Catalonia publishes details of 92 British and Irish dead

Post date: 28/05/2024

A major survey of where International Brigaders died in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War has established the names of 522 volunteers, including 86 from Britain and six from Ireland.

The findings were published in May by Memòria Democràtica, the Catalan government’s historical memory agency, as part of its Alvah Bessie Programme, named after a prominent US volunteer.

Details can be viewed online, with separate reports on the British and Irish volunteers who died or went missing in action. 

A comprehensive list of all 607 15th Brigade fatalities and MIAs during the 1938 Battle of the Ebro, including battlefield maps, is also available. The list includes British, Canadian, Irish, Spanish and US volunteers, as well as some from other countries.

Several volunteers were reported as having died in specific hospitals. These include, from Britain and Ireland, Daniel Boyle, Robert Glen, John McLennaghan, John Lobban, Henry McGrath and Sidney Lewis. In several cases Memòria Democràtica has uncovered fresh information about them.

Family relatives of those who died in Catalonia are meanwhile being invited to come forward and register in Memòria Democràtica’s Census of Missing People. They will have the option of providing a DNA sample for its genetic identification programme. 

IBMT Chair Jim Jump praised the excellent research being undertaken by the Alvah Bessie Programme. 

‘The Catalan government’s support for this project contrasts starkly with the attitude of the regional government of neighbouring Aragón,’ he said.

In April the IBMT joined in protests over plans by the right-wing PP-Vox coalition government to rescind the democratic memory law enacted by the previous socialist-led government. Around 150 British Battalion lives were lost in Aragón during the war.

All the findings of the Alvah Bessie Programme are published in Catalan and English on its website.

The picture above shows the plaque on Hill 666, near Gandesa, naming the British Battalion dead in the Battle of the Ebro.

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