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Charity number 1094928

Prisoners of war

‘Somebody spoke and I heard a voice say, “Don’t shoot”. They thought we were Russians with the uniforms at first. Somebody shouted, “Ingles?” If it hadn’t been for that…we would have been shot one at a time. They were going to shoot us. We were all lined up.’ (Interview with James Maley, Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Reel 11947/3/1).

The members of the machine-gun company captured at Jarama expected to be executed, for the belief was widespread that captured Internationals were shot on sight. Phil Elias, of Leeds, was shot when reaching for tobacco from his pocket and John Stevens, an engineer from Islington in London, was killed by the same burst of machine-gun fire. When Edward Dickenson, the company second in command, protested over the shooting, he was shot through the head with a pistol.

A number of volunteers were taken prisoner during the Aragon campaigns of 1938, with over one hundred volunteers captured at Calaceite at the end of March. The prisoners were taken to Saragossa for interrogation, where they were questioned by Merry del Val, who had also interviewed the prisoners captured at Jarama.