James R Jump (1916-1990) – Journalist, teacher and Sussex Brigader
Guest post by Jim Jump
James ‘Jimmy’ Jump was a reporter with the Worthing Herald when he decided to travel to Spain to join the International Brigades in November 1937. He had moved to Sussex only a few months earlier, having previously worked on newspapers in Rhyl and Wallasey, where he was born in 1916.
In Worthing he joined in anti-fascist activities and also volunteered to help at the local homes for refugee Basque children. It was at one of these, in Lancing, that he met his wife-to-be, Cayetana Lozano Díaz, one of the señoritas who accompanied the nearly 4,000 children from Bilbao to Southampton following the bombing of Guernica and other Basque towns by Hitler’s Condor Legion.
In Spain, Jimmy was at first assigned to the 15th Brigade’s training base at Tarazona de la Mancha and then at the the brigade HQ in nearby Albacete. Having learned Spanish at Wallasey Grammar School, his services as an interpreter were valued, especially as by now the British Battalion and other units in the 15th Brigade included Spaniards.
In May 1938 he joined the British Battalion’s machine-gun company and saw action in July and August at the Battle of the Ebro, when the Spanish Republic’s People’s Army launched a daring offensive south across the Ebro. After initial gains, the offensive was halted by General Franco’s superior firepower, courtesy of Hitler and Mussolini.
Jimmy fell ill with jaundice at the end of August and spent most of the next three months recovering in Catalonia. It was while he was in hospital that he found out that he had been mentioned in despatches for bravery during the Battle of the Ebro ‘for having fulfilled his duty, especially as an interpreter, without faltering in a number of meetings held under intense enemy fire’.
He came home with the rest of the British Battalion early in December 1938, soon returning to Sussex to campaign in support of the Spanish Republic. He spoke at several public meetings and ran a ‘Spain Shop’ in Worthing to raise money for refugees.
Following Franco’s victory in April 1939 and the start of the Second World War five months later, Jimmy and Cayetana were married and he was conscripted into the Royal Army Pay Corps and was stationed in Preston, Lancashire. Following the war he trained as a teacher and settled in Rochester, Kent. After Franco died in 1975 the couple moved to Logroño in Spain’s Rioja region.
Jump wrote several books and textbooks on Spain and Spanish. He was also a prolific poet and his poems appeared regularly in Tribune during the 1980s. His first book, in 1951, was ‘The Spaniard and his Language’ and others included a Spanish reader, ‘La offensive del Ebro’ (Harrap, 1975). His last, ‘The Penguin Spanish Dictionary’, was published in 1990, the year of his death at the age of 74.
Jimmy’s previously unpublished Spanish Civil War memoir, ‘The Fighter Fell in Love’, was published in 2021 by The Clapton Press in London. Also published posthumously, this time in Spain in 2007, was a bilingual collection of his poems, ‘Poems of War and Peace / Poemas de guerra y de paz’ (Piedra de Rayo, Logroño).