Spanish Civil War’s British volunteers honoured at Jubilee Gardens memorial
British volunteers who fought for the republican side against General Franco’s nationalists in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 were remembered at the annual commemoration on the South Bank on Saturday.
For the first time since the International Brigades Memorial Trust started to hold the annual ceremonies at the memorial close to County Hall, no veterans of the conflict were in attendance.
The memorial consists of a bronze sculpture by Ian Walters which was unveiled in Jubilee Gardens in 1985.
The gathering included many children and grandchildren of the 2000+ Britons who felt compelled to travel to Spain to fight against fascism. More than 500 died in the war.
The main speaker this year was Miquel Caminal, director of Memorial Democràtic, the branch of the Catalan government that protects and researches the history of the brutal conflict which shaped Spain’s 20th century history.
Caminal used his speech to condemn the criminal accusations against noted Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón who is accused by right-wing organisations of abusing his powers by opening an inquiry into crimes committed during Francisco Franco’s rule.
“Justice is back to front,” said Caminal.
The deputy head of the Spanish mission to London, Ambassador Ramón Gandarias, also took part in the event and laid a wreath at the memorial.
Songs, including ‘Jarama’ recalling the 1937 battle along that river in Spain, were sung and a silence was observed in honour of those who died in the conflict.