Ireland and the Spanish Civil War

Irish News reports July - Dec. 1937

July 1937
2nd Page 4 Editorial The Non-Intervention failure

3rd Page 4 Editorial Non-Intervention Deadlock

3rd Page 7 Newry Man back from SpainCol 3-4. Padraig Mac an Bhaird [aka Patrick Ward] lives in the Falls Road in West Belfast, a native of Newry. He went with the first batch in the Irish Brigade. He met a fellow Newry man, Fr McVeigh in Portugal. [This is a useful piece, full of horror stories.]

5th Page 4 Editorial Basque Leaders Flight

9th Page 6 col. 6 Bilbao Ship dispute

10th Page 6 Wages dispute [A strike on board the Cobetas, one of the Spanish ships detained in Belfast.]

14th Page 6, col 7. Spanish Ship in Belfast[The ongoing court case about ownership of the Cobetas.]

15th Page 4 Editorial 'A final bid'[On non-intervention.]

16th Page 6 Letter re protestants and Spain.

16th Page 6. Col. 4. Arrested Spanish vessel.[On the court case.]

19th Page 4 Editorial A year after

30th Page 4 Editorial Last days in Spain

August 1937
7th Page 4 Editorial Away on holiday[On non-intervention.]

13th P5, col. 5 Interviewed in Clones on the 12th General O'Duffy spoke in 'glowing terms of the Irishmen who fought under him in Spain' and said that the war would end in about six more months.

14th P6. Col. 3-4 Arrest of Derry vessel[On the ongoing court case concerning the ownership of the SS Atalaya, a Spanish ship whose owners were contesting the nationalisation by the Government.]

17th P4. Editorial The return to the fold[On Franco's advances in Spain.]

28th P4. The Requetes of Navare[A large article, of no real Irish interest in the war, but it's a positive piece on the occupation forces in Santander.]

30th P4 Editorial Deliverance
[A small editorial on Franco's advance.]

31st P5 5 Irishmen Killed in Spain
Four from Belfast

Five Irishmen - four of them from Belfast - attached to the Irish unit commanded by Mr Frank Ryan, were killed in action with the Spanish government troops near Madrid. Eight others were wounded.

The dead Belfastmen were:

Richard O'Neill, a former member of the Belfast IRA.

Liam Tumilson, believed to have lived at Thorndyke St, Belfast, a former officer of the Orange Order, who Gaelicised his Christian name and began to study Irish.

William Beattie, Shankill Road, Belfast, a member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party.

W. Loughran, Belfast.

William Davis, Dublin was the fifth man killed.

The Irish unit was taking part with the American Lincoln Battalion and Spanish troops in the capture of a town on the centre of the Madrid front when the causalities occurred.

September 1937
1st The Babes of Bilbao
[On the Basque children.]

3rd P4 Editorial Skull and Crossbones
[Attacks on ships near Spain.]

4th P4 Editorial Pen and Sword
[Basque propaganda.]

10th P3, col. 5-6. Christianity or Marxism in the issue in Spain
[An interview with the Cardinal Primate of Spain.]

10th P6. The Mason and the Separatist A Basque priest reviews a Spanish problem. [nearly half a page.]

11th P2. Arrested Spanish Ship
[The court case on the nationalisation of the Spanish ships was dropped.]

14th P5 On Monday 13th the Salamanca Government released:
Mr Charles Martinson, of Oregon St, Bootle, Lancs. Mr Harold Leeson, Pulborough, Sussex. Both were captured on the Madrid front in February 1937 and held for seven months. They crossed into France and will be repatriated by the British Consul at Bayonne.

According to the British Embassy in Spain, this leaves two POW; Robert S Cox and Maurice Goldberg.

17th A report dated the 16th, that a Mrs Muriel Ingram, a Free State citizen, was arrested in Bilbao. She was a language teacher who stayed during the Republic, when the Nationalists took over 'she was denounced to them and arrested.' [What were they arresting her for???]

23rd P4 Editorial The Rebuff to Red Spain

October 1937
4th P4. Life in Barcelona during the civil war
[A sizable pro-Franco article by Lawrence P Lynch, MSc.]

4th P5 Adieu and farewell
[The 40 Spanish sailors leave Derry.]

5th P6. Greetings from Dublin to Communists in England

The following letter from the secretary of the Kevin Barry Youth Movement in Dublin to the 90th National congress of the Young communist League in England is significant.

This Youth movement in Dublin is identified with the left wing of the Irish Republican movement there.

'From the Kevin Barry Youth Movement, Ireland,

Dear Comrade,
We extend greetings to the Young Communist League and all other organisations represented at your Conference…. Here the forces openly opposed to national independence are also the fanatical supporters of the murderer Franco, against Spanish democracy… Forward to a United Militant youth!

Fraternally Yours
Thomas O'Brien (Secretary) [This presumably is the future Spanish volunteer.]

