Not to a Fanfare of Trumpets ~ Spanish Civil War play

‘Not to a Fanfare of Trumpets’

Perth Museum and Art Gallery
Thursday May 10th 2007

“Not to a fanfare of trumpets,
Nor even the skirl o’ the pipes.
Not for the offer oe a shilling,
Nor to see their names up in lights.

Their call was a cry of anguish,
From the hearts of the people of Spain.
Some paid with their lives it is true,
Their sacrifice was not in vain.”


Medley of Bag-pipe Music.
The Coup: Spain Resists.
The Ways of Owls.
Fascism vs. Internationalism.
Viva la Quinta Brigada.
No Pasaran.
If You Tolerate This.
The International Brigades.
A Letter from the Aragon.
The British Volunteers.
Spain 1937.
The British Battalion.
The Permanence of the Young Men.
Jarama Valley.
Battle of Brunete.
Song for James Moir.
The Aragon Front.
Late One Afternoon in La Pobla.
The Retreats.
The Ebro Offensive.
Spanish Civil War Song.
The Volunteers Return.
A Man’s a Man.
La Pasionaria Speaks.
Flowers of the Forest – The End.

The Spanish Prime Minister Largo Caballero (1869-1946) officially announced the formation of the International Brigades on 12 October 1936, after numerous offers of assistance from outside Spain and after hundreds of foreign volunteers had already assembled in the country ready to fight. By the war’s end, there were approximately 48 battalions that had been formed which were classified as international, although numerically the majority contained many Spanish recruits. The greater part of the battalions of the International Brigades were in the 35th and 45th Divisions. Volunteers came to Spain from around 63 countries to support the Spanish people in the defence of their rights, parliamentary democracy, freedom and their Second Republic. In all, an estimated 35,000 men and women arrived from all over the world. The French contingent was the largest in size and by proportion of home population with some 10,000 volunteers. After this, the following approximated nationality distribution was found in the International Brigades:

Poles (5000)
Germans (3500)
Austrians (1500)
Italians (3400)
Americans (3000)
Soviets (2000)
British (2300)
Yugoslavs (1700)
Belgians (1700)
Czechoslovakians (1500)
Canadians (1600)
Scandinavians (1250)
Latin Americans (1000)
Hungarians (1000)
Dutch (600)
Swiss (750)
Greeks and Cypriots (400)

The Performers

International Brigades: Kevin Heller
Liberal Opinion: Viv Hyndman
Narrator: Paul Philippou
Scottish Volunteer: Roddy Lonie
The Republic: Liz Cairns

Poets/Writers: Jim Caruthers & Heather Reid
Musicians: Ian McLaren & Martin Bristow.
Poetry: Mary Alexander &Ajay Close.
Computer Imagery: Matthew Mackie.


Amicus – For financing the cost of hiring the hall and printing this programme.
Perth Museum and Art Gallery for their support of the event and use of the lecture hall.
Richard Baxell and the International Brigade Memorial Trust – for permission to quote extensively from Richard Baxell, British Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. The British Battalion in the International Brigades 1936-1939.
Ajay Close for her help with editing and improving the script.
The International Brigade Memorial Trust for their support and assistance.
All the performers for giving up their time and effort for this project. Ian, Heather and Jim for writing a song, poem and short-story especially for the event.

Woody Guthrie- Jarama Valley

“There’s a Valley in Spain called Jarama,
It’s a place that we all know so well,
It is there that we gave of our manhood,
And most of our brave comrades fell.
We are proud of the British Battalion,
And the stand for Madrid that they made,
For they fought like true sons of the soil.
As part of the Fifteenth Brigade.
With the rest of the international column,
In the stand for the freedom of Spain
We swore in the valley of Jarama
That fascism never will reign.
Now we’ve left that dark valley of sorrow
And its memories of regret,
So before we continue this reunion
Let us stand to our glorious dead.”

Ian McLaren – Song for James Moir

“I’ve travelled far to join the fight.
Hiked across the Pyrenees, under dead of night.
My country’s failed me, they had no right.
That’s the reason here is where I lay my head tonight.
I’m only 20, my future bright.
But if I don’t reach 21, I’ll die knowing we were right.
My country’s failed me, they had no right.
That’s the reason here is where I lay my head tonight.
In this dark hole how do you think I feel?
The fear of death it haunts me as I hear my comrades squeal.
My country’s failed me, they had no right.
That’s the reason here is where I lay my head tonight.
I close my eyes and dream of better days.
And I wonder how these fascists justify their wicked ways.
So heads of state, unite in shame
And may your sleep be troubled by your role within this game.
My country’s failed me, they had no right.
That’s the reason here is where I lay my head tonight.”

Not to a Fanfare of Trumpets

Music: Medley of Bag-pipe songs.

Narrator: In July 1936, a coup was launched in Spain by a group of generals aiming to overthrow the Republican government. This democratically elected government had been pursuing reform and widening political freedoms within a very poor country. Spain was a land of extreme inequalities between the masses and the rich and powerful. Many peasants earned less than a shilling a day, whilst mere 50,000 landowners owned half of Spain. The changes introduced by the government fell foul of the landed aristocracy, industrialists and generals.

Liberal Opinion: As with the First World War, the civil war in Spain was ignited by assassination. Frank Pitcairn, a journalist described what happened: “Gunmen in a touring car nosed slowly through sparse traffic under the arc lamps of a Madrid street, opened fire with a sub-machine gun at the defenceless back of a man standing chatting on his doorstep, and roared off among the tramlines, leaving him dying in a puddle of his young blood on the pavement … The young man they killed was Jose Castillo” – a Republican police officer.

Narrator: Whilst the insurgents were initially successful, their opponents – workers, trade unionists, members of political organisations from the centre to the left, and some members of the Civil Guard and the Assault Guard – took to the streets, erected barricades, and confronted the Rebels.

The Republic: I am a Spanish woman and a Republican. The Republic implemented the first authentic reforms to affect Spanish women. Women’s organisations flourished. Beginning with the suffrage debate in the 1931 Parliament which gave women the vote, women gained more national attention then ever. I have joined the militias to defeat fascism and defend the rights of women. There are a thousand women at the front; several thousand under arms at the rear and a women’s battalion forms part of Madrid’s defences.

