Wednesday, December 03, 2008

70th Anniversary – The Return of the British Battalion

On Sunday 7 December it is the 70th anniversary of the disembarkation at the Port of Newhaven of survivors from the British Battalion XV International Brigade (also known as the Clement Attlee Brigade).

They had fought in Spain during the civil war against Franco and the fascists. Of the 2,300 who went to Spain 526 were killed. 7 surviving brigadiers, brigadiers families and supporters will gather at Newhaven Fort to dedicate a bench which will overlook the harbour and be a memorial to those “who remain under Spanish soil”.

Brigade veteran and former trade union leader Jack Jones (see photo) who was wounded in the fighting will also be in attendance. Check out further details here and here.

On 7 December 1938 the Brigade then went off by rail to London where they were greeted at Victoria Station by supporters such as Clem Attlee and Stafford Cripps. There is an obvious link with the arrival a few days previously in Liverpool Street station of the first train full of Kindertransport children fleeing Nazi persecution on 2 December 1938. See this post.

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