Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In Defence Of Madrid...

It has been seventy years, today, since the International Brigade's first units reached Madrid on 8th November. Led by the Soviet General, Emilo Kleber, the XI International Brigade was to play an important role in the defence of the city against the fascist coup. Amongst them was a small dispatch of British machine gunners.

The war erupted when General Francisco Franco staged a coup de ta' against the Republican government. This divided the country between those loyal to the government, the loyalists and those who supported Franco, the nationalists. Franco had heavy support from the also fascist governments of Mussolini and Hitler.

In response more than 2,300 young men and women from Britain and Ireland traveled to the country to fight against Franco More than 500 were to die on the fields and streets of Spain before the war was out.

Their memory is commemorated by a monument at South Bank, London, next to the Millennium Eye.

They Went Because Their Open Eyes Could See No Other Way.