Material New to Site

Updated 30th August 2018

The purpose of this page is just to draw your attention towards the most recent additions to the site. Some will be notices, new documents or even reprints of original material. Notices generally will stay here for about a month, then moved onto the Site Index. Hope this is of interest and use. I have tried to contact the authors of each piece, and where possible indicate on the site who has copyright. If anyone knows where the original authors of some pieces are, please let me know, CC

(Anyone who wants to be regularly UPDATED should send me an email, with Update Me as the subject.)

Hilary M Coleman - died, Belfast, October 14th 2017

Hilary M Coleman, my wife and partner died on October 14th 2017.
We were on holiday in the Canaries when on Feb 19th she collapsed and was subsequently diagnosed as terminally ill, brain cancer. Towards the end Hilary was moved into the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast, where the staff did some amazing work to make her comfortable.
So, partially in memory of Hilary, and to support the Marie Curie Hospice, my family are attempting to raise £6,090, the running costs for the hospice for one day. Please help, this is genuine.
Go to Fund the Belfast Marie Curie Hospice for 1 day - £6,090
This website would not have been possible without the political, moral and financial support of Hilary - so please help us in return, it's a good cause.

Help support the Hospice + Marie Curie nurses

Text HILS76 £10 to 70070
This then sends £10 to the Hospice
Or,text HILS76 £5 to 70070
Go on, lift that phone - support the cause!

Thanks, Ciaran

24th August 2018 - You research for years - then something surprising happens

I've been doing this research for over 20 years, thought that between me and Jim Carmody we had the names of those Irish in Spain all nailed down.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to find an Irish Times article about an Irishman I'd never heard of, someone who fought in the Basque Army.

Sam McGrath of Dublin is the man who must get the credit for this. He wrote a longer piece for a pamphlet commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the bombing of Guernika.

He operates a blog called Come Here to Me! Well worth a visit. Blog describes itself as "Come Here To Me! is a group blog that focuses on the life and culture of Dublin city. Music, history, football, politics and pub crawls all feature, along with much more."

28th August 2018 - You research for years - then something surprising happens - Part 2

Sam McGrath strikes again - having uncovered the existence of an Irish solider in the Basque army, he has now come up with a new name for the Bandera, the pro-Franco troops. As soon as I typed that, I have to make a broader point - this man was never in the Bandera, operating strictly in the Spanish reactionary forces, much like Prendergast with the Basques. Patrick Dalton, a seminary student, took up arms to support Franco, dying in August 1938. There was a short press statement sent out merely listing that he'd died. If anyone has information on him I'd really appreciate it. He was from Kilkenny and is not to be confused with the earlier Patrick Dalton, a member of the Bandera.

In January 2018 I was in Barcelona and went on a walking tour of sites relevant to the Spanish Civil War. It was well worth the money and the time. So, if you're going there, I'd recommend the tour.

Sport and Politics

A London Community Football club, Clapton CFC, as distinct from Clapton FC(!!! - and you thought the Left were splitters!) - have come up with a great way of fundraising - there away kit supports the International Brigades. Read more here Read more here The football kits cost £30, not sure of delivery costs. I like the point about them being made in Italy, so everyone will need to check the SIZE you really need to buy.
Go on, support a great cause, have a unique football jersey.

Latest Events

It is planned that FIBI's annual walk from Omeath to the Memorial carn on Sliabh Foye will take place slightly later than usual this year, on Saturday 8th September at 4pm.

We should be back at the Granvue Hotel in Omeath for 6:30/7pm approximately for an evening of song, music and craic hopefully.

2 new memorials unveiled in September 2018

Sept 15 monument to Ruth Ormsby to be unveiled at Dromore west Co Sligo 20 miles past Sligo

Plaque to Jack Nalty on building in East wall area of Dublin to be unveiled on Sept 23

More info from

New information - another Irish non-participant in Spain

While on the above mentioned tour, and in the excellent book accompanying it, the guide mentioned Loius Mac Neice, the Irish poet - it turns out that MacNeice was in Barcelona for 10 days in December 1938 - more details to follow, CC, 10/1/18

Jim Carmody has died, London August 3rd 2016

It is with great regret that I report that those researching the International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War have had a big loss. Jim has been the easy going, knowledgeable and helpful researcher for the IBMT for several years. Literally no one who has written in detail on the English speaking volunteers could have done their work without Jim's help.
A short obituary has been written by Richard Baxell, it is available here.
Jim, you were always helpful and patient, a sad loss. Rest in peace

Updates, Feb 6th 2017 - News of Upcoming Events

  • ONE WEEK TO GO!!!!!!
  • One of the important things that activists need to be careful of - DON'T BORE THE PUBLIC, droning on all the time!! Not everyone is 100% committed to what we're doing, even though that's hard to believe.
  • So, in that light, the Int Brigade Commemoration Committee is pleased to offer you a chance to see some theatre,

    Dare Devil Rides to Jarama

    Black Box, Feb 13th, 2017.

  • Here is the Press Statement put out for this event.
  • This is a great opportunity to mix Art and politics - seeing the case of a British Int Brigader, Clem Beckett, brought to life. He was a motorcycle dare devil rider! Need to know more, come along!

