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Prisoners of war

Prisoners of war

Released British prisoners-of war crossing into France in May 1937
Released British prisoners-of war crossing into France in May 1937

‘Somebody spoke and I heard a voice say, “Don’t shoot”. They thought we were Russians with the uniforms at first. Somebody shouted, “Ingles?” If it hadn’t been for that…we would have been shot one at a time. They were going to shoot us. We were all lined up.’ (Interview with James Maley, Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Reel 11947/3/1).

Large groups of British volunteers were taken prisoner on two occasions during the battalion’s involvement in the civil war: the first during the battle of Jarama in February 1937, and the second at Calaceite, during the retreats of March 1938. In addition, individual British volunteers were captured at various stages of the war: Lieutenant Walter Gregory and several others were unfortunate enough to be captured on the British Battalion’s very last day of action in Spain.

FURTHER READING

Bill Alexander, British Volunteers for Liberty, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1982

Richard Baxell, British Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War: The British Battalion in the International Brigades, 1936-1939, London, Routledge/Cañada Blanch Studies on Contemporary Spain, 2004

Carl Geiser, Prisoners of the Good Fight, Connecticut: Lawrence Hill, 1986.