DONATE
Search for volunteers here
Negative comments
The records include assessments of the volunteers made by their political superiors in the latter part of the war in Spain. Many are highly derogatory, referring to desertion, drunkenness and indiscipline, but should be taken with a pinch of salt, sometimes a very large amount. They were written for internal use, primarily as an assessment of suitability for future membership of the Communist Party at home and were often made by a party representative who may have had a grudge against certain individuals or may simply have been wrong. Many volunteers with outstanding military records in Spain – including senior ranking officers – received extremely critical assessments.
George Nathan
Other name:  Samuel, Montague
Place of birth: Hackney, London.
Year of birth: 20th January 1895
Political organisation:
Occupation: Soldier
Date of arrival: 30th November 1936
Brigade ID: Not issued
Date of departure:
Date of death: 26th July 1937
Where killed: Brunete
Comments: A first rate soldier.' TW p.66. Promoted to 15th IB Brigade Staff, but returned to command Ralph Fox Battalion in the 14th IB after differences with General Gal. Killed by a shell on the last day of the Brunete battle.
Source: IBA Box 21 File A, BA p.36, & TW p.66. RGASPI 545/6/177/6-12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Nathan https://spartacus-educational.com/SPnathanG.htm
John Black
Other name:  Gartshore
Place of birth: Shettleston, Glasgow
Year of birth: 1916
Political organisation:
Occupation: Iron worker
Date of arrival: 10 December 1936
Brigade ID: 483
Date of departure:
Date of death: February 1937?
Where killed: Jarama
Comments: Addresses given as; Mother, Mrs R McCleary 56 Altyre Street, Tolcross, Glasgow. A good comrade'. Reported missing. Member of No 1 Company, 14th IB at Cordoba. George Nathan's driver. Missing from Feb, 1937. Letters from Mother dated 25/09/37 and 02/07/1937 asking for info. Letter from girlfriend, Florence Banks, 9, Scotland Street, Brighton, 28/9/1937 also enquiring. His personal belongings, clothes, etc. were sent to his girlfriend. Not to be confused with John D. "Jack" Black.
Source: IBA Box D-7 File A/2, RGASPI 545/6/40/100 & 545/6/91/74 & 545/6/107/4-7a . Motherwell Times 3/7/37 P3 & 19/2/37 P3
William Black
Other name: 
Place of birth: Belfast
Year of birth: 1899
Political organisation:
Occupation:
Date of arrival: December 1936
Brigade ID:
Date of departure: January 1937
Date of death:
Where killed:
Comments: Address given as; 99 Dehli St, Orcheau Road, Belfast. Member of No. One Coy, 1th IB. Apparently sent home for being drunk and making anti-Semitic remarks about George Nathan. Left behind when the company went to the front on 24th December 1936 and sent home.
Source: IBA Box 21a File A
Michael Brown
Other name: 
Place of birth: Inistioge, Kilkenny
Year of birth: 1900
Political organisation: YCL/CP '30 & ETU
Occupation: Electrician
Date of arrival: 3rd December 1936
Brigade ID: 478
Date of departure: 6th January 1937
Date of death:
Where killed:
Comments: Address given as; 20, Sudbury Street, Harpurhey, Manchester. Member of No. 1 Company, 14th IB. Deserted back home (or to Albacete?) after Boadilla and Lopera: 'This isn't war, this is bloody madness. I've had enough.' See IWMSA 10356 interview with Walter Greenhalgh. George Nathan claimed he was responsible for the death of Ralph Fox. IBA Box C Brother of George Brown.
Source: IBA Box D-7 File A/2, RGASPI 545/6/40/100 & 545/6/91/74
Cecil Larlham
Other name:  Arthur
Place of birth: 1908?
Year of birth: London?
Political organisation:
Occupation: Artist
Date of arrival: December 1936
Brigade ID: Not issued
Date of departure: October 1937
Date of death: October 1937
