Spanish Civil War

My grandfather - my mother's father, was a veteran of the International Brigades  He was from London and unemployed in the mid 1930's and feeling ever more bolshevik by the day - so, he signed up to go to Spain and fight Franco and Hitler  - and that Mussolini person 
He got wounded three times - but granted - not hugely bad - but he went on to fight in the British Army in World War Two, where he got wounded a lot worse one time in North Africa with the 8th Army, in Egypt - but he recovered enough to eventually fight all the way through the Italian campaign to victory - and what was supposed to be a better world  Well, he did his bit towards that! Oh he did enjoy landing in Italy from North Africa - after having been in Spain years before - and watched that Mussolini send troops there to assist that bastard Franco! - revenge was sweet, in the Italian campaign for my old grandfather! 
This is why my favourite novel is Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'  
Anyone who reads this, I would like to urge you to a song on youtube - Christy Moore, 'Viva La 15th Brigada' - yes, that's all about the Irish volunteers in the Brigades - but my grandfather, from England did serve with them - and was briefly under the command of that Irish guy mentioned in the song, Frank Ryan - although Ryan was himself under an Englishman, yes, a communist sympathiser called Tom Wintringham, who had overall command of the 15th at that time  
I remember my old grandad telling me about Spain and the war there in the late '30's - and he told me about a woman called Dolores Ibarurri - a leader of the Spanish Communist Party and a talented orator with the power to move men to fight!! - my grandad told me that's why they nicknamed her 'La Passionaria'  It was Dolores, La Passionaria, who came up with that famous slogan 'No Passaran!' - 'they shall not pass'! - about the battle for Madrid - while the Republican working class defended their city from Franco's hordes of bigots and fascists - which is the same thing, really - bigot/fascist/braindead tool of the boss class  
La Passionaria, my grandfather once told me moved him so much shortly after he arrived in Spain and took his place in the 15th Brigade - with a loud speech ending like this in English - '........So, Brigadistas! we thank you for joining us in this our struggle for eternal freedom!  Freedom from prejudice  Freedom from exploitation  Freedom from wage slavery  Freedom from all oppression the bosses throw at us  Freedom from hunger  Freedom from the fear of hunger  So, Brigadistas from all lands - take your place at the front and know that you are fighting also for the freedom of your own dear one's at home in the lands you come from  I salute you, our Brigidistas, as I raise our battle-cry 'No passaran!' - and she repeated that louder and louder several times until every Brigidista was raising a clenched fist and shouting 'No passaran!' along with her - 'they shall not pass!'   
Dolores was in exile from Spain until 1977, after the Civil War - but it was a big occassion when she returned from exile - after Franco died  My mother says that my grandfather was glad to know that Franco was dead in November, 1975 - and he went to the pub and raised a glass to Spanish Freedom - and 18 months or so later, he did the same when he heard on the TV News that veteran Communist orator, Dolores Ibarurri, La Passionaria, had returned home to Spain from political exile 
My grandfather worked in an engineering factory after he made it home from World War Two - and he married and raised two daughters - one, my mother - and her older sister - he chose to call Dolores  My aunt Dolores 
My grandfather's war against the fascists was long - from 1936 to 1945 
On a much more mundane note now, I'm actually supposed to be helping my mother send out wedding invitations on behalf of my cousin, Chloe - but I've got bored with that and came back on here  I'm going to have to go help her, though, to be fair! 
Please remember the veterans of the International Brigades  I do know that I get my rebellious streak from my grandfather  I'm sure I do! 
I'm a beautician - well! I didn't like school much! what can I say!  I do like to read and learn nowadays though, under my own steam  I salute my grandfather and all his comrades  
This is why my favourite novel is Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'  
(PS to this - just remembered there's another song you could get on youtube - the Pogues, 'The Sickbed of Cuchulainn' - it mentions Frank Ryan, who I mentioned above - thus - 'Frank Ryan bought you whiskey in a brothel in Madrid'   well! why not I suppose!  Oh! and another quick PS - another novel I love is the third book in Laurie Lee's trilogy, the memoirs of his youth, this one's called 'A Moment of War' and deals with his experiences in the Brigades in Spain - the other two are worth a read too xx)  






 



AphroditesLoveChild AphroditesLoveChild
26-30, F
1 Response Jul 26, 2010

Long live the International Brigades!