Liam Tumilson - An Appreciation

By Patrick R McLaughlin Irish Democrat 21st August 1937 -

March 14 1937 was the second of three days fighting on the Jarama front for the possession of the Valencia road. Wave after wave of Fascist troops hurled themselves on our lines, especially on our left flank, in an attempt to break through. On noon of this day, our line broke to the left of us, the Lincoln Battalion, and word of this was passing along to the Commandant, Liam Tumilson, who was checking up on the machine-guns further down the line. Owing to the peculiar lie of the land our machine guns had not yet swung into action. On hearing what had happened, Comrade Tumilson came calmly and quickly on the scene, to see for himself what could be done. Standing on a little hill from where he could view the carnage below, he turned to issue instructions, but he had scarcely finished speaking when a Fascist bullet crashed through his brain and with sorrow we watched his proletarian blood flow on to the soil he fought so hard to save from despotism and slavery. That gap was shortly afterwards manned by several of our American comrades on seeing whom the Fascists turned and fled.

Along with those of his comrades who have also paid the supreme price in their resistance to Fascism, Liam Tumilson sleeps his last in the fair hills of Spain. We buried him in the English speaking section in the little town of Morata. about 20 miles southwest of Madrid. Born of Ulster protestants, Liam strove to unite the catholic and Protestant workers against their common enemy, the capitalist class, and was one of the gallant little band who defended Connolly House, Dublin, when it was besieged in 1933, by the same fascist hoodlums who were out here in the name of Christianity.

He was in his element fighting Fascism and it was typical of him, that at the commencement of his journey out here last December, being short of the necessary fare for that distance, he hitchhiked all the way from Liverpool to London. It was typical also of the slogan we associated with him - 'Wherever the fight is, Tumilson will be there.'

To his young Irish sweetheart, Kathleen Walsh, now in England, we tender the deepest sympathy of every comrade in the XV Brigade. We feel we could not play fitting tribute to Liam if we omitted the name of the one who was the idol of his heart and who, in turn most thoroughly understood him. We have confidence, based on the opinion of our late comrade, that Comrade Walsh will become a leading figure in the future work of building a fitting memorial to Liam and his comrades in the form of a free, happy and prosperous Workers Republic.

Patrick R McLaughlin.