Material New to Site
Updated 21stb Oct.2009
The purpose of this page is just to draw your attention towards the most recent additions to the site. Some will be notices, new documents or even reprints of original material.
The formation of the Connolly Column - latest research
Professor Emmet O'Connor has written a new piece called "Mutiny or sabotage? The Irish defection to the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War".
In this article Emmet goes into the whole process by which the Irish volunteers decided to move from the British Brigade into the Abraham Lincolns. It is a marvellous piece of research and I'm sure it will generate some debate.
Thanks to Emmet for sending in a copy to add to the site.
Roma Marquez Santo - veteran of Anarchist and POUM militiasRoma recently spoke at two meetings in Dublin - one of which was organised by Harry Owens and friends. These were very interesting, well attended meetings and Harry has written a piece giving some explanation of Roma's life and times. Thanks to him, and here is the piece.
George Brown Commemoration - Inistioge
I've spoken to a couple of people who attended the Second George Brown Memorial Lecture and events in Inistioge, Kilkenny, at the end of June. As expected this was a well organised event, with good speakers and a lot of local interest.
I will carry some photos soon, but in the meantime, Lynda Walker has sent in a short report of the events.
A DVD of the 2008 Memorial Weekend, which was attended by Bob Doyle and Jack Jones, is now available from the local organisers. More details to follow.
Terry Flanagan - IB Volunteer
Terry Flanagan is one of the many volunteers about whom very little information was publicly available until recently. In early July the Irish Times conducted an interview, a very personal one, with his daughter - the well known actress Fionnula Flanagan - in which she talked of the hard economic and social background the family faced. Extracts from the article here.
Paddy Cochrane and other SCW veterans awarded Spanish Citizenship - June 8th
At a ceremony in the Spanish Embassy in London, June 8th, several veterans of the SCW were given Spanish passports in recognition of their efforts in the SCW. Among those present was Paddy Cochrane, the last Irish member of the pro-Republican forces. A brief piece was carried on Irish tv on Tuesday night, you can see it at:
Several other pieces, including videos, are available here.
New piece of research on the Connolly Column
Emmet O’Connor has written a new article called Identity and self-representation in Irish communism: the Connolly Column and the Spanish Civil War which was carried in a journal called Socialist History, vol. 34, 2009. I'm sure anyone interested in the subject will look forward to reading this piece. Thanks to Emmet for passing it on for inclusion here.
Jack (Jim Larkin) Jones (1913 - 21st April 2009)
It's sad to report that Jack Jones, President of the Int Brigade Memorial Trust, passed away on Tuesday night in his sleep. I'm sure we will all miss him, and our sympaythy goes out to his son Mick and other family members.
Jack was present in Belfast in 2007, and then travelled to Inistioge last June for the unveiling of the George Brown memorial.
'For us, Spain wasn't an adventure: it was the battle against fascism'
An interesting piece about Jack in this weeks Observer, 26th April 2009. Read it here. Unite, the union, will be organising a commemoration later in the year and we'll keep everyone informed.
Bob Doyle (12 Feb. 1916 - 22nd Jan. 2009)
It is with great regret that I pass on the news that Bob Doyle, one of the last two Irish International Brigaders, in fact he was the last Irish fighter with the Brigades, 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 sruggle goes on.
Some of Bobs speeches and interviews are available here.
Belfast Spanish Civil War Memorial
The memorial was re-dedicated on Nov. 8th by Bob Doyle and Jack Edwards. The programme of events was run through here it is for the record. .
I am pulling together reports on the weekend - and recovering - so full details will be available asap. In the meantime, here's a report from the Morning Star and a link through to a Youtube piece mentioned on the Slugger O'Toole blog.
Talk by Manus O'Riordan on the Connolly Column Banner
A talk on the 1938 Memorial Banner to the Irish International Brigaders who gave their lives in the Spanish Anti-Fascist War, given by Manus O’Riordan on March 7, 2009 in the National Museum, Collins Barracks, at the Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition: the Irish at War at Home and Abroad. Read the Talk here.
Mick O'Riordan - a 2005 interview
While I was checking through some files here I came across this interview between Mick O'Riordan and 2 journalists. To be honest, I don't know who did the interview, but it is interesting as it is one of the last, if not the last Mick gave. Read it here.
Letters from Spain by volunteers
Several people have asked me if there are any letters sent by volunteers from Spain. Over the years I have read a few and here are some of them. I will add more over the coming months, and would appeal to all readers - if you have one at home, or if you know of a letter in a book, pamphlet, etc, please let me know.
Some of these letters are quite short, but as a collection they do give some indication of the hardships of life in Spain. There is also an obvious tendency for the men to underplay any problems they're facing in the war.
Update dec. 14th: Additional short letter by Frank Keery - born Belfast, lived Gateshead.
Read the Collection of Letters.
Bob Doyle and Paddy Cochrane apply for Spanish Citizenship - report Dec. 7th.
