Remembering the Fifers who fought against facism in Spain 80 years ago

Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War

Fifers who travelled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War are to be remembered at an 80th anniversary event in Kirkcaldy.

Ian Waddell, chairman of Fife Trades Union Council, which is organising the event, said: “This is an important part of the history of Fife.

Memorial in Kirkcaldy to the Fifers who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Memorial in Kirkcaldy to the Fifers who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

“People in Fife responded to General Franco’s military rebellion against the democratically elected Republican government of Spain.

“They saw that Franco was backed by the armed might of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.

“Across the world people realised that fascism had to be confronted. Many went to fight with the Spanish government in the International Brigade. Forty volunteers from Fife were among them. The British Battalion of the International Brigade first saw action in the Jarama Valley in February 1937. Volunteers from Fife were involved in that battle.

“We are holding this commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary.”

Ian gave the examples of Tommy Bloomfield from Kirkcaldy and Hugh Sloan from Methil who joined the International Brigade.

“He fought at Jarama, where he was taken prisoner,” he said. “After being released and taken through France he and others decided to return. They were angry that fascist governments were supporting Franco whilst democratic governments, such as Britain, offered no support to the Spanish.

“Hugh Sloan wrote of why he went to Spain, ‘Youngsters who were in Spain linked up with the partisans and so they inspired young people from all over the world ... This was treated as something new and inspiring: the fight against fascism could be won, and it inspired people world-wide. So I went to Spain’.

“There was also support generated by the communities in Fife for the fight in Spain. People in Fife raised funds to help the families of volunteers. They collected clothes and other items to help the Spanish people. At our commemoration we will remember that level of commitment as well as the heroism of the volunteers.”

The event takes place on Saturday, February 25, at 11am at the memorial in Forth Avenue and afterwards there will be speeches and a reception in the Adam Smith Theatre from 11.30am.