Spanish Civil War Veteran

The Irish Times, Sept. 29, 1997

Sir, - In recent years you have quite rightly given honourable mention in your columns to the small handful of surviving Spanish Civil War veterans.

Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Patsy McAlister never featured amongst those mentioned. As he died on September 16th, I would ask that, for the record, this now be rectified.Patsy, a Belfast man, emigrated to Canada in 1928. When war broke out, he enlisted with the Lincoln Column of the International Brigade which assembled at Perpignan and marched into Spain. He took part in several engagements, was injured and taken prisoner, but, along with other Irish prisoners, was eventually released and sent back to Ireland. He led a very active life in Belfast until his declining years, retaining a keen interest in political and trade union matters.

An unassuming working man who attracted no mention to himself, his proudest possession was his International Brigade identity card. He attended the 50th Commemoration of the end of the war in Barcelona in 1989. His ashes will be scattered in Spain, as he wished.


Gerry McAlister,

College Manor,Dublin 9.