Narrator: Faced with opposition, the generals saw that their rising was in danger. With the Army of Africa commanded by General Franco, trapped in Morocco, the Rebels turned to fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Hitler and Mussolini sent help, crucially providing aircraft to ferry the Army of Africa across the strait of Gibraltar. Once across, the army headed north, leaving a trail of slaughter and destruction. Within weeks, Franco’s forces were approaching Madrid, where they united with General Mola’s northern army. Pleas by the Republic for assistance from Britain and France were ignored. The European powers chose not to support the Republic. Instead, an agreement was made not to intervene, to which Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the USSR signed. Twenty-seven countries established the Non-Intervention Treaty in August 1936. Its committee was based in London. The agreement strongly favoured the Rebels.

Poetry: Heather Reid – The Ways of Owls.

After the sun had gone,
and night had spread its canker through the sky,
they sent their planes;
known things, familiar shapes, examples
of the everyday mundane
but changed enough for death.

For those who sent them –
brutal men whose names we didn’t know –
had studied owls
and understood how death can
sculpt the air and distribute
despair on silent wings.

Remember them now;
the child whose crouching shadow stained the wall,
the man on fire
the lovers fused to bone,
all those for whom the silence didn’t end.

Our kin. The lucky ones.

Liberal Opinion: Clement Atlee leader of the British Labour Party exposed the nature of non-intervention: “An enormous weight of munitions has been thrown into the scale on the side of General Franco; heavy guns, up to date tanks and above all a huge reinforcement of the most modern and powerful aeroplanes have been sent to aid the fascists. The splendid spirit of the Republicans was overwhelmed by the sheer weight of metal … the plain fact is the British government acquiesces in aggression while pretending to support non-intervention.”

Narrator: Appalled at the prospect of another country succumbing to fascism, volunteers from around the world flocked to its aid. To these anti-fascists, Spain was the latest battleground in the war against fascism, and offered a chance to check its advance. Over the coming years, they fought and died alongside the Spanish Republicans in their determination not to let the fascists pass.

Music: Christy Moore – Viva la Quinta Brigada – Ian McLaren.

Ten years before I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifth International Brigade

They came to stand beside the Spanish people
To try and stem the rising fascist tide
Franco’s allies were the powerful and wealthy
Frank Ryan’s men came from the other side

Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on
Truth and love against the force of evil
Brotherhood against the fascist clan


Viva la Quinta Brigada
“No Pasaran”, the pledge that made them fight
“Adelante” is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight

Bob Hilliard was a Church of Ireland pastor
Form Killarney across the Pyrenees he came
From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother
Side by side they fought and died in Spain

Tommy Woods age seventeen died in Cordoba
With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun
From Dublin to the Villa del Rio
Where he fought and died beneath the blazing sun


Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco
Joined Hitler and Mussolini too
Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
Helped O’Duffy to enlist his crew

The word came from Maynooth, “support the Nazis”
The men of cloth failed again
When the Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Dun Laoghaire
As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain


This song is a tribute to James Moir
Jim Duffy and Jimmy Hyndman too
Bill Bailey, Charlie Hyman and Henry Bonar
Though many died I can but name a few

Danny Boyle, William Brown and Johnny Donnelly
Tom Davidson and Jim Straney from the Falls
Frank Docherty, Willy Watson and Jack Riley
John Berry, Billy Fox and Tom Hamill


Liberal Opinion: With the Rebels threatening Madrid, Fernando Valera, sub-secretary of communications proclaimed: “Here in Madrid is the universal frontier that separates liberty and slavery. It is here in Madrid that the two incompatible civilisations undertake their great struggle: love against hate, peace against war, the fraternity of Christ against the tyranny of the Church … This is Madrid. It is fighting for Spain, for humanity, for Justice, and, with the mantle of its blood, it shelters all human beings! Madrid! Madrid!”

Narrator: Some 35,000 men and women, from 63 countries volunteered for the Republic. More than 2,300 came from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, over 500 were killed; they came from overwhelmingly working-class backgrounds, in occupations such as labouring, construction, shipbuilding and mining. Edward Brown, John Gordon, Robert Malcolm, Hugh MacKay, James Moir, Ann Murray, George Murray, Tom Murray and George Steele, all connected to Perthshire were amongst them.

The Republic: I am Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria, a member of the Republican Government. In 1936, I was elected to the Parliament and campaigned for reform to housing, working conditions, health-care, land reform, trade union rights and the release of political prisoners. During the civil war I was a speaker for the Republican Government. On 18 July 1936, I made a broadcast in which I said: ‘The fascists shall not pass! No Pasaran!’

– these words became the cry of all those resisting. On 8 September of 1936 whilst on a tour of France and Belgium for the Republican Government I declared that : “The Spanish people would rather die on its feet than live on its knees. And do not forget, and let no one forget, that if today it is our turn to resist fascist aggression, the struggle will not end in Spain. Today it’s us; but if the Spanish people is allowed to be crushed, you will be next, all of Europe will have to face aggression and war” I was right.

Music: If You Tolerate This – Manic Street Preachers – Ian McLaren.

The future teaches you to be alone
The present to be afraid and cold
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists

Bullets for your brain today
But we’ll forget it all again
Monuments put from pen to paper
Turns me into a gutless wonder


And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

Gravity keeps my head down
Or is it maybe shame
At being so young and being so vain

Holes in your head today
But I’m a pacifist
I’ve walked La Ramblas
But not with real intent


And on the street tonight an old man plays
With newspaper cuttings of his glory days


International Brigade: Sam Wild – officer of the British Battalion. “To me it was elementary. Here was fascism spreading all over the world, the rape of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Germany and the persecution of the Jews there, and the rise of the Black-shirts in Britain with their anti-Semitism, and especially their anti-Irishism. I felt that somebody had to do something to try and stop it.

Narrator: The decision of the democracies not to intervene spurred many to take the matter in their own hands. The volunteers shared a hatred of fascism, combined with determination to do something about it. For opponents of fascism and injustice, the Spanish war was a defining moment.

The Republic: Juan Negrín, the Spanish Premier recalled the arrival of foreign volunteers: “International brothers. You came to Spain of your own free will, prepared to sacrifice your lives. I remember those grave moments in the month of November, when the whole world thought that Madrid would fall – Madrid, a defenceless city, except for the breasts of her sons. Never shall I forget the sight of that solid marching column, resolute and defiant, as the first international volunteers marched through the streets of Valencia on the way to Madrid.

Narrator: Amongst the first volunteers were the artist Felicia Browne and the poet John Cornford. Browne was killed on 28 August 1936 in a mission to blow up a munitions train in the Aragon. Cornford briefly fought on the Aragon front, before returning to Britain to raise recruits.

Poetry: John Cornford – A Letter from Aragon – Ajay Close

This is a quiet sector of a quiet front.

