Appeal launched for memorial in Oxford to Spanish Civil War volunteers

Post date: 12/03/2014

A fundraising appeal has been launched to raise a memorial to the International Brigade volunteers associated with Oxford who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. 

The initiative has the support of Oxford City Council and the Oxford & District Trades Union Council. 


The city council and the trades union council are working together to explore possible sites for the memorial. 


So far more than £1,500 has been collected in donations, mainly from local unions and individual supporters.


The campaign is being led by the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), which keeps alive the memory and spirit of the 2,500 volunteers from the British Isles who joined the legendary International Brigades. Of these, 526 were killed.


The IBMT knows of 28 volunteers with links to Oxford and the surrounding area, seven of whom died in Spain [see brief biographical details below]. All had lived, worked or studied in Oxford before going to Spain.


A target of at least £5,000 has been set by the IBMT for the appeal. As well as local trade unions, university colleges and student bodies are being invited to make donations.


IBMT Secretary Jim Jump points out that there are already more than 100 memorials to the International Brigades in towns and cities throughout the British Isles, so one in Oxford is long overdue.


“A memorial will be a reminder both of the considerable impact that the war in Spain had on many people from Oxford and of the extraordinary sacrifice and example set by the International Brigades,” he says.


Jump adds: “The volunteers fought Franco, Hitler and Mussolini on the battlefields of Spain while their own government refused to help a fellow democracy. They warned that appeasement of European fascism would lead to another world war. They were proved right, but never given any official acknowledgement or thanks.” 


Regarded by many historians as an important prelude to the Second World War, the Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 when army generals rebelled against the elected government of the Spanish Republic. 


General Franco declared victory for the rebels 75 years ago on 1 April 1939 and remained Spain’s dictator until his death in 1975.


With sufficient resources, the IBMT hopes to organise a series of events linked to the memorial’s unveiling. These could include an exhibition about the International Brigades, a public meeting with guest speakers and performers and a booklet telling the story of the Oxford volunteers and the campaigning in the town and university for Aid for Spain.



For more information, including images, contact the IBMT:

020 7228 6504


Send donations to: 

IBMT, 6 Stonells Road, London SW11 6HQ

Make cheques payable to “IBMT” and indicate on the reverse or in a covering letter that the donation is for the “Oxford Memorial Appeal”.





International Brigade Memorial Trust

Provisional list of volunteers from Oxford


John Birrell

Engine driver. Lived at 13 Paradise Square, Oxford. Arrived in Spain in December 1936. Saw action at Lopera and Jarama. Returned home June 1937.


Jim Brewer

South Wales miner. Studied at Ruskin College, Oxford. Left for Spain in 1937. Quartermaster with the British Anti-Tank Battery. Returned with the rest of the British Battalion in December 1938.


Anthony Carritt

Farm manager, Boars Hill, Oxford. Arrived in Spain with British Medical Unit in April 1937. Served as ambulance driver. Badly wounded at Brunete in July 1937 and died in hospital on or soon after 13 July 1937. 


Noel Carritt

Of Boars Hill. Attended Oriel College, Oxford. Worked as a teacher in Sheffield. Arrived in Spain in December 1936. Wounded with British Battalion at Jarama in February 1937. Served as a medic during the Battle of Brunete and later at Valdegana Hospital. Returned home in November 1937.


Victor Claridge

Builder’s labourer of 4 James Street, Oxford. Arrived in Spain by early January 1937. Wounded while fighting with the British Battalion at Jarama in February 1937. He was also at Brunete in July, but was taken out of the line due to severe illness. Repatriated in October 1937.


Nathan Clark

From Street, Somerset, location of family firm, Clark Shoes. Was undergraduate at Queen’s College, Oxford, but after two years went to Spain to serve as an ambulance driver. Left England in May 1937 and returned in September 1938. Was head of transport at the International Brigade hospital at Huete. Later designed the desert boot for Clark Shoes.


Lewis Clive

From London. Went to Christ Church College, Oxford, was a rowing blue in 1930-31 and won a gold medal in rowing in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Was a Labour councillor in Kensington & Chelsea. Arrived in Spain in February 1938. Commander of No.2 Company of the British Battalion. Killed at Gandesa between 28 July-1 August 1938 in the Battle of the Ebro.


Dorothy Collier

Surgeon. Studied at the Society of Oxford Home-Students (later St Anne’s College) and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, before graduatiing from University College Hospital, London, in 1922. Travelled to Barcelona early in 1938. Worked at San Pablo Hospital with renowned Catalan surgeon Josep Trueta, and was instrumental in arranging his subsequent exile in Oxford, where he was part of the team that first developed penicillin as an antibiotic.


Edward Cooper

Actor (full name Edward Henry Burke Cooper), known as “Burke”. Lived at The Grange, Duns Tew; also in London. Went to Spain in October 1936 and joined the Commune de Paris Battalion. Saw action in and around Madrid and at Lopera, where he was wounded and died in hospital on 12 February 1937.


Francis Dewhurst

Musician and composer, living in Dulwich, south London. Had lived and studied in Oxford. Arrived in Spain in January 1937. Injured with British Battalion at the Battle of Jarama in following month. Killed on 11 July 1937 in the Battle of Brunete.


Peter Ferguson

Was 21-year-old student at Pembroke College, Oxford, but main address on joining the International Brigades was given as 2 Rosary Gardens, London SW7. Reported killed in action on 21 April 1938, but arrived back in London in June, claiming to have lost his memory. Was taken to hospital with typhoid fever.