  • One for the Diary - The International Brigade Commemoration Committee AGM and lecture will be in the Falls Rd Library, Belfast, Feb 11th 2017. Topic - 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Jarama - the important Irish role - Speaker Ciaran Crossey (don't let that put you off attending!) - but this will be an open meeting, everyone welcome. 11am start, tea and coffee available.

  • The Charlie Donnelly Winter School - Feb 24-25th. - This is taking place in The Junction, Beechvalley Way, Dungannon
  • There is a draft programme available - the opening talk (on the Friday night) is on The Labour Movement and Left Republicanism in East Tyrone, and is being called the Ben Murray & Joe Boyd Memorial Lecture in honour of two local volunteers.

October 20th 2016 - News of Recent events

  • Week of meetings ongoing in Dublin - 17th - 22nd October 2016 - Here's the extensive list of topics Sorry it's so small. A more readable version can be read here.
  • IBMT AGM was in Dublin - read more here - Oct 15th. President M D Higgins made a very interesting speech - read it here
  • On Oct 15th, the union Unite in Dublin, with an input from members of the IBCC in Belfast - erected a new plaque in the Middle Abbey Street offices
  • One for the Diary - the International Brigade Commemoration Committee AGM and lecture will be in the Falls Rd Library, Belfast, Feb 4th 2017. Topic/Speaker TBC - but this will be an open meeting, everyone welcome.

Derry social July 31st 2016

The No Pasaran! group, based in Derry - but commemorating the volunteers from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone - held an event at the memorial plaque, 31st July - followed by a film show and social in Sandinos.

Here are some photos from the well attended events.

Joe Mulherron, a Derry activist who has given the International Brigades a lot of support over the years - plus he runs Sandinos! - opened the evenings entertainment with this song he wrote.

Updates, 4th April 2016

The site has been idle for a few months as I was occupied with other things, but I will now add a few reports of recent events.

Belfast City Hall memorial window

In November 2015 the IBCC, with the support of councilors from all political parties on the city council, unveiled a stained glass window in the foyer of Belfast City Hall.

The event was attended by over 14 families of veterans - as well as folk from Belfast we had people from Dublin and Britain. A magnificent turnout.

A fuller report and images will be added soon. Ciaran C.

Updates, 8th July 2015

Are you energetic, near Newry - we've just the thing for you in late July!!

The Friends of the International Brigade Ireland erected a cairn on the hills outside Carlingford a while back - now they are having a commemoration there on July 25th.

Bring sensible shoes/boots, and this is Ireland, some raincoat, etc!!

Should be a good day

Updates, 6th Feb 2015

Barry McLoughlin and Emmet O'Connor - book launch tour!

Barry McLoughlin and Emmet O'Connor are lodging a lot of research material on Irish labour politics with Queens University at 4pm this afternoon, I can't get along - work calls. But after this Barry is launching his latest book on the Brigadiers, especially those from Limerick.

After this he goes on tour, details here:
      McClay Library, Queen’s Belfast, Friday 6 February 4PM

      Speech by Emmet O’Connor of handing over documents and microfilms donated by him and Barry McLaughlin about the history of the Communist International and Ireland to Queens Archives.

      Talk and launch by Barry McLaughlin on his book and what the Moscow International Brigade Archives reveal.

        Saturday 7 February, 2PM, upstairs bar Sandino’s, Derry: Book launch and discussion

          Tuesday, 10 February, 6.30PM ,Charlie Byrne’s bookshop,Middle St., Galway:Book launch and discussion

            Thursday, 12 February, 6.30PM, Tyrconnel Room, School of History UCC, Perrot Avenue, Cork: Booklaunch and discussion.

Belfast - Sat 7th Feb - IBCC AGM and Lecture

OK, short notice, but there you go.

Brian Hanley - author of several books on Irish republicanism, esp. one on the Workers Party, The Lost Revolution, will speak in Falls Rd Library, Belfast, 11am, on the Blueshirts/Irish Christian Front. ALL WELCOME

Before that the IBCC will hold a short AGM, riveting stuff, but at least there's tea and coffee to keep the eyes open.

COME ALONG, listen to the discussion.

It's hard to imagine but the IBCC is now going for 10 years!! IN that time the number of memorials in NI has gone from 1 to 15. We didn't erect them all, but created the atmosphere for commemorations.

Yet more memorials/events planned

Frank Conroy Commemoration

View the 3rd Commemoration on Youtube. At about 13 minutes into the film they're driven indoors by the rain and you can then hear Harry Owens speak.

Schools Essay - nearly over - last push for entries

The very successful series of schools essay competitions organized by FIBI, in order to develop interest on the International Brigades among teenagers is running at the minute., THE DEADLINE IS ON NOV 20th.

More info from this press statement by Harry Owens.

16th Nov - Achill Island Memorials.

Memorials, like buses, always tend to come along in batchs!

A memorial event was planned for Patrick Burke and as it is a bit of a journal, some members of the IBMT and FIBI decided to double up, and do a commemoration at the Tommy Patten memorial on the island as well.

Full details are available here.