The Sunday Business Post carried a short piece last Sunday about Bob and Paddy both applying for Spanish citizenship, a long delayed recognition by the Spanish authorites of the role these men played, along with all the other IBers. Read it here.
There is a reference in it to Bob being ill, but the latest welcome news is that he's been discharged from hospital and will be home for the holidays with his family. On behalf of us all, I would like to send him best wishes.
Mick O'Riordan's Birthday - November 12th
Manus O'Riordan has sent out a short piece marking the birthday of Mick O'Riordan, Nov. 12th. The article has several links through to Christy moore singing Viva la Quince Brigada. Read it here. Salud!
A Bandera volunteer remembers
Niamh McGuinness recently did a university dissertation in which she interviewed her grandfather, Denis McGuinness, the only known survivor of the Bandera. Read that chapter here from "Retracing the past - 70 years later: 1936-2006" - Added to site, Oct. 29th 2008
Kerrymen in the Spanish Civil War
This article was published in The Kerryman, 30 January 1998, by T Ryle Dwyer who has given permission for it to be reprinted here. There are some new details on the local men, mainly Bandera members. I think it's interesting, read it here.
Maurice Ryan - the only Irishman executed by the IB.
There was an exchange of emails on the Forum organised by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association - which has several hundred interested people on it - about the deaths of Maurice Ryan, an Irish volunteer, and 2 British volunteers, Lewis Clive and Max Nash. This exchange of mail drew out a response from Manus o'Riordan in which he gives some gruesome details on the deaths of the 2 British volunteers, and comments on the mysterious death of Ryan.
My thanks go to Manus for sending in his article to Alba.The emails can be read here.
Dave Smith - comments towards an obituary
Manus O'Riordan wrote the following article on the recent death of Dave Smith, an American volunteer who served alongside the Irish, and who visited here a few years ago. Again this is an interesting piece and deserves attention. Thanks go to Manus for this piece. It can be read here.
Armagh talk and photographic exhibition - August 2008
The West Armagh Feile has organised a public meeting to be held in Armagh city, 1st August. Among the speakers will be Harry Owens and Francie Molloy, who has been involved in the Charlie Donnelly commemorative activites in Dungannon.
The activity is in Sherry's Fields, also known as the Cathedral Road Community Complex, Cathedral Road, Armagh.
The talk will also be linked to a public exhibition of the photographs, Defenders of the Revolution - images of several dozen elderly veterans of the SCW - which Harry has helped to tour around Ireland.
A Brief report of the Armagh meeting was sent in by Lynda Walker.
Kildare and the Spanish Civil War
James Durney, a locally based historian, has written a piece on Kildare and the SCW. There is some useful information on the Bandera men from the area, esp. Peter Lawler, with details on the IBers and some non-combatants.
My thanks go to James for sending in his article which can be read here.
Index to the Worker, the Irish Democrat and The Workers' Republic - 1930s papers
Update: Among the first documents I put online were the SCW articles from the three Irish Left papers of the thirties. Recently I was looking for some specific references and I decided that a name/individuals index to these papers would be useful, so here it is.
Links for over half of the 600 or so indexed names thru to the relevant article from those papers have now gone online. If anyone comes across a broken link, please let me know.
As a part of this exercise I've come across a couple of articles I'd left off the site, so here's an addition from the Irish Democrat 28th August 1937 Welcomed Home from Spain
CC, Belfast 20/4/8
LinksWest Belfast and the Spanish Civil War.
The Corpus Christi Youth Club, in Ballymurphy, Belfast, undertook a project concerned with local involvment in the SCW. This centered on an exhibition they held in the Whiterock Library, and now they've put some material online. This effort, by a group of teenagers, is to be welcomed and supported. Visit their site at http://spanishcivilwarproject.com/index.html. Added to the site, August 1st 2008.
If you check out the Links page, there is another new link through to a mainly Spanish langauge site, containing information on Cork and George Brown as well.
Pat Read - anarchist in SCW
I've pulled together a document on Pat Read, probably the most definite Irish anarchist in the SCW, and it's available here. An extended version of the document is also now available (with some other material) on the publications page at a reasonable price!
Also available is a pdf version of his document, Chicago replies to Moscow. Thanks to JD for merging the document.
Would anyone with comments, corrections, etc. please get in touch. CC, 8/4/8.
George BrownGeorge Brown - Portrait of a Communist leader. A pamphlet by Mick Jenkins. Added 23rd March 2008
Update: August 18th.
The Inistioge George Brown Memorial Committee did some work in the archives in Salford, and among the material was several letters by George. I've added 2 'new' letters to the Appendix of this pamphlet, along with some additional lines which had been missed in the pamphlet, with a few corrections.
Miscellaneous Items - added April 29th
I was checking through the site and found a series of articles I'd either not put online, or with broken links. Anyway, here is a set of articles that you may or may not have seen already. If you have, sorry about that, but hopefully you'll come across something interesting you've missed on previous visits. CC, 29th April 08.
Jim Maley commemorated in song!