Herbert Fisher

Born in London. Attended Dragon School, Oxford, from 1920-24. Ceramics factory manager in the Potteries. Entered Spain in December 1937 and served as a medic. Died in hospital at Vich in October 1938 as a result of wounds received in the Ebro offensive in July that year. Uncle HAL (Herbert) Fisher was warden of New College, Oxford, from 1926-1940.


Ralph Fox

Graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford. Born in Halifax. Journalist, living in London. Studied at Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute in Moscow from 1930 to 1932. Wrote regular column for the Daily Worker. A founder of Left Review. Author of “The Novel and the People”, on Marxist literary theory, published posthumously in 1937. Arrived in Spain early in December 1936. Joined the Commune de Paris Battalion. Killed in action at Lopera on 28 December 1936.


Murray Fuhrman

American doctor from Brooklyn, New York. Was working in the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, in February 1937 when he enlisted with the Spanish Medical Aid Committee. Worked as a surgeon in Spain, first with SMAC and later in hospitals in Catalonia. Left Spain in January 1938.


Peter Harrisson

Of Sandalands, Boars Hill. Won a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, where he read history and modern languages. Arrived in Spain in May 1937 as an ambulance driver and organiser for the Spanish Medical Aid Committee. Served at hospitals at Guadalajara, Huete, El Escorial and Valdegana. Repatriated some time in 1938.


Gavin Henderson

Of Buscot Park, Faringdon. Graduate of Christ Church College, Oxford, and was the second Lord Faringdon, a Labour peer. Went to Spain as an ambulance driver, where he served on the Aragon front in 1936. In 1937 gave over a lodge on his estate to accommodate a group of 40 refugee children from the Basque region of northern Spain.


Kathleen McColgan

Irish nurse and Oxford graduate. Went to Spain in February 1937 with the London University Ambulance Unit. Served in hospitals in Murcia and later in the International Brigades medical section. Remained in Spain until February 1939.


Carl Marzani

Born in Rome, his family emigrated to the US in 1924, settling in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was a Moody Fellowship student at Oxford University in 1936 when he travelled to Spain and joined the Anarchist militia. Returned to Exeter College in 1937, graduating in PPE in the following year. Was treasurer of the South Midlands CPGB. Returned to the US in 1939. Was jailed in 1947 for three years in the McCarthy era purges.


John Montgomery

Originally from Glasgow. Lived in Oxford. Served in British Battalion. Repatriated in December 1938. 


Phillip Norman

Born in Bampton, but living in Clapham, south London, when he went to Spain in the autumn of 1936. Served in the Ernst Thälmann Battalion. Returned to England at the end of November of that year.  


Wogan Phillips

Born in Brentwood, Essex. Educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. Left without a degree. Joined the Spanish Medical Aid Committee and, with Stephen Spender, drove a van with medical supplies to Spain in February 1937. Served as an ambulance driver and in an operating theatre during the Battle of Jarama later that month, where he was wounded by shellfire. Went home but returned to Spain with more supplies of medical aid. Subsequently received father’s title of Lord Milford.


John Rickman

Born in Powerstock, Dorset, son of a vicar. Studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. Lived in London, took part in the Battle of Cable Street in October 1936 and worked with Spanish Youth Foodship Committee. Arrived at Albacete in December 1936 and joined the British Battalion. Killed on the Jarama front line on 4 May 1937.


Thora Silverthorne

Born in Abertillery, daughter of Welsh miner. Employed as nanny for Somerville Hastings, Labour MP for Reading and president of the Socialist Medical Association. Trained as a nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. Worked as volunteer nurse for hunger marchers who passed through Oxford. Travelled to Spain with Spanish Medical Aid Committee in August 1936. Returned in September 1937. Later founded National Association of Nurses and was secretary of the Socialist Medical Association. 


Alfred Smith

Born in Leicester. Had address at 65 High Street, St Thomas, Oxford. Worked at Morris Motors, Cowley. Arrived in Spain December 1936. Was with the Commune de Paris Battalion at Lopera later that month and at Jarama. Returned home in July 1937.


Christopher Thornycroft

Engineering student at Brasenose College, Oxford. Arrived in Spain in October 1936. Initially volunteered as a pilot. Was with the Ernst Thälmann Battalion during the fighting in and around Madrid that year. Later transferred to the British Medical Unit. Provided a generator for operating rooms. Repatriated in March or April 1938.


Alec Wainman

From Shipton-under-Wychwood. Arrived in Spain in August/September 1937 with the Spanish Medical Aid Committee. Served as a driver and also as a photographer. Had previously worked for a year as a driver at the British embassy in Moscow.


Mike Wilton

Served in British section of the militia of the revolutionary communist party POUM. Had lived in Oxford. Took part in ill-fated attempt to recapture Majorca. Afterwards joined POUM’s 26th Lenin Division, in the same section as George Orwell and other British volunteers. Saw action in Aragon. Arrived home in London in September 1937.


Tom Wintringham

Journalist and writer. Born in Grimsby. Founder member of the Communist Party. Jailed for sedition in 1925. Studied chemical engineering at Balliol College, Oxford. Went to Spain in August 1936. Member of the Tom Mann Centuria in Barcelona. Joined International Brigades in November that year. Commanded the British Battalion at the Battle of Jarama in February 1937 until being wounded. Went up to the front again at Quinto in August 1937 and was again wounded. Repatriated in November 1937.



Balliol graduate Tom Wintringham (kneeling left) in Barcelona in September 1936.




Peter Harrisson (second from right) in Barcelona in 1937.

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