We buried Ruiz in a pine coffin,
But the shroud was too small and his washed feet stuck out,
The stink of his corpse came through the clean pine boards
And some of the bearers wrapped handkerchiefs round their faces.
Death was not dignified.
We hacked a ragged grave in the unfriendly earth
And fired a ragged volley over the grave.

You could tell from our listlessness, no one much missed him.
This is a quiet sector of a quiet front.
There is no poison gas and no H.E.

But when they shelled the other end of the village
And the streets were choked with dust
Women came screaming out of the crumbling houses,
Clutched under one arm the naked rump of an infant.
I thought: how ugly fear is.

This is a quiet sector of a quiet front.
Our nerves are steady; we also sleep soundly.

In the clean hospital bed my eyes were so heavy
Sleep easily blotted out one ugly picture,
A wounded militiaman moaning on a stretcher,
Now out of danger, but still crying for water,
Strong against death, but unprepared for such pain.

This on a quiet front.

But when I shook hands to leave, an Anarchist worker
Said: ‘tell the workers of England
This was a war not of our own making.
We did not seek it.
But if ever the Fascists again rule Barcelona
It will be as a heap of ruins with us the workers beneath it.’

Narrator: Nat Cohen and Sam Masters, holidaying in Spain volunteered immediately. With Richard Kisch, Tony Willis and Paul Boyle, they participated in a raid on Mallorca, in which Kisch was badly injured. On returning to Barcelona, the group became the Tom Mann Centuria. By the end of October 1936, after six weeks in which the Centuria took part in no fighting, the volunteers were desperate to get involved. Thus they welcomed the decision to group foreign volunteers together, which led to their transfer to the town of Albacete, chosen as the International Brigades base, and their attachment to the German Thaelmann Battalion. During November 1936, the British in this battalion were involved in skirmishes to the south of Madrid. Two weeks before Christmas, the battalion transferred to Boadilla del Monte, west of Madrid. By the time they arrived the Republicans were retreating. In the confusion, the English-speaking group became separated and came under machine-gun fire from a ridge, which had been occupied by Republican soldiers. As they retreated, they were caught in crossfire with bullets coming from their own trenches. Only seventeen of approximately forty managed to retreat, with seven killed.

Meanwhile, British members of the Commune de Paris Battalion fighting nearby as part of the 11th International Brigade also suffered heavy losses. During early November, the 11th International Brigade, was involved in the defence of the Spanish capital in the Casa de Campo, the park to Madrid’s west, and in University City nearby. Many of the British section were injured or killed.

Liberal Opinion: I am Gerda Taro. I travelled with Robert Capa to Spain; the photographs we took became famous. In the fighting for Madrid in 1937 I was killed. Robert went on to photograph the rest of the conflict.During the Battle for Madrid we spent three days with the 11th International Brigade which had pulled back to the Hall of Philosophy and Letters, to hold the line against the troops pouring across the Manzanares River. In his book Death in the Making, Robert described the scene: “The word no longer dominates in the University of Madrid; lead from rifles, from machine-guns, from field artillery is master now. Soldiers, spraying with bullets the grounds where students dodged the strong sun of Castille, sit in the armchairs where professors retailed the wisdom of the ages. On a library table an anti-tank cannon stands in readiness, just in case … In a chemical laboratory, sheltered from rebel fire, the defenders sleep and eat.

Narrator: Franco announced on 7 November 1936, that he would celebrate mass in Madrid within a day, and drink coffee in the Café Molinero. It was two-and-a-half years before that happened. Madrid, although plagued by bombardment, hunger, and lack of fuel, nevertheless stayed free until the end of the war. On 23 November 1936, Rebel Army commanders met and although they had captured two-thirds of University City, they realised that the Republicans were now established, organised and determined. The fascists abandoned further direct assaults on Madrid. Casualty figures were around 10,000 on each side. Far to the south, Nationalist forces made headway at Cordoba. On Christmas Eve 1936, the English Speaking No.1 Company of the La Marseillaise Battalion was sent down to Cordoba, despite lack of training and poor arms, to help check the Nationalist advance.

Music: Robert Burns – Scots Wha Hae Wi Wallace Bled – Colin.

Scots wham Bruce has aften led
Walcome tae yer gory bed
Or tae victorie
Nou’s the day an nou’s the hour
See the front o battle lour
See approach proud Franco’s pouer
Chains an slaverie!

Wha wad be a traitor knave?
Wha wad fill a couard’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Lat him turn an flee
Wha for Scotlan’s king an law
Freedom’s sword wad strangly draw
Freeman staun or freeman faa
Lat him follow me!

By oppression’s woes an pains
By our bairns in servile chains
We wad drain our dearest veins
Bit they sall be free
Lay the proud usurper low
Tyrants faa in every foe
Libertie’s in every blow
Lat us dae or dee!

Scottish Volunteer: I am Robert Malcolm of 2 Hunters Terrace, Perth. Thirty-seven at the time of volunteering, I was an unemployed labourer. I arrived in Spain on the 24th February 1937 and I saw service within the 2nd Company, 20th Battalion, 86th Brigade. Between April and May 1937, I was active on the Cordoba Front. I was repatriated on July 24th 1937.

International Brigade: I am Jud Colman from Manchester. I described in my book, Memories of Spain the fighting at Lopera where the 14th International Brigade spent two days in an attempt to capture the village: “Just before Christmas 1936, we were issued with ancient Austrian Steyr rifles, no magazines so they had to be loaded with single bullets … We moved out of Madrigueras to what became the Cordova Front … We detrained to march in columns toward the front … After a lot of marching we came to the top of a hill where troops in fox-holes were in position. The machine-gun section took up a position on one of the hills … The battalion attached the village of Lopera in the valley. We were firing from our position and were dived bombed a number of times … The next morning the English speaking group rejoined the remainder of Number 1 Company under Captain Nathan. There had been a lot of casualties.”