Where killed: Aranjuez
Comments: Chelsea, London? Member of No 1 Company, 14th IB and BB, 15th IB. Doubts remain over the precise identity of this volunteer. Source SC/IBA/5/1/5/1-3 has him killed alongside Harry Fry at Fuentes on 13 October 1937. He could be the 18 yr old 'English Public school boy, L---' mentioned by Stephen Spender in The God that Failed. He is also probably the 'Tony Lachlan' mentioned by Walter Greenhalgh as the interpreter for George Nathan on Staff in BB. (R. Baxell).
Source: IBA Box 21 File A RGASPI 545/6/161/56-57
Charles Lepper
Other name:  John Harper
Place of birth: Hendon, Middlesex.
Year of birth: 2nd February 1913
Political organisation: None
Occupation: Journalist
Date of arrival: 28th December 1936
Brigade ID: 939
Date of departure: 24th July 1937
Date of death: 27th December 1952 - Mere, Wiltshire
Where killed:
Comments: Address given as; Father, c/o The Electrician, Fleet Street, London, Known in Spain as John Lepper. Wounded 17/2/37. George Nathan's chauffeur. Tried to desert after Jarama with Spender's friend Tony Hyndman for which he spent two months in a 're-education' camp. Claimed the strain of driving at night had given him eyesight problems. RGASPI 545/6/162, pp. 66-67. Repatriated on health grounds. 1939 living with Hyndman in Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury, London,
Source: IBA Box D-7 File A/2, RGASPI 545/6/53/9 & 545/6/89/82 & 545/6/91/103 & 545/6/162/65-67.
James "Jim" Prendergast
Other name:  Joseph Anthony Vernon
Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland
Year of birth: 10th January 1914
Political organisation: CPI & NUR St Pancras
Occupation: Capston / Drill operator
Date of arrival: 12th December 1936
Brigade ID: 1015
Date of departure: 29th July 1937
Date of death: 31st May 1974 • Paddington, Greater London, England
Where killed:
Comments: Address given as; 1 ,Cambridge Street, Wigan? Irish Section of No. 1 English Company,12th battalion,14th International Brigade, on Cordoba front. Elected political delegate of Irish at Las Rozas, wounded 12.01.1937, hospital. Took part in Jarama battle and first days of Brunete battle. Attended OTS June-July 1937, said to have no capacity for military leadership. One of the Irish who voted to remain with the BB under George Nathan. Repatriated after Brunete following plea by Frank Ryan, for political reasons. WW2 RAF Tail Gunner (JM)
Source: IBA Box D-7 File A/2, RGASPI 545/2/54/151. 545/6/89/83 & 545/6/91/108 & 545/6/187/3-5 & 545/6/965/19. TW p. 17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Prendergast_(revolutionary)
Sidney Quinn
Other name:  Ignatius
Place of birth: Chapel Hill, Lisburn, Antrim, Northern Ireland
Year of birth: 1st November 1909
Political organisation: CP
Occupation: Soldier
Date of arrival: 30th November 1936
Brigade ID: Not issued
Date of departure: October 1937
Date of death: 1982 - Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Where killed:
Comments: He joined the Royal Artillery in 1934 and served until 1936. Took part in hunger marches. Left for Spain in a group which included George Nathan. Fought in the battles of Lopera, Las Rozas, Jarama and Brunete. With No. 1 Company, 14th IB & British Bn, 15th IB. Repatriated. WW2 rejoined the RA. Discharged in 1954 as over age.
Source: RGASPI 545/6/89/59 & 545/6/966/24.

Memorials search results

News search results

Events search results

George Nathan

John G. Black

William Black

Michael Brown

Cecil Larlham

Charles John Lepper

James Prendergast

Sidney Quinn

IBMT logo

Support our work

You can support the IBMT by joining us or affiliating your union branch – see details and membership forms here:
JOIN THE IBMT
menuchevron-up linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram