Irish News reports on the Spanish Civil War 1938

January 1938
6th Page 5, col. 6 and 9.

[Extensive reports on the Battle at Teruel and on the reported deaths of 16,286 priests.]

February 1938
2nd Page 5. 'Cries of Up Franco' at Election Meeting
A very large report, filling col. 1-2 and spilling onto page 7. [Disruption of NILP/Midgley meeting.]

4th - Page 5, col. 1-2 Disruption of Midgley meeting

7th - Page 2. [A number of letters attacking Midgley]

7th - Page 5 Police rushed to Belfast docks
[Attempts by 50 supporters of O'Duffy in Belfast and 44 others in Derry to seize control of the three disputed Spanish ships. One man, Kevin Cahill, was named as being in charge of the delegation leaving Amiens Street railway station in Dublin.]

7th Page 7, col. 4 Report on Dock meetings

8th Page 4 Editorial 'Piracy' in Spanish waters

8th Page 5-6 Spanish Government warship off Antrim Coast?
A report that 18 members of the International Brigade arrived on the Heysham ferry. A squad of O'Duffy men was staying in the Hotel Pickie in Bangor. There were also extensive reports on the Spanish court case.]

9th - Page 7, col 5-6.
[More on the Spanish ships. Sgt W Levey is in command of the Bangor group of O'Duffy's men. The Derry group was led by Lt. George C Timlin.]

10th - Page 4 Editorial Triumph at Teruel

11th - Page 3 col. 5 Court report of Spanish Ships

11th - Page 8 O'Duffy's men leave for Dublin
[The departure follows the failure of the Spanish ships appeal case.]

17th - Page 6 News Reel of the Spanish War
Unusual film at the Capital

Film by RE Jeffreys, Universal film news reporter. 'A first hand account of how the Spanish people are torn by a cruel civil war.' [The Capital was a cinema on the Antrim Road, North Belfast.]

22nd - Page 5 Still fighting in Teruel
[This report was days after the Nationalist capture of the town.]

23rd - Page 5 Final capture of Teruel

24th - Page 6 Editorial The taking of Teruel
When force first clashed with force at Teruel it was immediately apparent that the moral importance of loss or victory to either side outweighed even the strategic importance of the place.

It was felt that here was a test which would yield not only a gain in terrain but an even more important increase in morale.

It was an open secret that Barcelona had built high hopes on the successful outcome of the operation. These hopes have been dashed. The standard of the Soviets has again been humbled in the Spanish dust. And the forces of Franco have yet again registered another important advance.

Not only will the success inspire his people to greater endeavour, but it should hasten the day when the real Spain can assert itself, free of the weakening drain of war.

With Madrid's life line in imminent danger of severance, the road to Valencia being slowly but surely cleared, and the Reds heavy losses in men and material, it is to be hoped that at long last the end of this sanguinary but inevitable conflict will begin to show itself.

March 1938
4th - Page 2 col.3 Arrested Spanish Ships
[Approx. 6 inches on the nationalisation of yet more Spanish ships, this time in Cardiff. Essentially the courts seem to have sided with the Spanish Government.]

10th - Page 1 Irish Nationals in Spain
Questions in the Dail

In the Dail yesterday, Mr E O'Neill (Fine Gael, Cork West) asked the Minister for External Affairs how many Irish nationals there are at present serving under the Non-Intervention Pact in connection with the war in Spain; if he had any information as to where these nationals are serving, and their rates of pay.

Mr O'Kelly, Vice President, reported that 11 Irish nationals were at present serving under the Pact, 4 on land services and 7 at sea. The salaries of those engaged on land was £450 pa.

Of those engaged at sea, one was receiving £1,100 pa, one at $650, and the remaining five £450 pa each. The location of services of theses officers varied.

23rd - Page 4 col. 4 War torn Spain
Lecture in Belfast

A frightful picture of war-torn Spain was drawn by Miss Kathleen McColgan, BA, when she addressed the Belfast branch of the League of Nations Union at a luncheon in the Presbyterian hostel, Belfast, yesterday. Mr R N McNeill, BL, presided and there was a good attendance.

The problem of looking after 35,000 refugees, she said, was an urgent one, and tribute must be paid to the Society of friends, who had done marvellous work in supplying food and clothing to the starving thousands.

25th Page 7 letter Belfast lecture on Spain

In your issue of Wednesday, under the heading War torn Spain, you gave a lecture delivered by Miss Kathleen McColgan, BA, under the auspices of the Belfast branch of the League of Nations Union.

You quoted Miss McColgan as having said: ' problem of looking after 35,000 refugees was an urgent one '.

From this your readers might be pardoned for assuming this represented the total number of refugees.

What Miss McColgan actually said was: 'They were left with 35,000 refugees in Almera alone, but in Catalonia there were over 1.8 million refugees, and 1.2 million others who received Government assistance'.

It will be realised , therefore, that there are actually millions of refugees not merely 35,000.

I am surprised that you refrained from mentioning the two questions which I asked to Miss McColgan, who in reply, stated that the battle ships responsible for destroying Almera by shellfire were German, and that in Catalonia and Madrid leave had been given to Roman catholic clergy to say masses.