Narrator: By January 1937, the English-speaking contingent at Madrigueras numbered around 450, enough to form a battalion. However, plans received a setback when many of the Irish, unhappy about taking orders from ex-members of the British Army elected to join the Americans. The remainder were formed into the British Battalion.
Scotland’s contribution to the battalion was 476, who came mainly from Glasgow, the Clydeside, Dundee and Aberdeen. As well as combatants, Scotland contributed medical staff and ambulance units. Of the Scots, 134 were killed and 30 taken prisoner.
On 9 February, the battalion was transferred to Chinchón, fifteen miles south of Madrid. Here Franco’s crack troops, the Moorish Regulares, were confronted in a battle at the Jarama Valley, to prevent them from cutting off the Madrid-Valencia Road. Early in the morning of the 12th, the British Battalion, and the 15th International Brigade, moved up to the heights overlooking the Jarama River at Arganda. Facing the Army of Africa, the battalion’s lack of training and equipment took its toll, with casualties growing at an alarming rate. By early afternoon, the battalion was in a desperate position, its flank unprotected, the machine-gun company without ammunition, and numbers decreasing. The remaining volunteers were faced with little choice but to pull back to the plateau behind them. Rebel forces rushed to occupy their positions, but were quickly forced to duck for cover by the machine-gun company, which at last managed to load its guns. As the first day of the battle ended, the battalion found itself with less than half the number that had set out. Day two was no less terrifying.
During the morning of the 13th, the battalion fought hard to hold back the Rebels. As their flank once again came under attack, the commander of Number 4 Company pulled his soldiers back and the machine-gun company situated on a knoll to the battalion’s right became isolated and were surrounded. Over thirty volunteers, including the company commander, were captured and several of the battalion lost their lives in an ill-judged rescue attempt. Somehow, the remaining volunteers held on until nightfall.

International Brigade: James Rae from Glasgow. I was killed at Jarama. This is an account of the assault on the Machine-Gun Company: “At about 5.30am, the men of the Machine-Gun Company still lying in the trenches, heard during a lull in the firing the singing of the International and saw a body of men advancing toward their positions giving the anti-fascist salute and shouting: Viva las Brigadas Internacionales. At that distance and because of the similarity of dress, our comrades mistook them for the Spanish Battalion. Some thought it was a mass desertion from the fascist lines. Our comrades held up their fists in welcome to the men who were coming over. When they were about 30 metres from the Machine-Gun Company’s positions, Company Commander Fry recognised them as fascists by their Mauser rifles and dress of their officers. So he immediately gave the order to load and fire. Hand to hand fighting took place. Many died in the fascist ranks. The company lost ten Comrades; Machine-Gunners, Dean and his crew Jasper, Philies and Plum were blown up by grenades while operating their machine guns. Panayiotis Katsaronas veteran of four revolutions, ammunition gone, died cracking skulls with his rifle butt.

Poetry: William Soutar – The Permanence of the Young Men – Mary Alexander

No man outlives the grief of war
Though he outlive its wreck
Upon the memory a scar
Through all his years will ache

Hopes will revive when horrors cease;
And dreaming dread be stilled;
But there shall dwell within his peace
A sadness unannulled.

Upon his world shall hang a sign
Which summer cannot hide:
The permanence of the young men
Who are not by his side.

Narrator: On day three, under a sustained attack from a superior force supported by artillery and tanks, the line broke. In small groups, the volunteers drifted back to the cookhouse, where they were addressed by Lieutenant-Colonel Gal, brigade commander, who explained that they were the only troops between the Rebels and the Valencia Road. Despite exhaustion, one hundred and forty volunteers marched back to recapture their positions. It was a brave performance. The Rebels, fooled into believing them to be reinforcements, retreated and, during the night, units were brought up. Both sides dug defences and a stalemate ensued. These positions remained static for the rest of the war. Casualty figures were the loss of 25,000 Republicans and 20,000 Nationalists.

Music: Woody Guthrie- Jarama Valley – Ian McLaren.

There’s a Valley in Spain called Jarama,
It’s a place that we all know so well,
It is there that we gave of our manhood,
And most of our brave comrades fell.
We are proud of the British Battalion,
And the stand for Madrid that they made,
For they fought like true sons of the soil.
As part of the Fifteenth Brigade.
With the rest of the international column,
In the stand for the freedom of Spain
We swore in the valley of Jarama
That fascism never will reign.
Now we’ve left that dark valley of sorrow
And its memories of regret,

So before we continue this reunion
Let us stand to our glorious dead.”

Narrator: July 1937 saw the British Battalion, now under Fred Copeman, thrown into an offensive to relieve pressure on the north and break through the Rebels at their weakest point to the west of Madrid.

International Brigade: As commander of the British Battalion, I Fred Copeman witnessed the start of the Battle of Brunete: “Down in the valley covering some seven to ten miles in breadth and as far as the eye could see in depth, the divisions were moving forward – black fascinating lines of infantry, some in perfect field formation, like small broad arrows on the newly harvested carpet of corn land. Blocks of tanks were all over the scene, and artillery from the first line was belching shells into the attacked villages. A block of a hundred tanks dashed forward in a cloud of dust towards the rear of Villanueva de Cañada, where the first wave would meet the defences.

Narrator: On July 6th, the battalion moved towards heavily defended Villanueva de la Cañada. The battalion was pinned down by machine-gun fire, and forced to take cover, short of water and in temperatures of 40 degrees, and wait until nightfall. The village was captured eventually, though not before a number of volunteers were killed when Rebels attempted to escape by using civilians as human shields. The following morning, a day behind schedule, the battalion moved forward towards the heights overlooking the Guadarrama River, and Boadilla del Monte. Weakened by fatigue, thirst and bombardment, they could not advance sufficiently rapidly to capture the unoccupied heights and Rebel forces moved into the position. Of the three hundred and thirty-one volunteers in the battalion at the start, only forty two remained. An audit of losses at Brunete reveal some 20,000 – 25,000 Republican casualties, against a Nationalist figure of 10,000 – 12,000, the destruction of around 100 Republican planes; four-fifths of the government’s armoured assets; and, massive amounts of artillery.

Scottish Volunteer: James Moir – aged 20 – killed at Brunete. My family lived at Maybank, 46 Craigie Road in Perth. We had moved up from the Borders. I was the son of John Steele Moir and Janet Thomson – along with my sisters Margaret, Mary and Jenny. My father a native of Perth and an elder of St. Leonard’s in-the-Field was an estate-agent connected with the firm of P.D.Malloch of Scott Street.
I was inspired by the efforts of the anti-fascists and attended a meeting on the war, after which I resolved to go to Spain. I asked father for his permission, but he forbade me. I packed my bags and left. My family never saw me again. It was illegal to go from Britain to fight in Spain and so I took a clandestine route, travelling to Paris on a weekend ticket, dodging the police whilst going down to the border and crossing by a dangerous night hike across the Pyrenees. I entered the International Brigades at Albacete on the 1st of June 1937, having left London on May 14th 1937.
The British Battalion casualty report for August 8th 1937 states: ‘Missing Presumed Captured
8). No Name. 46 Craigie Road, Perth, Scotland’; this entry is for me.
My parents believed that I was a prisoner, for correspondence between them and the Foreign Office exists for the period 1937-38. My family have a plot in the Jeanfield Cemetery in Perth. The inscription at the base of the stone says: James Moir son of the above John and Janet Moir. Killed in action at Brunete Spain July 1937.
Aged 20 years.
I do not lie there. I probably lie buried in a shallow grave on the battlefield; covered up with loose stones.