17th Nov - Jim Haughey Memorial Lecture, Craigavon.

Craigavon Trades Council contine the series of lectures with "Women and the Great War", speakers Dr Margaret Ward, and Lynda Walker, IBCC.

Here's the poster for that meeting.

Updates on the Irish non-combatants in Spain

The latest person I've found who was in Spain during the war, and who continued with her work in Southern France with refugees, was Mary Elmes. Read about her on the Non-Combatants list.

Feb 6th 2012 - Short account of a Belfast Protestant for Franco

A Square Peg in a Round Hole (Maybe?): A Brief Account of Captain TF Smith XV Bandera (Irish Brigade) in the Spanish Civil War. This story, and it is amazing, is told by Smith's grandson who is looking for more information, so if anyone can help, please contact him through this website. Read it here.

Index to the Worker, the Irish Democrat and The Workers' Republic - 1930s papers

Update: Among the first documents I put online were the SCW articles from the three Irish Left papers of the thirties. Recently I was looking for some specific references and I decided that a name/individuals index to these papers would be useful, so here it is.

Links for over half of the 600 or so indexed names thru to the relevant article from those papers have now gone online. If anyone comes across a broken link, please let me know.

As a part of this exercise I've come across a couple of articles I'd left off the site, so here's an addition from the Irish Democrat 28th August 1937 Welcomed Home from Spain

CC, Belfast 20/4/8

Pat Read - anarchist in SCW

I've pulled together a document on Pat Read, probably the most definite Irish anarchist in the SCW, and it's available here. An extended version of the document is also now available (with some other material) on the publications page at a reasonable price!

Also available is a pdf version of his document, Chicago replies to Moscow. Thanks to JD for merging the document.

Would anyone with comments, corrections, etc. please get in touch. CC, 8/4/8.

Extensive changes to the Bibliography

I was recently asked to update the bibliography of material on the Irish in the SCW. I've added a few books, thesis, etc. but the main change has been to more than double, to over 340, the list of newspaper, journal articles, etc. I hope people find it useful. Check it out.

Belfast and District Trades Union Council have published a 48 page pamphlet on the local support for the Spanish Republic. There are a large number of photographs previously not generally available, as well as other new material.

The pamphlet, which has the most extensive list of those involved yet available (78 men), is available for £5 (inc. post) - visit our publications page.

Introduction to the pamphlet by Kevin Doherty, Secretary of Belfast and District Trades Union Council.

Recent List of Republican volunteers

A full list of those who volunteered for Spain is being finalised. In the meantime, the most comprehensive list drawn up to 2004 is available here.

In Sept 2014 Barry McLoughlin produced a new book on the Irish in Spain, but his concentrates on those born in the island of Ireland, so none born in Manchester of Irish parents, etc. There is a substantial overlap of the names, but my list, even though it's 10 years older, has a wider range of names. Barry's book is available here.

Update on the Bandera List

I was sent new information on a Bandera vol - Denis Donoghue- previously unknown to the public - and it can be seen here at the start of my Bandera listing.

Land and Freedom - 6 differing views

I was recently sent a press statement by Peter O'Connor and Mick O'Riordan from 1996 giving their opinion on Ken Loach's film, Land and Freedom. I decided to see what else I could find on this and have ended up with a collection of 6 articles, 3 opposed to the politics of the film, 3 supportive.

Along with the statement from Mick and Peter is an article by Bill Alexander, who served as Political Commissar of the Anti-Tank Battery and then as Commander of the British Battalion in the SCW.

This compilation is not intended to start a debate on this site, it's presented here as a part of the historical record and is to allow people to make up their own minds.

Read the Land and Freedom reviews here.

Developments with the Memorial Map

I've now added links on the Memorials page each of the images taking you through to additional documents, etc. about each of the people concerned. One useful link is thru to reports about George Brown and the memorial erected in Inistioge, Kilkenny, June 27th 2008.

Irish Non-Combatants

After checking my notes from the National Archive in Dublin I've added one more woman, Beatrice de Courcy Ireland and Randall McDonnell, to the list, both interesting people. and heres the list. There are now 41 Irish Non-Combatants. Please contact me if you know of more. Updated June 3rd 2007


Please feel free to sign my Guestbook

Gallery - with a question - answered 28th March 2008

I've added another image to the gallery from the Irish Democrat, June 1991, of a group of veterans and relatives in Dublin. Left to Right - Dave Goodman, (British, captured with F Ryan), Maurice Levitas (b Dublin), Bill van Felix (USA), Mick O'Riordan, Eilis Ryan (sister of Frank), Bob Doyle (London, captured with F Ryan), Joe Donnelly, brother of Charlie, John Taylor, a Czech living in UK, Julius Margolin (New York Spanish War Support Committee). What's the name of the woman on the right? Can anyone name her? Please get in touch.

Added March 28th 2007: One suggestion, from Michael Walker, is that she is Thora Silverthorne (Craig) a Welsh Nurse. Michael, Thanks for the identification.

Note by Ciaran - The Gallery has lots of images

Readers should also have noticed by now the appearance of an extensive gallery of photographs. This was only possible after LONG, LONG hours put in by Gerry, many thanks and much appreciated.