
Editorial Comment: Our brave warriors Daily Mail, Irish Edition, Jan. 24th, 2009
Last Spain Civil War Volunteer Dies at 92 Daily Mirror, 24th January 2009
Hero who took fight to fascists dies at 92 The Sun, January 24, 2009
Obituary: Bob Doyle 1916-2009 Morning Star, 26 January 2009
Labour Youth 26th January 2009
A lifelong fight to put people before profits Camden New Journal, Jan. 29th.
An Phoblacht obituary Jan. 29th.
Activist who fought for the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War Jim Jump in the Independent, Sat. 31st January 2009
President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan Workers Party President pays tribute to Bob.
RADIO PROGRAMME:- LAST WORD Radio 4, Friday 6 Feb. 4.00pm Repeated Sunday 8 Feb. 8.30pm. Can be heard on website till 13 Feb.
Family of Bob Doyle to hold commemoration in Dublin Irish Times, February 6, 2009
Valentine's Ceremony to Commemorate Brigade's Last Soldier Colm Kelpie, Press Association Newswire: Ireland, February 6, 2009
Lives remembered - Bob Doyle Veteran of Spanish Civil War remained fighter to the end, Valerie Robinson, Irish News, February 7, 2009
Event hails Brigades' last soldier Leinster Leader, 08 February 2009
Hero is laid to rest - The Irish Post, February 11, 2009
Mourners pay tribute to Spanish war veteran Morning Star, February 11, 2009
Bob Doyle Vindicated by the Spanish People Letters to the Editor, Irish Independent, 11 February 2009, [not yet carried, CC, 12/2/9]
Spanish Civil War veteran and avowed communist - The Irish Times, February 14, 2009
War vet tributes - short note in The News of the World, February 15, 2009
Last of the Old Brigade - short note in the Sunday Times, February 15, 2009
Bob Doyle: International Brigader and shop steward for the print union Sogat - Richard Baxell in The Guardian, February 16, 2009 [Link fixed 20th Feb - thanks Manus]
Apt time to remember Your front-page photo - Letter in the Sunday Times, February 22, 2009
Obiturary in - the Times, February 26, 2009


Speaking at Writers' Square, Belfast at the rededication of the Belfast Memorial, Sat. 8th Nov. 2008
Bob speaking at the George Brown Commemoration,. Kilkenny, June 2008
Bob speaking to the 2008 Jarama Commemoration

2007 Irish Tour

Bob in Dublin
At the Charlie Donnelly Winter School
Bob Doyle's Cork Meeting, 20th Feb. 2007

2006 Irish Tour

About 20 Photos are now online Thanks to Paddy Mackel.
The text of Bobs short speech is now available.
Bobs Belfast speech can be viewed at -
[thanks to Ciaran O'Brolchain for making this available.]
Report from Unity on the success of the Belfast meeting and the tour generally.
Report from the Sligo Champion on that packed meeting.
The Irish News (18th) and the Sunday Life (17th) both carried small photos of Bob, but no real press report. Photos will be added here later.
On the day of the unveiling, the Irish News carried an article, here it is.
The Newsletter carried a report, on August 31st, about the planned Belfast meeting.
Brigadistas veteran, 91, to honour comrades
The Irish News, August 29th, carried the following note about Derry: The last surviving Irish member of the International Brigade from the Spanish civil war is to stage the northern launch his memoirs in Derry. Bob Doyle will visit the city as part of a series of events to commemorate those from Derry, Tyrone and Donegal who fought against Franco's troops in the 1936-39 war. The launch will take place on Friday September 15.
The Newsletter carried a report, on August 31st, about the planned Belfast meeting.
Brigadistas veteran, 91, to honour comrades

Dublin Book launch - June 2006

Book Launch - Liberty Hall, Dublin, Tuesday June 27th, 6.30 pm.The Last Brigadista
Prologue to the book by Professor by Paul Preston
Ken Keable and Robert Griffiths review Brigadista - an Irishman's fight against fascism by Bob Doyle. Reviews on the Irish Democrat Website, 8th Sept. 2006
Sunday Business Post book review, July 9th 2006
Letter in An Phoblacht, July 6th about the book.
Waterford Today review, July 4th 2006.
Last fighter of fascists tells all. David Lynch wrote this article in Daily Ireland, July 3rd, after the initial launch of Bob's book.

Other articles, Reviews, etc.

If anyone has details of book reviews, other interviews, etc, please get in touch and I'll add them here. Ciaran Crossey,

Bob Doyle and General Lister's Last Stand -, Irish Political Review, March 2009
Bob Doyle's Belfast Last Stand , 3 Belfast speeches reprinted in Irish Political Review, March 2009
Bob Doyle:- Irishman who fought to free world from fascism , Irish News, April 11th, 2007
Brigadista:- Reviewed in Village magazine.
Bob Doyle:- A Dublin revolutionary, by Shane Hegarty in the Irish Times, July 4, 2006
Bob Doyle:- The last fighter against fascism, by David Lynch in Daily Ireland, 3rd July, 2006
In tribute to BOB DOYLE – The last Irish Brigadista: General Lister's Last Command By Manus O'Riordan, July 06.
Britain - Last surviving Irish Brigader honoured RMT union conference report in the Morning Star, July 6, 2006
Address by Bob Doyle at the unveiling of the memorial to Kit Conway, 11/June/2005
The banner man: Bob Doyle interviewed in The Guardian 'I don't know how I wasn't killed' Interviewed by Paul Howlett, Friday November 10, 2000.
Ideals indecently buried. - interviewed by Eugene Egan in Fortnight, a Belfast magazine in June 1993


Bob at the October 2005 IBMT meeting in Dublin. 1999
Cover of his latest book Laying a wreath at the Frank Ryan commemoration, October 2005