Annual tribute to those who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain

Spanish Civil War Memorial in Duchess of Hamilton Park
Spanish Civil War Memorial in Duchess of Hamilton Park

The annual commemoration for the volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War took place in Duchess of Hamilton Park on Sunday.

A total of 549 Scots travelled to Spain from 1936-39 to fight as members of the ‘International Brigades’ in defence of the democratically elected government against General Franco’s fascist backed rebels, aided by Hitler and Mussolini.

A large crowd gathered at the memorial to the volunteers as they listened to tributes from Andy Jones of the No Pasaran Memorial Committee, who organised the event.

Wreaths and flowers were laid by trade unions, the committee and individual family members.

In a moving and compelling contribution Maureen Saunders read letters her grandfather, Archie Dewar, had sent from the battle-front to his mother and brother. He was killed in action.

In further recognition of the significance of the sacrifices made by those who fought for liberty and democracy against fascism North Lanarkshire Council is to fly the flag of the Spanish Republic at Motherwell Civic Centre from July 19-22.

Mr Jones said: “We congratulate North Lanarkshire Council for this statement in recognition of the valour and sacrifice of all those who fought fascism.

“This memorial here in Motherwell and the flying of the flag are not just worthy and deserved tributes to those who fought in Spain, but are reminders to all of us that we must be aware of the evil of fascism and be ready to challenge it in all its guises.”

The last Scottish International Brigade veteran, Steve Fullerton, died in 2008 and the memorial was installed within Duchess of Hamilton Park in 2013.