Tribute at the town hall honours Spanish Civil war volunteers from Leeds

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Volunteers from Leeds who travelled oversees to join the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War have been honoured with a new tribute at Leeds Town Hall.

The names of local members of the famous International Brigade have been added to a plaque at the town hall in recognition of the part they played fighting General Franco.

Franco’s troops had overthrown the democratically elected government and Leeds volunteers were among up to 59,000 members who served in the International Brigades, including 15,000 who died in combat between 1936 and 1938.

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Made up of volunteers from across Europe and beyond, the brigades played an important part in the conflict, participating in the battles of Madrid, Jarama, Guadalajara, Brunete, Belchite, Teruel, Aragon and the Ebro.

Local historian Janet Douglas with a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade.Local historian Janet Douglas with a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade.
Local historian Janet Douglas with a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade. | jpimediaresell

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, unveiled the plaque during a special ceremony at the town hall on Friday.

She said: “These people all travelled from their homes, joining others from across Europe who were inspired to take action in support of a cause they passionately believed in.

“It’s fitting that the city honours their courage and remembers the enduring messages of unity and solidarity which have become synonymous with their efforts.”

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Leeds’s links to the Spanish Civil War stretch back to the aerial bombing of Guernica in the Basques Country in 1937, which saw Basque children evacuated to Leeds.

Leader of Leeds City Council Coun Judith Blake chats with Jack Benson from the Leeds Co-operative Party and local historian Janet Douglas by a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade.Leader of Leeds City Council Coun Judith Blake chats with Jack Benson from the Leeds Co-operative Party and local historian Janet Douglas by a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade.
Leader of Leeds City Council Coun Judith Blake chats with Jack Benson from the Leeds Co-operative Party and local historian Janet Douglas by a new plaque unveiled in Leeds Town Hall to remember the volunteers from Leeds who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade. | jpimediaresell

In 1989, Spanish MEP Barbara Duhrkop also came to Leeds to meet some of the surviving volunteers from the city when a civic reception was held in their honour in the banqueting suite of Leeds Civic Hall.

The names added are: N Baxter, D Buffman, P Charlton, W Dobson, P Ellis, A Hoare, M L Miller, J C Roach, G Stockdale, M Aaronberg, W Almond, T Benson, W Butterfield, R Bradley, J Durham, J Dutton, J D Graham, C Hart, A Harris, J Harris, R Hearn, P Keighley, J Maister, B Ramelson, L Tenor, W Webster.