11th P4. Fighting with the Reds
Irish Communists' Experience

How Irishmen fighting for the Reds in Spain went into action with an ex Black and Tan as c/o, and armed with brand new Russian rifles, was described by James Prendergast, a Dublin Communist, speaking at a meeting held in Belfast last night.

He himself went to Spain in November [1936], the speaker said, on a one-day excursion ticket from England. The French guard at the frontier who should have stopped them gave them the Popular Front salute, and allowed them to go on. He was put into an Irish section of about 50 and sent to the Cordova front. Their commander was an ex British officer who, after the war, had served in Ireland as an 'auxiliary'. He was afterwards killed in a bombing raid. After Cordova they fought at Guadarrama, where they were all armed with brand new Russian rifles. There were about 250 Irishmen altogether serving with the Madrid Government, the speaker added. The initiative in sending an Irish contingent to Madrid had been taken by the Irish Communist Party.

Speaker and Wrecked Churches

Speaking about what he had seen in Barcelona, the speaker said he had seen churches wrecked, and that did not occasion any particular sentiment in him, as he was not religious. If priests had been shot and their churches wrecked, it was because they represented all that was dirty in Spain.

Asked about the prospects for the war, the speaker said that the Madrid government had now 500,000 men in the field, whereas Franco had only 250,000. He felt optimistic about the future. The interpretation put on the present state of affairs was that the French and British governments had threatened that if the Italian Government did not its forces they would throw open the French frontier and give the Madrid Government the arms and ammunition they wanted.

The lecture was preceded by a film of the 'International Column'. Russians who appeared in the film, notably the correspondent of 'Pravda', were enthusiastically applauded by the audience.

13th P5 Irish Bishops and Spain
[Approx a 6-inch report.]

16th P6. Col 5. Detained Spanish Ships
[About 6 inches on the ongoing court cases on these ships, noting new.]

18th P2. Review of Alcazar and other poems by Egerton Clarke, Burns, Oates, 1 shilling

22nd P4 Editorial The Significance of Gijon
[The capture of Gijon by Franco's troops. It was one of the last major towns in Northern Spain held by the Republican forces.]

P4 Editorial The Wrecker at Work
[On Russian in the Non Intervention Committee.]

28th P3. Irishwoman Executed in Spain
Free State to Ask for Reparation

The Irish Free State Government, Mr De Valera stated yesterday, is making inquiries with a view to claiming reparations for the execution of an Irishwoman in Spain.

Me de Valera, who was replying to a question in the Dáil, said that as far as their information indicated, the woman - Miss Boland - was murdered, together with members of the family with whom she worked, by Basque or Valencia Government forces immediately before the occupation of Bilbao by General Franco.

30th P7 [Joseph O'Toole, 37 Sean MacDermot St, Dublin, was killed in fighting in Shanghai, on October 29th, with the Royal Ulster Rifles. This was a Sino-Japanese war with incidental British causalities. His brother 'went to Spain with the Irish brigade and has remained there as a member of the Spanish Foreign Legion.' His father fought in the Boer and First World Wars, a military family.]

November 1937
1st Page 5 Northern Labour Party and Spain
At the conference of the Northern Ireland Labour Party on Saturday a resolution from the Northern Ireland Socialist Party congratulated those Irishmen 'who, along with their comrades of the International Brigade, have assisted in stemming the Fascist aggression in Spain' was passed unanimously.

1st Page 6 'Howling Mobs' at the Steps.

[There was a move to get the government to protect working class meetings at the Customs House. Midgely said 'it is not right to continue these meetings' if they were going to be attacked.]

2nd Page 6 Editorial On the Custom house Steps
[An ironic editorial attacking loyalists for preventing free speech at the Customs House.]

2nd Page 7 Resolution supporting Spanish Reds
Newry Priest and Belfast meeting

Very Rev. P McComiskey, Admin, Newry, speaking at the Cathedral on All Saints day, referred to a recent meeting in Belfast [the NILP conference] at which a resolution was passed supporting the persecutors of the Catholic Church in Spain.

There were Catholics at that meeting, he said, who stood quietly by whilst this resolution supporting the destruction and desecration of the churches, convents and other religious institutions and the murdering of priests and nuns was passed.

Had these people lived about 2000 years ago they would have been amongst the rabble who shouted, when our Lord stood before them, at the hour of Pilate - 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'

5th Page 6 Editorial The Recognition of Franco

[This welcomes the steps taken by Britain to recognise Franco.]

20th Page 4 A sizable review of A War correspondent in Franco's Spain.

29th Page 6 A review of Life's a cocktail by Julie Pinto. This dealt with the wholesale slaughter of priests by prostitutes, etc.

December 1937
15th Page 7, col3. Free State and Franco

[On the maintenance of the non-intervention policy. There was a long report on debates in the Dáil.]

Other local newspaper reports here.

Extracts from the Left press of the period

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