Music: Colin – The Internationale.

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we’ll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They’ll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.


No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E’er the thieves will out with their booty
And give to all a happier lot.
Each at the forge must do their duty
And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.


Narrator: In mid-August 1937 the 35th Republican Division, including the British Battalion, was transferred to the Aragon front, as part of a campaign aimed at capturing Saragossa, and diverting attention from the north where, following the bombing of Guernica and the capture of Bilbao, Santander was under pressure.

International Brigade: I am Bob Merriman, commander of the Lincoln Battalion present at the battle for Quinto: “Quinto was an ancient Spanish village of narrow streets, and two-, three-, and four -storey stucco buildings. The town was built into a bluff, on the top of which stood a church. To the west of the church was an old cemetery, secured by a tall adobe wall. Just south of the town was a rise in the land called Purburell Hill. The Fascists were entrenched on the hill. From the gun sights of that strategic position, they controlled all approaches to the town. And they were nestled deeply into the village itself.”

Narrator: The British Battalion helped capture Quinto, but suffered significant casualties, including the death of its commander, Peter Daly. He was leading the advance when hit in the stomach by a bullet. Though the British continued to advance, fighting at Belchite and Mediana, Saragossa remained in Rebel hands and the Republican offensive ground to a halt. During October, the battalion participated in a plan to capture Fuentes de Ebro. Attempts to carry infantry on tanks were a failure and the battalion lost another commander. With numbers depleted, the battalion was withdrawn for two months.

Scottish Volunteer: I am John Gordon, a motor cycle assembler, aged 23 from 5 Berrell Square, Crieff. I arrived in Spain December 2nd 1937. I found the reality of war too difficult and deserted. This resulted in imprisonment at Valencia before repatriation on April 8th 1938. I arrived in England April 25th before coming home to Scotland.

Narrator: In mid-December 1937, the Republicans launched another Aragon offensive, which captured Teruel. However, by mid-January 1938, Republican forces in Teruel were fighting to contain a major counter-attack and the Internationals were rushed up. On 17 January, the British Battalion moved into position, struggling through cold and several feet of snow. Despite a ferocious Rebel bombardment, the battalion held their ground and halted the counter-attack. Twenty-one British volunteers were killed, thirteen of them from the Major Attlee Company, which had borne the brunt of the Rebel artillery barrage. The battalion was withdrawn, but their period of rest was short-lived, as the Rebels’ counter-attack gained momentum. It is estimated that the Aragon offensive cost 20,000 Republican casualties. Despite operations in the Aragon, the position of the Republic was no better. By the end of November 1937, Franco had 58 Spanish Divisions and one million men in the field.

Scottish Volunteer: I am Eddie Brown of 11 Commercial Street, Coupar Angus and 28 Whitefriars Street, Perth. I was a painter and trade unionist. I was born January 1st 1906, and raised in Coupar Angus, where my father had a fishmongers. When in 1936, Mosley’s Black-shirts organized a rally on Perth‘s South Inch, I was one of the 3,000 counter-demonstrators. I saw service in Spain at the British Battalion base and as part of an Anti-Tank Battery. I arrived in Spain on May 13th 1937, was wounded at Brunete, hospitalised with a broken ankle at Teruel, wounded in the leg during the Ebro offensive and repatriated December 7th 1938. A short stay at Perth Royal Infirmary preceded my return to Coupar Angus. During the war, I moved from working at the Clyde shipyards to soldiering with the Highland Light Infantry. I saw action in the Middle East and was part of the D-Day landings. Afterwards, I returned to house-painting, but hindered by my wounds I moved into road-painting for Dunbartonshire Council.

Short Story: Jim Carruthers a local writer has produced a short-story based on the war.

Short Story: Jimmie Stitt, Plough-man by Meigle, dying in a makeshift hospital

Late one afternoon in La Pobla.