Yours etc.
Harry Midgley
232 Duncairn Gardens
Belfast, 24/3/38

25th - Page 9

[A piece about the Grand National, confirming a strange detail of Eugene Downing's memoirs. 'Blue Shirt has the qualifications to win the greatest 'National' in years.' Eugene has said that he remembered this horse and that his excuse to his family for travelling at this stage to England was to attend the Grand National.]

28th - Page 4 Editorial The End of the Spanish War?
Unrest in Central Europe diverted attention from the Spanish war for a considerable time, but Franco's triumphant advance has called Red propagandists out to make a last stand before the 'Government' they supported goes down in defeat.

But their task is growing exceedingly difficult. The strength of the nationalist position is revealed not so much in spectacular victories or in a dramatic dash to the sea, but in the unreserved support from 14 million people in Nationalist Spain. It is these people who have made victory possible after nearly two years of war.

If countries like France which fear a Spain under Italian or German domination could bring themselves to pay tribute to the spirit of these people they would recognise that Spanish Nationalism has not expended blood and treasure to become a Nazi or Fascist colony.

None would have welcomed a strong and equitable policy of non-intervention more than the inhabitants of Nationalist Spain. They have to thank the militant Communists of many countries for creating the armies that fought to make Spain the Russia of Western Europe. These Communists prolonged a war which they made infamous with banditry and savagery.

Today, when nations are being crushed almost without protest, it is fitting that we salute the Nationalists of resplendent Spain who have struggled so well in defence of their native land and who will shortly have their struggle crowned in triumph.

30th - Page 2 Arrested Spanish Ship
[A large report, in col. 4-5, stating that the SS Corbetas, in Belfast harbour, was given to the Spanish Government, the others went to Franco. They were the Eola and Apolo in Belfast; the Atalaya and Serantes in Derry.]

30th - Page 7 col. 7 Rush to Man Released Spanish Ships
[A large number of men applied to work on these ships on their release, some of the Spanish sailors having left earlier.]

30th - Page 7 Col. 2 letter The Civilian Population in Spain
[An appeal by the NI Joint Committee for Spanish Relief, signed by a long list including 'Antrim', presumably Randal McDonnell, the Earl of Antrim. A lot of the rest were assorted clerics.]

31st - Page 4 Col3. Spanish Ship Cobetas
[Ongoing court sessions by the previous owners to hand the ship over to the Spanish Government.]

31st - Page 7 col. 4 Released Spanish Ships
[More details, inc. that a Senor Magnoiric was the local agent for Franco.]

April 1938
1st - Page 7 Fresh writ for the Cobetas
[Another 12 inches on the court cases surrounding ownership of these boats. The Francoist representative for Northern Ireland is listed as a Senor Muguiri, a different spelling from the 31st , and yet again on the 2nd he is called de Muguiro, where he is listed as being based in Liverpool. I assume that is the official version.

On the 1st the paper reported that Belfast sailors had tried to recapture the Serantes in Derry but were blocked by the Loyalist Spanish sailors.]

4th Page 7 col. 1 Reports of the Fall of Lerida
[There were extensive reports of the capture of this town and the 96 men from the British company captured. Of local interest is the reference to Patrick Byrne: ‘Patrick Bryne, of Dame Street, Dublin, went to Barcelona as a seaman, but the ship sailed without him and, being stranded, he enlisted.’]

6th Page 4 Editorial Red Crimes in Spain
[On the persecution of the Church.]

6th Page 5 Tyrone man killed in Spain
Intimation has been received by Mr Thos Murray, ex Sgt RIC, Crilly, Aughnacloy, of the death of his son, Ben Murray, who was killed while fighting for the Government forces in Spain.

Deceased, who was formerly engaged in newspaper work in Canada, served during the Great war, and in recent years was a familiar speaker at the Custom House Steps open-air meetings in Belfast.

7th - Page 3 - Letter - Destruction of Guernicia
[A long letter from the Basque representative in London, based in the Spanish Embassy, highlighting the responsibility of Franco on the attack. The Irish News replied with the report of the Dutch Ambassador to Spain blaming the Reds.]

7th - Page 6 Editorial - Irish Labour and Spain
[A snide attack on the Irish Labour Party conference, in particular the delegate from Trinity.]

7th - Page 8 col. 4 Scenes at Irish Labour Congress
[A long report on the LP Conference when Conor Cruise O’Brien, the delegate from the Trinity College branch, intervened on a motion opposing recognition of the Italian’s new regime in Abbysinia/Ethopia, went onto talk about the SCW.

The motion was passed despite opposition from some TD’s to O’Brien.]

11th Page 4 Editorial Those Irresponsibles
[An attack on the Duchess of Athol’s visit to Belfast [on the 9th ] during which she spoke to the NI Joint Committee for Spanish Relief and she failed to properly condemn the attacks on the Church.]

11th Page 7 - Refugees from Spain
Relief Fund meeting in Belfast

Lord Antrim (President) presided at the first meeting of the northern Ireland Joint Committee of the Spanish Relief Fund in the Presbyterian hostel, Belfast, on Saturday, when arrangements were made to organise funds for the relief of Spanish refugees.

