Commemoration for Manchester Brigader Tommy Moore

Post date: 04/02/2022


Members and friends of the North West International Memorial Group remember Thomas ‘Tommy’ Moore at Moston Cemetery (Photo: Robert MacDonald).

The North West International Brigade Memorial Group held a commemoration to remember Thomas ‘Tommy’ Moore, a Manchester volunteer who was killed in action in Spain on 24 January 1938, aged 22.

On 23 January, members of the group gathered at Moston Cemetery in Manchester, where a Moore family grave includes an inscription with Tommy's name and a few details about his death in the Spanish Civil War. The grave was first spotted by a member of the north west group, Barrie Eckford, on a previous occasion when he was visiting the cemetery to see a different plot.

As reported by Stuart Walsh in ¡No Pasarán! 3-2019 (available to read here), Tommy Moore was born in Ancoats, Manchester in 1916. He was a cabinet maker and an active member of his trade union and the Young Communist League. His family had Irish roots and the grave bears the place name of Ennis at its base. This is believed to be Ennis in County Mayo but could possibly be Ennis in County Clare.

Apparently without informing his family, Tommy Moore travelled to Spain in July 1937 and trained with the International Brigades at Albacete. He reportedly was an impressive trainee and asked to be sent to the front. He saw action at Aragón and at Teruel, where he was killed in January 1938. He and others in a smaller group were covering the retreat of a main body of Brigaders during an enemy attack. 

The Working Class Movement Library in Salford, near Salford University, has a file with material on Tommy Moore. A sketch of him also exists, which is understood to have been drawn in Madrid by an unknown artist.

At the Moston Cemetery memorial event, north west group member and author Robert Hargreaves, from Bolton, gave a speech about Tommy Moore’s contribution to the Spanish Civil War, and all those who defended democracy and fought against European fascism.

Robert said: ‘As with all the Brigaders, including those who survived, they got little thanks for that at the time. Even so, they were, in effect, fighting the first battle of the Second World War. Perhaps our putting on this event today, as well as all the other events held to support the International Brigade Memorial Trust, goes to remedy history's deficit. In remembering Tommy, we are remembering all the other victims of fascism including the 500 volunteers from Britain and Ireland who went to fight Franco and did not return. ‘Not only that. If Tommy and his family are looking down on us now, they will surely appreciate our ceremony.’


Robert also pointed out that the Catholic Church in Spain at the time was an ally of the Franco regime. Many sermons were preached at the time criticising the ‘ungodly’ Republican government. Tommy Moore and other Manchester Irish volunteers such as Sam Wild, along with their families, would have faced considerable disapproval from the church establishment at the time. So it was a credit to Moore's family that they instructed a stonemason to carve Tommy's name and details of his death in action in Spain on the grave.

The north west group is keen to make contact with any relatives or friends of the Moore family. One of the people who attended the ceremony is from the Oldham area and believes he worked with a brother, or brothers, of Tommy Moore during the 1970s. 


Dolores Long, from Manchester, who is secretary of the North West International Brigade Memorial Group, then read a poem by Ralph Cantor, a Manchester Brigader who was killed at Brunete. The passage is taken from a long poem entitled ‘Twas postwar stalemate period’:

So let us mourn our fallen

Their actions we don’t rue

And let us sing a thousand songs

And let us shout ’Salud’


And let us weep a thousand tears

But let us keep our grace

And let us turn another page

And build a freeborn race.


The ceremony closed with singing of the ‘Internationale’.


The North West International Brigade Memorial Group is affiliated to and supports the work of the International Brigade Memorial Trust. The group welcomes people from across the region and has a range of activities planned this year.


The next event is at Manchester Central Library on Saturday 12 February, focusing on the Battle of Jarama, where 14 volunteers from the Greater Manchester area died, and other local volunteers who served in and alongside the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War such as nurses Madge Addie and Lillian Urmston.


Speakers for the February event include Manchester-based author Chris Hall, who has written a book about Madge Addie, published in 2021 by Pen & Sword Books. There will be a range of talks and music, and a wreath-laying ceremony at the International Brigade memorial at the library. Events run from 11.30am to 1pm then 2-4pm. Doors open at 11am. Admission is free.

Robert Hargreaves is the author of a new book due out this spring about Clement Beckett, a daredevil motorbike rider from the Oldham area who joined the International Brigade and was among those killed at Jarama. More details will be made public soon.


For information on the North West International Brigade Memorial Group, follow them on Twitter @IBGtrManchester or contact Dolores Long at: doloreslong(at)


Posted on 4 February 2022.

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