Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Dundee Men who Volunteered for the International Brigade

Many Dundee men went out to Spain to joined the International Brigade in the fighting against the Fascist forces of General Franco.

The names of the Dundee Men who were killed during that foreign war of 1936-1939 are recorded on the memorial in front of the Albert Institute (now called The McManus).

16 names on the Dundee International Brigade Memorial in Albert Square, unveiled 23rd February 1975 by Brigader Arthur Nicoll. Supplementary Plaque unveiled in 2008.

Names Date and Place of Death Information
John Alexander July 16th 1937, Brunete. 13 Benvie Road, Dundee. Railway Labourer with LNER. Left Dundee in May ’37. Single. Obituary in Dundee Courier; Sept 6th 1937.
Matthew Cox March 1938, Aragon.  
Andrew Finnan March 1938, Belchite.  
Frank McCabe August 1937, Quinto.  
William McGuire Feb 28th 1937, Jarama.  
James McHugh March 1938, Gandesa.  
John McLanders April 1937, Jarama 17 North Wellington Street, Dundee. Age 36. Unemployed. His wife of 7 years said he left for Spain on New Years Day 1937. Obituary in Dundee Courier; May 7th 1937.
John Mudie March 1938, Caspe.  
James Murray March 1938, Caspe.  
John Bruce Ness, July 26th 1938, Ebro 11 Robertson Street, Dundee.
David Samson July 1937, Brunete.  
Malcolm Smith Aug 19th 1938, Sierra Pandols 157 South Road, Dundee. 27 years old. Pupil at Liff Road School. Baker who served his time with Martin Simpson of 141 Princes Street. Left for Spain on Sept 23rd 1937. Quote from Ian MacDougall's 'Voices from the Spanish Civil War' Polygon, ISBN 0 948275 9 7, page 318; Tom Murray's memoir;
"It was a nasty situation. Well, I got up and here I found George Jackson lying stretched out. George came from Cowdenbeath and I think he was one of the recruits that I got to go with me when I went out there. Charlie McLeod of Aberdeen was lying with his head on George Jackson's chest. And Malcolm Smith of Dundee was lying about a yard or so away. All were dead by the blast of this anti-tank shell."  This event took place on either Hill 481 or Hill 666, Sierra Pandols above the Ebro River. Obituary in Dundee Courier on Aug 27th 1938, but giving date killed as July 26th 1938.
William John Tadden Feb 27th 1937, Jarama 38 Elizabeth Street, Dundee. Age 36. Served for 7 years in 1st Battalion, Black Watch including in India. Unemployed when he left for Spain. Obituary in Dundee Courier; March 19th 1937.
Alexander Kenneth Stalker, Feb 12th 1937, Jarama. Was born in Dundee, son of Professor A.M.Stalker. Attended Dundee High School. Age 41 on enlisting in the Brigades in December,1936. He was an Engineer and Draughtsman who attended University College, London from where he went to Spain. He was a member of the Associated Engineers & Shipbuilding Union. He served in the Army in the Great War and had worked in the Far East & India. Member of the CPGB. Went into action at Lopera in late December.1936 with the No 1 Company (Anglo /Irish) of the French XIV Brigade and later in January at Las Rozas. Returned to Albacete and joined up with the British Battalion.
Went to Jarama on Feb 12th 1937 as Political Commissar. Took command of the No 3 Company when its Commander Bill Briskey was killed. Another commander, Kit Conway's heroism at Jarama has been widely acknowledged. Following the deaths of some of his fellow officers, he commanded three separate companies at particularly crucial juncture on February 12th 1937. It was on this day, soon after 12 noon, that he was fatally wounded. One of his comrades, James Prendergast, described his passing: "I reach the hill-crest where Kit is directing fire. He is using a rifle himself and pausing every while to give instructions. Suddenly he shouts, his rifle spins out of his hand, and he falls back. He is placed on a blanket. No stretchers left now. His voice is broken with agony. 'Do your best boys, hold on.' Tears glisten in our eyes. Many are from other companies. But all remember Kit at Cordova and Madrid. His gallant leadership then and today won them all. Kit is taken away. I see Ken Stalker. He is the only experienced man left. I run to him and he takes command. In the ambulance I meet Kit. He is in terrible agony and can talk little. 'How are the rest?' is his constant question. Next morning they told me our great leader was dead." Stalker was killed soon after, shot in the head on the same day, defending the Madrid-Valencia road.