Lord Antrim, in an address, said that if they were to be successful in raising money for the relief of the Spanish refugees, they must all forget their opinions about the contest in Spain. They should look to the humanitarian side and assist in every way possible the unfortunate people who were suffering as a result of the war.

The Duchess of Athol dealt with the work that had been done across the water with regard to the Basque children, and said they were indebted to Cardinal Hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster, for his generosity.

Anti-Christian Reds
Referring to the war, she denied that there was any disorder on the Government side. The burning of Catholic churches and the murdering of priests was done by irresponsible youths ranging from 14 to 16 years of age; and it was carried on in spite of strenuous efforts by the Government which certainly did not approve of it.

She had evidence to show that the Government did everything to restrain this wild passion which had been excited. Not one Protestant church, she said, was interfered with. While on a visit to Madrid she attended a Protestant service.

It was true, she said, that a great deal of feeling was shown towards the Catholic Church by these irresponsible youths, and the Government had closed the churches to prevent further attacks.

Proceeding, she said that last August the Government announced that they had 14,500 protestants living in their territory.

Rev. P Corkey, MP [Unionist Party], Queen’s University, said this was an appeal that should have many ready ears.

Rev. G Hannon, Protestant deacon of Dromore, said Ireland had seeds that might easily develop into what they saw in Spain.

Others who spoke were Rev. W Corkey (representing the Moderator of the general Assembly), Mr S Geddis (Labour Party), Mr H Todd (Trades Council).

Representatives were also present from the Northern Ireland Socialist Party.

13th Page 8 But no bouquets here
[A letter by Midgely attacking substantial Irish News reports on the 5th on the discovery following the capture of Lerida by Franco of how the ‘reds had massacred priests.’ The Spanish Embassy in London had replied referring to Right Wing English reports none of which mentioned these ‘atrocities’. The reply from the Irish News was that we are ‘not deeply concerned’ with English reports. In other words, the Irish News had been spreading propaganda.]

16th Page 4 Editorial - A march to the Sea
[On Franco’s advances.]

19th Page 4 Editorial - ‘Red’ drops ‘Red’
[On Soviet lack of support for Spain.]

21st Page 3 - A large interview with Franco.

21st - Page 6 Editorial Franco’s Message
[He’s won.]

23rd Page 5 col. 2 ‘Tower of Babel’ in Spain
[A report on the capture of 582 International brigade volunteers in Catalonia. They were from 38 nationalities; 141 English, 7 Irish, 21 Canadians, 1 South African, 24 Austrians, 31 Polish, 42 French, 12 Swiss, 70 Americans, 42 Germans, 15 Swedes, 6 Norwegians, 24 Dutch, 9 Italians, 18 Cubans, 28 Portuguese, 1 Chinese, 1 Russian. (That’s 513.) The others included people from Iceland and the Philippines. That’s 20 listed nationalities.]

May 1938
2nd - Page 5 col. 3 Captain of Spanish vessel
[Captain Diaz spoke at a public meeting. Hugh Todd appealed for funds for the National Joint Relief Committee. He apparently wore ‘a hammer and sickle badge.’ Other speakers included Mr A Donegan.]br>
10th - Page 4 Editorial No Truce in Spain
[Calls for a clear result, victory to Franco.]

June 1938
7th - Page 5 ‘Arms for Spain’ Campaign - Public meeting in Belfast

An ‘Arms for Spain’ committee under the auspices of the Belfast Communist Party, Socialist Party and Left Belfast Labour, held a meeting at the Customs House Steps last night.

A resolution was passed calling upon Ulster men in the Imperial parliament to use their energy and time to get the government to end the Non-Intervention Committee and to see that the Spanish Republican government was given arms to defend itself.

Captain Diaz, captain of one of the Spanish ships at present in Belfast, addressed the meeting. He spoke in Spanish and his address was interpreted by Mr W Hedley.

He said he didn’t belong to any political party in Spain, but was filled with rage to see his native country invaded by foreign armies. He asked them to raise their voices in the cry of ‘Arms for Spain.’

At the close of the meeting the chairman said that invitations had been extended to Unionists and Nationalists.

A Voice – ‘The Nationalist Party were not invited here.’

11th - Page 5
[A report that the Belfast steamer, the Isadora, was sunk in Castellon on the 9th when it was machine gunned and then hit by two bombs.

14th - Page 4 Editorial Britain and Spain
[On the bombing of a number of British ships and the onward march of Franco.]

12 [check date, cc] Spanish ships in northern ports

[Yet more reports on the on-going court case over ownership of the 5 Spanish ships; 3 in Belfast, 2 in Derry.]

28th - Page 4 Editorial The reckless Reds
[Condemning the threat by the republican government to take the war to Italy.]

    Other local newspaper reports

  1. July 1936-December 1936
  2. January 1937 - June 1937
  3. July 1937 – December
  4. January 1938 – June
There are extracts from other papers also available on the site, i.e. the Northern Whig, Belfast News Letter, etc.
They are available here in the Newspaper section.

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