Que culo.
The first words he spoke when he came round, He pulled himself up to rest against a pillar. It was difficult, painful & the words were stertored rather than clear.
Rosa ,the nurse, heard him & span round to give him a row or lecture on gender solidarity. Instead she smiled at him & he knew then at that precise moment, as quickly & surely as a guillotine ,he would never recover.
The municipal hall was vast, the size afforded by the 6 pillars, such as the one he lay against. Beyond the clutter of the makeshift triage, the plaster walls were stained in a limestone ochre. Onto them all in vivid arterial red were painted slogans & outlines of heroes in the struggle. They carried rifles, flags & the air of victory. All the slogans were in Catalan, apart from the ubiquitous “No Pasaran”.
Jimmy Stitt remembered La Pobla now, bigger than Meigle, aye, more the size of Blair. He’d spent a night here before travelling south for the last offensive.
We were known as the Storm Troop, Jimmie grinned wryly to himself as he remembered the fortnight of training, crack soldiers pioneering shock tactics, but in the dark, across rocks ,through pine trees, against German machine guns, we didn’t stand much of a chance. If the fascist rebels had counter-attacked ,he reckoned all the wounded here, including himself, would have been dead already, ,La Pobla would have been overrun & the great hall most likely blown up.
This was all a fair way from Meigle, where he was fee’d as a ploughman on an estate home farm. Nothing worse than an Anglo-Scot laird, except for a fake one.& Henry Maitland-Farquhar was one such. The money was fake, handed over by the government in exchange for his coal mine, his name bound to be fake, more likely to have been christened Geordie Bauld, the wersh presbyter of his fathers long forgotten.
It was the grieve he had more of a problem with. He was properly dour, more dangerous than either the laird or the factor & Jimmie watched out for him. He wouldn’t really have cared, could have just louped away for another fee, if it wasn’t for the presence of Meg & Jenny at the farm. He quietly hoped never to have to choose between them. Because of the grieve, when he went into Perth on Saturday afternoons, Jimmy made out he was going either to the football or the pictures rather than the party meetings.
One Saturday, he went in & just didn’t come back. He took a train to Edinburgh & lodged with a party contact. Thereafter to London & then to Paris.30 bob for the supposed weekend return on the train. The network kept him going ,it was needed not just for the relay, the food & shelter but because it was illegal to join the International Brigade. The flies in France were also on the lookout.
Cycling over the Pyrenees was exhilarating, the first time Jimmie & the assortment of Dutch, Russians & Bulgars could drop all the subterfuge & travel openly. The secret of this journey was certainly in the arrival. Catalonia welcomed him & the disparate gang. The similarities to Scotland struck him early on. A small nation subjugated by a larger country to the south. Likewise Catalans were mostly socialists. If only the Castilian peasants in Spain proper had sided with the government ,none of this would have happened As it was…Stitt, Brigade No.1021 found it hard to focus, his belly had started leaking again & Rosa came over to his side.
He remembered Gallagher fulminating about the British Government’s non-interventionist stance. It was his address that had finally made Jimmie come here. The closet fascism of the English was inherently more dishonest ,more distasteful than the candid support of Germany & Italy for the rebels. He was aware of White Russia, but he would never hear about Poland or Yugoslavia. Whatever the inclinations of Spanish peasants, if Britain had supported the government with food & munitions ,the struggle could have been victorious. It was after all a fellow democracy, a fully democratically-elected government & it was not as if it was extreme.
It was clear to him the rebels were not that good at warfare, just as much a rag-bag army as ours, Italians & Moors. Gallowglasses them all. It was the hardware that made all the difference. The machine guns, the planes ,the odd destroyer had made it impossible for the government to prevail. Jimmie realised this was no ordinary finite civil war. The volunteers versus mercenaries arrangement was faintly ridiculous, unlikely to be repeated, likely to be remembered for the wrong reasons. But after it was over, and the government was now bound to lose, not just Spain would suffer but all of Europe.
Blood started leaking now as well & for a moment, the combination with the pus reminded him of the Catalan flag.
Jimmie minded now of Lerida in the summer of last year not long after he’d arrived & completed his training. A big rally in the city square had been addressed by ,among other luminaries, the Duchess of Atholl. A true laird if ever there was one. How she’d overcome the shackles of her class to champion the republican cause was beyond him. He tried to get to speak to her, one Scot to another, maybes ask for a fee when the fight was over & justice had prevailed. The throng was too much, she moved in the elite, but he retained the plan of returning to Blair Atholl rather than Meigle. It would mean losing both Meg & Jenny, unless Lady Murray could hire them too. But it was not likely, they would probably have forgotten about him by now, started going out with other men & both be reluctant to take back up with him. He would never learn of her downfall & the dirty tricks her class her party would visit upon her.
Rosa tried to get him to lie back down & control the leaking.
“Hee my” she called him. For all her beseeching ,Jimmie was grateful ,but he resisted, told her he wanted to rest as he was ,looking out upon the heroes, illuminated by the golden light of the late spring afternoon. His last words to Rosa were ”La Lucha Continua”,
When he closed his eyes, it was with no regret, not even for the lie of his words. Within minutes he recognised only the sound of his breathing, slow & shallow. He felt the great globe of the world being reduced to a small tube where only the faint air passed. He found himself halfway down an Atholl rigg. Over a dyke from a nearby park, one of the English nurses called to him, out of the old knapweed above the song of the whaup, she asked for his hand, he didn’t know whether he could or not, he wanted to ,he wanted to tell her this new world now was fine, that there was no need for fear, no need for her or Rosa or anyone else left in the hall to be afraid. The slow throttling of life compressed all the beauty of the world into this one rigg, All the bad blood had been squeezed away from the ochre of loam, purifying it ,lightening it. Leaving but the prevailings of rivers & comradeship, the certainties of wind & great loves, the knowledge & vibrancy of spring & the sure promise of barley & bothy beer.
Cirrus led the view across the open sky & the land until it rose into the snow still on the hills. Around the rigg, peesies flichtied, ushering him as if they were angels.

In the end, he had held out his hand, When Mary ,the English nurse, took it, she found clasped within a small photo of two Clydesdale horses.

Narrator: On 16 February, the British Battalion advanced on Segura de los Baños, forty miles north of Teruel. Despite initial success, the Rebel’s superiority told and the battalion was forced back. Teruel was recaptured shortly afterwards. On 7 March 1938, Franco launched an attack on the Republican forces in Aragon with 26 divisions, 800 aircraft and vast quantities of artillery and tanks. Six Republican divisions were obliterated by this huge Nationalist army. What began as a series of break-throughs for the Nationalists swiftly became outright retreat for the weary Republicans. The British Battalion made a fighting retreat through, Belchite, Lecera, Vinaceite and Caspe. By the 15th, Caspe surrendered, despite desperate fighting. Only when the battalion reached Batea and reinforcements were brought up was the Rebel advance checked. The respite was brief, for on 30 March, the Rebels launched another offensive, this time in the south of Aragon. The British Battalion were marching from Belchite towards Calaceite, when disaster struck. Mistaking Italian tanks for their own, the battalion was attacked and a large number forced to surrender, with many others killed. Only eighty volunteers, made their way to Gandesa. Here they attempted to delay the Rebels, before retreating over the Ebro. With the bridges across the river blown, the Rebel advance was stemmed. Many Republican soldiers were trapped and captured or perished attempting to swim across the fast-flowing Ebro.

Scottish Volunteer: I am George Steele of 14 Union Street Lane, Bridgend. A PT instructor I arrived in Spain in May 1937 and was wounded at Brunete and again in January 1938. I was repatriated shortly afterwards.

Narrator: Training for the final Republican offensive began in June with 80,000 troops. The intention was to divert the enemy from pressing an attack down the east coast from the corridor separating Catalonia from the rest of Republican Spain and to prolong the struggle in the hope that the democracies would intervene. The British Battalion was informed that they were charged with capturing Gandesa. After crossing the river during the night of the 25th July, the battalion made rapid progress, capturing Corbera late that evening. However, as the Rebels brought up reinforcements and intensified their bombing, the offensive became bogged down. Attempts by the battalion to capture the heavily fortified Hill 481, overlooking Gandesa, were costly. By 3rd August, the Republicans gave up their attempt to capture Gandesa, and the battalion was moved into reserve.

Scottish Volunteer: Eddie Brown. I told Judith Cook for her book, Apprentices of Freedom about being wounded at the Ebro: “I felt something and I rolled back and said to Jock, who I was with, “It’s coming from up there, you’d better come back. We’re high enough for the enemy to see us.” Then I said to him, “I’ve got wounded, Jock.” He says, “Where abouts?” and I said, “My ankle.” He opened my boot and said, “There’s bugger all there. You’re no wounded.” Then he said, “Oh, Christ, there’s blood here,” and I’d been wounded in the knee. I’d had a bad ankle since Brunete, and that’s where I felt the pain, not in my knee.