He enlisted from the Balham/Putney area of London and is recorded as from London on the main British Brigade website. Obituary in Dundee Courier; March 10th 1937.
James Cockburn Jan 12th 1937, Las Rozas Born Dundee,1911. Lived in London, working as a Gas Fitter. Arrived in Spain on Dec 3rd 1936. Also with the No 1 Company of the XIV Brigade at Lopera. Died from Wounds on Dec 28th 1936 at Lopera. Fought with the Saklatvalas in the XIV Brigade. Died helping to prevent the Fascists from encircling Madrid. Recorded as from London on the main British Brigade website.
John ‘Patsy’ McEwan   30 Todburn Lane, off King Street, Dundee. Family lived at 28 Milton Street. Juvenile Footballer with Dundee team Derby United, then a Junior with Osborne and Downfield. Timber Yard Worker with Bell & Sime Ltd and a YCL member, his name appeared in a list of those killed in Spain in the Daily Worker in the Spring of 1937. However this was revised in the same paper of Sept 3rd 1937, page 3, stating that the names of John McEwan and James Donald (Methil) had been listed as killed in error and that both were alive. Last words to his mother were; “If I don’t go and fight Fascism, I’ll just have to wait and fight it here”. Obituary appeared in Dundee Courier; Aug 20th 1937, conflicting with the later report of his being alive printed in the Daily Worker.
In the Dundee Courier Obituaries held by the Dundee Central Library, two more Dundee names are given but both appear in the Foreign Office Repatriation Lists of British Volunteers returning from Spain in December,1938. Their deaths must have been originally reported in error.
Charles McLean Reported dead July 26th 1938, Ebro. 46 Hilltown, Dundee. Age 34. Son of Mr & Mrs H. McLean. Served 8 years with the British Army in India with the Royal Scots and the Black Watch and was later a tank driver in the TA. Left his job with David Horsburgh, Haulage Contractor of 98 Albert Street, in 1936 to go to Spain. Said to have driven transports and tanks there. Obituary in Dundee Courier; August 27th 1938.
Alexander Edwards Reported dead July 26th 1938, Ebro. 64 Hilltown, Dundee. Age 27. Unemployed. Left for Spain around Feb 1938 leaving a wife and young family. Obituary in Dundee Courier; August 27th 1938.
    They appear in a joint obituary to four Dundonians, along with John Ness and Malcolm Smith, all reported as killed at the Ebro on July 26th 1938, although the British Battalion website gives Malcolm Smith as killed on August 19th.


No Paseran 1
No Paseran 2

To the Memory of the Dundee Members
Of the International Brigade
Killed in Spain Fighting Fascism
1936 – 1938

"Man’s Dearest Possession is Life: and Since
It is Granted to Live But Once, He Must so
life as to feel no torturing regrets for
years without purpose : so live as not too
be seared by the shame of a cowardly and
trivial past : to live that dying he can
say : all my life and all my strength were
given to the finest cause in the world
the fight for the liberation of mankind"

Supplementary panel

“And to the memory of Allan Craig
who fell at Jarma, February 1937.
Corrections to main Plaque: James McHugh (John McHugh);
and John McEwan (McEwen)
Original Plaque unveiled 23rd Feb 1975
Rededicated 11th Oct 2008 to coincide with Dundee
Hosting the AGM of the International Brigades Memorial Trust “

(Rededicated, with supplementary plaque, by Jack Jones and Jack Edwards, 11 October 2008.)

Supplementary Plaque
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  • Iain D. McIntosh, 2020