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From: The Socialist issue 1033, 13 March 2019: Weak Tories must go. General election now!

Search site for keywords: Hull - Working-class - Spain - Fascism - Union - Trade union - Fascists - Anti-fascist - Fascist

Memorial to the working-class fighters from Hull who fought fascism in Spain

International Brigaders in Spain 1937 photo Elkan Vera/Wikimedia, photo Elkan Vera/Wikimedia

International Brigaders in Spain 1937 photo Elkan Vera/Wikimedia, photo Elkan Vera/Wikimedia   (Click to enlarge)

Harry Gammon, Hull Socialist Party

During the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War in 2016, the International Brigades Memorial Trust asked that areas which have a memorial or plaque to commemorate it by laying a flower or a wreath.

In Hull, our plaque is situated in the Guildhall underneath a staircase in a dark and gloomy part of the building. I wrote to our local paper saying what I was about to do to honour the eight men who had gone to fight in Spain. Thankfully they published the letter.

On the day in question, I went along to the Guildhall and was astonished to find around 60 people there including trade unionists and many relatives - from daughters to great nieces. The small plaque inside was not good enough.

These people required something bigger than this, and their history and sacrifice needed airing. The people of Hull have to know about these brave individuals. So the seeds were sown and the journey to raise money for a proper memorial began.

It would have been impossible without the support throughout of the Hull trade union council and working-class people.

Every penny raised has come from the people of Hull and the trade union movement through its local branches. They have all been incredibly generous with their donations and have supported us every step of the way.

We have a formidable team made up of the trade union council and the relatives. Over the last two years more research has taken place and we now know that there was one more local Brigader.

And we have also uncovered a woman who worked at Hull University who went out with the ambulance service. They will be added to the memorial.

The group decided to put on as many events as possible to put this history back out onto our streets. So we have had plays written and performed across Hull and in Barcelona, as well as talks and concerts.

It's been a privilege and an honour to work with this group and to find out so much about these working class heroes who went to Spain. Before they left every one of them was involved in strikes and disputes across the UK and as far away as Australia.

Most of them were at Corporation Fields where they fought against and smashed Oswald Mosley's fascists when they came to our city.

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Article dated 13 March 2019

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