Poetry: W.H. Auden – Spain 1937 – Mary Alexander.

They clung like burrs to the long express that lurch
Through the unjust lands, through the night, through the alpine tunnel.
They floated over the oceans;
They walked the passes; they came to present their lives.

Inscription on the memorial to the International Brigade volunteers in Kirkcaldy.

Not to a fanfare of trumpets,
Nor even the skirl o’ the pipes.
Not for the offer oe a shilling,
Nor to see their names up in lights.

Their call was a cry of anguish,
From the hearts of the people of Spain.
Some paid with their lives it is true,
Their sacrifice was not in vain.

Narrator: With the Republic on the defensive, the Rebels attacked. On 24 August, the British Battalion took over the American positions on Hill 666, the main height of the Sierra Pandols. Here the volunteers endured a massive bombardment and an attack by two battalions. Two weeks later, the British Battalion moved to Hill 356 in the Sierra Caballs, which they captured, despite overwhelming numbers of Nationalists and unrelenting bombardment. On 21st September 1938, the Spanish Premier, announced the intention to repatriate all foreign volunteers. However, the battalion were called upon one last time and replaced the 13th Dombrowski Brigade. During that final action they sustained a five hour artillery barrage and were caught in cross fire. Nevertheless, they remained in their positions right until overrun. When the battalion was withdrawn in the evening of 21st September, the losses were over two hundred killed, wounded, or missing. It was a heartbreaking end to their role in Spain.

International Brigade: I am political commissar Peter Kerrigan: “I could give dozens of individual acts of heroism but what is the use. The list of citations, which I enclose, tells in brief official terms of the acts of deathless glory, which were played out against a background of the cutting to pieces of our very bravest. I saw what No. 1 Company came through at Córdoba and I will never forget when I was told what our casualties were in those first 3 days at Jarama. But nothing can compare with the end of our battalion.

Narrator: The consequences of the Ebro failure resonated across Spain. Although, both sides sustained 50,000 – 70,000 casualties, the Republican material losses ensured the war was over.
Just before Christmas 1938, the Nationalist Army launched an offensive with the intention of overrunning Catalonia. Nationalist forces amounted to 300,000 men, 565 pieces of artillery and 500 aeroplanes. Unfortunately, for Catalonia, a convoy of weaponry sent by the Soviets failed to arrive in time. Republican frontlines collapsed and a quick Nationalist victory was only averted by Lister’s 54th Army Corps. By January 1939, Lister’s men were forced to abandon their positions. Villages and towns then fell before the Nationalist advance, despite attempts by the Republic to pour men into the region.
As the Nationalists swept through Catalonia, so thousands of refugees flooded into Barcelona joining others already displaced. The Republican and Catalan Governments and the exiled Basque administration relocated to Gerona – close to the border. Half a million people joined their government’s flight and moved northwards.
The refugee columns pouring towards France at the end of January 1939 included troops, political and military leaders. This mass of people was described as ‘a rod of suffering.’ Even as they attempted to get into France, they were bombed. The French Government at first refused entry but eventually allowed in civilians and wounded. It was only when they were faced with having to fight the Republican Army that they too were allowed entry. Around 60,000 Republican soldiers failed to escape and were captured. After the fall of Catalonia only one-third of Spain remained under the Republican flag.
The Civil War ended with power struggles within the Republic. A coup led by Colonel Casado, commander of the Central Army preceded the taking of Madrid by the Nationalists on 30 March 1939.
The Nationalists entered Madrid without firing a shot. Republican soldiers everywhere abandoned their lines and with their families, attempted to get out of the country. Slowly all of Spain came under Nationalist control.
A victory celebration took place in Madrid on 19 May, followed by a farewell parade for the Condor Legion. Franco proceeded to inflict 35 years of autocracy over Spain with repression, executions and imprisonment.
Estimated numbers killed during the war range up to a million. Three years of war brought the economy to its knees. The national debt was 8.3 billion pesetas, property damage was 4 billion; 500,000 homes had been destroyed or damaged. Spain owed 5 billion lira to Italy and 400 Million Marks to Germany. Half the nations’ livestock was dead and the bulk of seed grain gone. Half the workforce was dead or in exile, two-thirds of vehicles were destroyed along with half the railway stock. A third of the merchant marine fleet no longer existed. Many villages and towns lay in ruins with much of the country’s cultivated land in a dreadful state. Poverty, starvation and homelessness were endemic, while infant mortality rates reached 50%. Spain did not recover from this position for decades.

Music: Ian McLaren – Phil Ochs – Spanish Civil War Song.

Oh, say do you remember 25 years ago,
They fought the fascist army, they fought the fascist foe?
Do you remember Franco, Hitler’s old ally?
He butchered Spain’s democracy, half a million free men died.

Ai, ai, ai, ai–
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?

And don’t forget the churches and the sad role that they played:
They crucified their people and worked the devil’s trade;
But now the wounds are healing with the passing of time,
So we send them planes and rifles and recognize their crime.

Ai, ai, ai, ai–
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?

So spend your tourist dollars and turn your heads away.
Forget about the slaughter, it’s the price we all must pay,
For now the world’s in struggle, to win we all must bend:
So dim the light in Freedom’s soul: sleep well tonight, my friend.

Ai, ai, ai, ai–
Did you wonder why?
Did you ever pause and cry?

Liberal Opinion: I am Katherine Murray, Duchess of Atholl. The first Scottish female MP, and, the second British woman to gain the office of government minister. I entered Parliament in the 1923 election and held Kinross and West Perthshire for 15 years. I was one of few Conservatives to oppose government policy of non-intervention. I became Chair of a National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief in 1936. My tour of Spain in 1937 was part of an all woman delegation which took in Barcelona, Catalonia, Valencia and Madrid. Just two weeks after the trip, the German air-force committed the massacre at Guernica. I wrote up these events in Searchlight on Spain that sold 30,000 copies. My stance on Spain and the work done to help Spanish children, led to accusations of being a communist – they called me the Red Duchess. The West Perthshire Party removed me and triggered a by-election. Chamberlain determined to win, threw all the resources of the Conservative Party into the fight, flooding the constituency with big names. On a 67% turnout, the 21 December 1938 by-election vote was 11,800 to William McNair Snadden and 10,495 to me.

