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Iconic photographs of British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

This is one of the first photographs taken of British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Kneeling in front in white trousers, is Tom Wintringham, who commanded the British Battalion in their first action in Spain, at the Battle of Jarama in February 1937.

Members of the British Machine-Gun Company, captured at Jarama
Members of the British Machine-Gun Company, captured at Jarama

Members of the British Machine-Gun Company, captured at Jarama in February 1937 and paraded in front of the cameras of Movietone News under the watchful eye of their Civil Guard captors. The prisoners were eventually released and repatriated in May 1937.

Members of the British Anti-Tank Battery relaxing at their base in Ambite in autumn 1937
Members of the British Anti-Tank Battery relaxing at their base in Ambite in autumn 1937

The British Anti-Tank Battery was an eilte unit formed in June 1937 and armed with state-of-the-art Russian guns. Hugh Slater, in the centre of the photo, replaced Malcolm Dunbar as their commander in August 1937.

Thanks to Joan Brown, Jim Carmody, Dan Payne and others for their help in identifying everyone. If you know the name of any of the unknown volunteers, please get in touch.

Comments

Eamonn O'Neill
Reply

My uncle , Eamon McGrotty was killed at Jarama . This is a photo I have not previously seen . Many thanks .
Eamonn .

rbaxell
Reply

Eamonn is you’re ever in London, there’s a copy of the photo (without names) in the International Brigade Archive, which is held in the Marx Memorial Library.

Eamonn O'Neill
Reply

My Uncle was an ex Christian Brother from Derry . Was shot dead at Jarama . Immortalised in Christy Moores ” Viva la Quinta Brigada “. Am very interested if any exist of his tragically short time in Spain . His mother received word of his death from a newspaper headline ” Three Irish reds killed in Spain “.!

Daniel McWilliams
Reply

I am currently undertaking a study into the role of religion in the Spanish Civil War in the context of Ireland and Irish volunteers for an essay competion organised by the Friends of the Intl. Brigades Ireland (FIBI). I would be very grateful if you could contact me with any information regarding your Uncle’s motivations for going to Spain and any religious quarrels he may have found himself in due to his position as a Brother in Ireland or Spain. I think the religious aspect of the SCW is both complex yet immensely interesting and I would love to hear from you about your Uncles experiences.

Daniel McWilliams
Reply

My contact address is dmcw@live.co.uk.

Kind Regards,

Daniel McWilliams

Eamonn O'Neill
Reply

Sorry should read ” Any photos of Jarama Battalions exist “

jenny
Reply

Hello I wondered if anyone can help me. Thomas reginald buckingham I believe fought in the spanish civil war between 1936 to 1939 I wondered can anyone confirm this is true.
Thomas reginald buckingham was british and he was from newcastle.
I would be very grateful if anyone can help provide any kind of info about him.
My contact address is jennyusa100@gmail.com

Liam
Reply

FAO Eamonn, Would your uncle have been Dick O Neill by any chance? If so the Anti Racist World Cup, committee are unveiling a plaque to honour him and William Beattie on Fri 26th July at Northumberland street, beside twin spires, we have been trying to find a photo of him to put his image on a mural without any success, Would you know if one exists? If so could you please contact me at blaggersita@gmail.com?

Whether it is him or not you would be more than welcome to attend the unveiling.

Gavin McGrotty
Reply

FAO Eamon, my parents were at the recent unveiling of a plaque to your uncle here in Derry. They’re also interested in locating any pictures and if they come across we’ll make sure and pass them on.

Stuart Walsh
Reply

Richard, we have now found out that Ramona’s full name was Ramona Garcia Siles, later of course Ramona Cohen.

rbaxell
Reply

Fantastic! Where did you get her name from – one of the photos in the WCML?

Victoria Cox
Reply

My cousin, Tommy Patten, of Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland. fought for the Spanish Republic and died at Boadilla del Monte near Madrid in December 1936. I do know he was one of many immortalised in Christy Moore’s song “Viva La Quinta Brigada”.and that there is a memorial monument to him on Achill Island. Am seeking any photos or additional information about him or living relatives. Recommended readings welcomed. Please contact me at victoriajcox@aol.com with any info.

Stuart Walsh
Reply

Richard, only just noticed your question (while looking for something else), about where we got Ramona’s name, was in newspaper clippings that are attached to the famous Ramona in the Trenches photograph. Not all are dated, or name of newspaper given, but Marshall done a lot of work on them & tied down most of them.

Declan O'Neill
Reply

Sorry – have only just come across this. My uncle was Dick O’Neill.
I have an appreciation/obituary of him from the 1937 IRISH DEMOCRAT if anyone would like a copy.

rbaxell
Reply

Hi Declan, Sorry for the slow reply; your post was swamped by an ocean of spam. Yes please, I’d certainly like a copy of the obit. Have you a digital version? Regards

Maureen Briggs
Reply

Hello Declan,
I came across your message about Richard O’Neill from July of 2015. Hopefully this still reaches you. Richard O’Neill is my uncle also. So I have done some research on the Spanish Civil War which is how I found your message. I am your cousin Maureen Briggs in the United States. We met in 1962 as children when we were visiting Belfast.

I would be interested in hearing from you. I am in contact with only two other cousins in Ireland. I have some great photos of your father. My mother loved him dearly. Are you still living in Australia?

Please contact me at skelligmichael@charter.net. Would love to hear from you.

Maureen (0’Neill) Briggs

Christine
Reply

Hi All
Fascinating to read how the research you have all done links up! I just wondered if anybody has any references to my great-grandfather, James Bridge, who was in the IBMT and wounded at Jarama. The older generations in my family would never talk about him and I’d love to know some more but am having quite a struggle trying to find anything. I can be contacted at info@christinewhite.co.uk

carol Chowney
Reply

Love the photo of my Grandad,only met him once before he passed away.alfred Chowney.would love more photos if you have some.

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