Willy Maley, Jims son, has contacted me to say that "Glasgow band The Wakes have written, recorded and released on CD a song about his father's experiences in Spain on YouTube. It's called 'These Hands', and the lyrics are based on an interview his father gave for The Big Issue back in September 2006. [If anyone has that interview, I'd appreciate getting a copy, CC, 15/4/8]
You can watch it at: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BI23eUo4ohA Added 11th April 2008.
Extensive changes to the Bibliography
I was recently asked to update the bibliography of material on the Irish in the SCW. I've added a few books, thesis, etc. but the main change has been to more than double, to over 340, the list of newspaper, journal articles, etc. I hope people find it useful. Check it out.
"This is class war"
Address by Bob Doyle, International Brigade veteran, at the unveiling of the International Brigades Commemoration Committee Memorial to the local volunteers, Writers’ Square, Belfast, October 13th 2007. Read it here.
1967 series of articles about the Bandera - rare material
I've started to make available a set of 9 articles by James McCarthy, a Cork Bandera member. These were originally carried in the Cork paper, the Evening Echo, and contain a lot of interesting details of the life and experiences of the Bandera.
Paddy Cochrane - surviving Irish medic - revisits Spain
The Sunday Times (21st October 2007) carried a big article by Chris Haslam on the British International Brigaders and in particular Paddy Cochrane, who returned to Belchite in September to discover the house where he was badly wounded by a fascist grenade. Read it here.
Recent List of Republican volunteers
A full list of those who volunteered for Spain is being finalised. In the meantime, the most comprehensive list yet drawn up is available here.
Update on the Bandera List
I was sent new information on a Bandera vol - Denis Donoghue- previously unknown to the public - and it can be seen here at the start of my Bandera listing.
Another Archive Piece from the Curragh Internment Camp
Mick O'Riordan was one of three Brigadiers who were interned by the Free State government during World War 2. This letter to Cyril Sexton, a British veteran of Spain, dates from 1942. It is interesting just to see the links between these veterans, and to get a feel of how the internees got by. Read more here. A few minor corrections were added today, so hopefully this is the final version, 14/1/8
An interesting piece of Irish labour history that also touchs on the SCW
Manus O'Riordan sent this note about the recent discover of a letter by his father, Irish Brigadista, Mick O'Riordan. It is an interesting piece of Irish labour history and touchs on the SCW:
"On 7 March , Gail Malmgreen, as Associate Head for Archival Collections at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU, posted the following notice, under the heading of "O'Riordan letter found", in the Abraham Lincoln Brigades Archives Digest:
"Members may be interested to know about a newly discovered letter written by Irish volunteer Michael O'Riordan to his good friend, US vet Bill Gandall in 1939. The letter was just discovered, not in any of our ALBA collections, but in the papers of Mike Quill, long-time President of the Transport Workers' Union of America. The handwritten letter is actually 24 pages long and gives a detailed account of the labor movement and political struggles in Ireland, from a Communist Party point of view. There are also scattered references to their shared experiences and comrades in Spain. The letter can be found in the TWU Records (Wagner Archives)."
Well the letter has now been published for the first time in the July 2007 Irish Political Review. Thanks to Gail for drawing this to the O'Riordan familys attention, and thanks to Manus for making the material publicly available. The letter is an interesting piece of Irish labour history and touchs on the SCW. An introductory article by Manus is available here while the letter by Mick here.
Land and Freedom - 6 differing views
I was recently sent a press statement by Peter O'Connor and Mick O'Riordan from 1996 giving their opinion on Ken Loach's film, Land and Freedom. I decided to see what else I could find on this and have ended up with a collection of 6 articles, 3 opposed to the politics of the film, 3 supportive.
Along with the statement from Mick and Peter is an article by Bill Alexander, who served as Political Commissar of the Anti-Tank Battery and then as Commander of the British Battalion in the SCW.
This compilation is not intended to start a debate on this site, it's presented here as a part of the historical record and is to allow people to make up their own minds.
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Gallery - with a question - answered 28th March 2008
I've added another image from the Irish Democrat, June 1991, of a group of veterans and relatives in Dublin. Left to Right - Dave Goodman, (British, captured with F Ryan), Maurice Levitas (b Dublin), Bill van Felix (USA), Mick O'Riordan, Eilis Ryan (sister of Frank), Bob Doyle (London, captured with F Ryan), Joe Donnelly, brother of Charlie, John Taylor, a Czech living in UK, Julius Margolin (New York Spanish War Support Committee). What's the name of the woman on the right? Can anyone name her? Please get in touch.
Added March 28th 2007: One suggestion, from Michael Walker, is that she is Thora Silverthorne (Craig) a Welsh Nurse. Michael, Thanks for the identification.
Note by Ciaran - The Gallery has lots of images
Readers should also have noticed by now the appearance of an extensive gallery of photographs. This will be extended over the coming weeks, but was only possible after LONG, LONG hours put in by Gerry, many thanks and much appreciated.
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