THE last known British survivor of the Spanish Civil War has died aged 94.
David Lomon, originally from Hackney, in East London, was one of 2,500 brave Brits who volunteered to fight against General Franco’s fascist army during the 1936 to 1939 civil war.
The war hero signed up to the International Brigade in secret in 1936 following a run in with Oswald Mosley’s fascist group, the Blackshirts, at the Battle of Cable Street, which took place just yards from his home.
At the time he was also a member of the Young Communist Party.
After signing up he fought in the battle of Teruel, which claimed 140,000 lives and marked a major turning point in Franco’s eventual victory.
He was captured in 1938 and became a prisoner of war at a camp in San Pedro de Cardenos, near Bruges, enduring brutal beatings and starvation before returning to the UK.
Jim Jump, secretary of the International Brigade Trust, paid tribute to Mr Lomon and said: “He had a conventional life when he returned.
“He was not the type to boast about what he did.
“He was a lovely man; very polite; a classic English gentleman.”
In an attempt to impose a fascist rule in Spain, with the support of Nazi Germany and Italian fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco waged a bloody war against the government
Although the UK’s official stance was non-intervention thousands of British men signed up to fight, including writers George Orwell and Laurie Lee.
The official stance from both the UK and France was non-intervention but the elites of both countries actively supported the Fascists and did everything they could to stop supplies from the outside world reaching the democratically elected Republican side.
The awful irony of this is, that had Franco been defeated which would have been the case had the Republicans received the same support as the Fascists then WW11 may never have happened as Hitler and Mussolini countries were both on the verge of bankruptcy both needed to invade and loot other countries to survive but Franco’s victory only spurred these vermin on.
In the 60s’ I was lucky enough to hitch a ride once from a man who had fought with the I/B – what tales he told.
David Lomon – RIP
To add to this fascinating part of the Civil War In Spain, check out the trilogy by Arturo Barea, journalist and writer who left Spain during the Franco years, was a conscript in Spanish Morocco, immigrated to England and worked for the BBC broadcasting news to Spain during the civil war when this kind of news was not available for the Spanish listening public. His trilogy of books about his growing up in Spain are:
“The Forge” ,”The Track” and “The Clash” which are biographical. Check him out!
My uncle fought with the IB. They were all card-carrying students in the days when they believed that the antidote to Fascism was Communism. Some of them never gave up that belief, and turned a blind eye to what Stalin did to his own people, and to what atrocities have been committed by communists ever since. It had a nice sequel though. My aunt, when aged 80, also a card-carrier in her youth, visited the US to see her daughter and took a coach trip to Niagara. The bus crossed into Canada, but her visa, as a one time “Commie”, was for single entry, and she was stranded for three days while the Consulate got her another one.
He was Fighting for Marxists dogs a communist government would have been worst government for Spain than Franco how many good Spaniards did he kill
Today, he would have been declared as a terrorist and one of the bad guys.