Poetry: Tony McLean – I Wept the Day that Barcelona Fell – Mary Alexander

I wept the day that Barcelona fell
and who would fear such honest tears to own?
Who when such spheres collided would not groan?
and you who wept not, yes, I hate you well
ignoble English bound with Munich spell
where moral climate could not move to shame
what shall it profit if I sum your blame
now London’s suffered passion tide as well?
Yet Spain’s still bound, three times the cock did crow,
that would not bend her knee; no Malchus swords
came to her aid, no midwife time affords
to ease the child pangs she must undergo.
Christopher lost, John gone and Edward slain
while you hugged safety and abandoned Spain.

The Republic: Although born in Aberdeenshire in 1906, I Annie Murray, a nurse was raised in Perthshire. Upon completing my training at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, I set off to Spain. I spent the majority of my wartime at a hospital in Barcelona as a theatre nurse. I described my experiences in Voices from the Spanish Civil War:

And then from the hospital in Barcelona we used to go out in the hospital trains all around the area, behind offensive, and when there was more work to do outside the hospital than inside. In the hospital train, it was gruelling, you know. On one occasion we went under a bridge to operate when bombs were falling.

After two and a half years, I returned to Britain and worked at Dulwich Hospital, before finishing my career as a nurse in Stepney. During the war, I took a role in civil defence.

Scottish Volunteer: I am George Murray, sister of Annie. Born on Hogmanay 1909, I was a printer and member of the Scottish Typographical Association. I saw two years service within an Anti-Tank Battery and then the Military Investigation Service. I was shot in the chest, recovered and returned to the front. ‘I was all through the campaign of the North, and eventually we were pushed back of course … I took part in the last march of the International Brigade through Barcelona. It was a very emotional sort of thing.’
After returning to Scotland, I took up my profession as a printer again, apart from an interlude in the Clyde shipyards during the war.

Narrator: On 15 November 1938, a farewell parade for the British Battalion preceded their arrival back to London on December 7th where Attlee welcomed 305 returnees. Receptions were held in Edinburgh and Glasgow. When in 1939 it became Scotland’s turn to oppose fascism in Europe, many of the volunteers put on the soldier’s uniform again.

Scottish Volunteer: I am Henry MacKay born in Perth on 14 November 1914. I had served in the French Foreign Legion from which I deserted in 1934. It was because I made my own way to Spain that I was initially imprisoned as a spy. I am mentioned in the book Spanish Prisoner by Peter Elstrob. Here is one extract: “Turning I saw another dirty, bedraggled, bearded specimen.
‘Hello,’ I said. ‘Are you English?’
‘No, I’m Scotch,’ he said carefully. ‘My name is Henry Mackay. Have ye got any money?’ “

I served in No.2 Company of the British Battalion, fought at the Ebro and was later wounded on the Gandesa Front in 1938. I was part of a group that left Spain on December 18th 1938, having been nursed at Vich Hospital. The British Consulate, reported that: ‘The train arrived from Spain about midday and the volunteers, who were in groups of more than a dozen nationalities, and numbered about 260, were all wounded and sick men in different stages of convalescence, some of them transported on stretchers. Of these 69 were British subjects (including nursing staff): eight of these were stretcher cases and one was ordered by the French doctor to be removed from the train at Perpignan and to be placed in the St. Jean Hospital there, as his condition was too grave to permit his continuing the journey. The hospital on the 21st reported his condition as improving.

Music: Bag-pipe – A Man‘s a Man – Martin Bristow.

The Republic: I am La Pasionaria. I made this speech in Barcelona on November 1, 1938: “It is very difficult to say a few words in farewell to the heroes of the International Brigades, because of what they are and what they represent. A feeling of sorrow, an infinite grief catches our throat – sorrow for those who are going away, for the soldiers of the highest ideal of human redemption, exiles from their countries, persecuted by the tyrants of all peoples – grief for those who will stay here forever mingled with the Spanish soil, in the very depth of our heart, hallowed by our feeling of eternal gratitude.
From all peoples, from all races, you came to us like brothers, like sons of immortal Spain; and in the hardest days of the war, when the capital of the Spanish Republic was threatened, it was you, gallant comrades of the International Brigades, who helped save the city with your fighting enthusiasm, your heroism and your spirit of sacrifice. – And Jarama and Guadalajara, Brunete and Belchite, Levante and the Ebro, in immortal verses sing of the courage, the sacrifice, the daring, the discipline of the men of the International Brigades.
For the first time in the history of the peoples’ struggles, there was the spectacle, breath­taking in its grandeur, of the formation of International Brigades to help save a threatened country’s freedom and independence – the freedom and independence of our Spanish land.
Men of different colours, differing ideology, antagonistic religions — yet all profoundly loving liberty and justice, they came and offered themselves to us unconditionally.
They gave us everything — their youth or their maturity; their science or their experience; their blood and their lives; their hopes and aspirations — and they asked us for nothing.
Banners of Spain! Salute these many heroes! Be lowered to honours so many martyrs!
Mothers! Women! When the years pass by and the wounds of war are staunched; when the memory of the sad and bloody days dissipates in a present of liberty, of peace and of well-being; when the rancour have died out and pride in a free country is felt equally by all Spaniards, speak to your children. Tell them of these men of the International Brigades.
Recount for them how, coming over seas and mountains, crossing frontiers bristling with bayonets, sought by raving dogs thirsting to tear their flesh, these men reached our country as crusaders for freedom, to fight and die for Spain’s liberty and independence threatened by German and Italian fascism. They gave up everything — their loves, their countries, home and fortune, fathers, mothers, wives, brothers, sisters and children — and they came and said to us: “We are here. Your cause, Spain’s cause, is ours. It is the cause of all advanced and progressive mankind.”

Today many are departing. Thousands remain, shrouded in Spanish earth, profoundly remembered by all Spaniards. Comrades of the International Brigades: Political reasons, reasons of state, the welfare of that very cause for which you offered your blood with boundless generosity, are sending you back, some to your own countries and others to forced exile. You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of democracy’s solidarity and universality in the face of the vile and accommodating spirit of those who interpret democratic principles with their eyes on hoards of wealth or corporate shares which they want to safeguard from all risk.
We shall not forget you; and, when the olive tree of peace is in flower, entwined with the victory laurels of the Republic of Spain — return!
Long live the heroes of the International Brigades!”

Narrator: There are 55 memorials to the International Brigades in the British Isles. In Scotland, there are memorials in: Aberdeen; Dundee; Edinburgh; Galloway; Glasgow; Irvine; Kirkcaldy and Prestonpans. As yet, there is no memorial in Perth.

Music: Bag-pipe – Flowers of the Forest – Martin Bristow.