Jarama commemoration 2014

Post date: 26/02/2014


Remembering Jack Edwards and Kit Conway


By Manus O’Riordan (IBMT Ireland Secretary) 


On Friday 21 February 2014, the ashes of Liverpool International Brigader Jack Edwards (1914-2011) were scattered by his family on the Jarama battlefield outside Madrid, where he had fought and been wounded in action in February 1937. See for Jack’s obituary, and for Jack’s November 2008 address in Belfast. 

The ceremony was held beside a memorial to Kit Conway (1897-1937) and 200 other fallen volunteers of the 15th International Brigade's British Battalion, which overlooks "Suicide Hill" where Conway had been fatally wounded in action on 12 February 1937. As pointed out in the address by Seve Montero of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI), Kit Conway, a “Galtee mountain boy” Tipperary IRA Flying Column veteran of the Irish War of Independence, was de facto commander of the British Battalion at that point in the Battle of Jarama, commanding not only his own company, but two other companies as well, whose commanders had already fallen in action. 


In June 2005 a memorial had been unveiled in Kit Conway's birthplace, in whose honour I composed five further verses to add to Patsy Halloran's ballad, “The Galtee Mountain Boy”, and which I sang at that ceremony. See  for the full set of lyrics of that expanded ballad. The memorial itself was designed by my late wife Annette O’Riordan (1953-2013), who also edited the accompanying memorial booklet. 


Following the scattering of Jack’s ashes by his family, I again sang “The Galtee Mountain Boy” at Kit Conway's Jarama memorial. See or for a Youtube recording. 


See for the El País report on February 24, and see also for more photographs of the Jack Edwards commemoration. 


See also: 


[1] for the Jarama commemorative march, February 22; 

[2] for a Youtube recording of that Jarama march, the first four minutes of which took place at the Charlie Donnelly memorial in Rivas Vaciamadrid; 

[3] for the Ciudad Universitaria commemoration on February 23; 

[4] for the Taracón commemoration, also held on February 23. 


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