Members of the Sussex International Brigaders Remembered Group gathered at Newhaven Harbour Station to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the British Battalion’s return from the Spanish Civil War.
The International Brigades were men and women from over fifty nations who fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), defending the elected Republican Government against General Franco’s rebels and his military backers Hitler and Mussolini. Two thousand five hundred men and women from Britain and Ireland volunteered to go to Spain, where over five hundred died fighting fascism.
Addressing the departing International Brigades in Barcelona, Republican Leader Dolores Ibarruri told the departing men and women, “You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend”.
The returning British Battalion sailed from Dieppe arriving at Newhaven in the late afternoon, before boarding a train to London at the Harbour Station. An enthusiastic crowd of over twenty thousand were at Victoria Station to welcome them home.
Pauline Fraser, daughter of International Brigade Volunteer Harry Fraser, laid flowers on the station platform, saying,
Group Treasurer, Mike Anderson, spoke about the example set by the International Brigaders. “As well as commemorating an important historical event, we are here because of the example set by these brave men and women. They continue to inspire us in our struggle against fascism and the far right.”