For the volunteers it was a departure that left them with mixed feelings. Though they wanted to get home, it is also clear that many felt that they were leaving unfinished the task they had undertaken. After the inevitable bureaucratic delays, most of the British volunteers, 305 in total, left Spain by train at the beginning of December 1938. They arrived back in Victoria Station on the evening of the 7 December 1938 where they were met by a huge crowd to welcome them back home, including amongst others, a number of senior members of the British labour movement, including Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party.
For many of the veterans of the International Brigades, the struggle against fascism would continue. Many (where they were accepted) fought in the Second World War and many joined the International Brigade Association, which continued to press for a return to democracy in Spain.
Bill Alexander, British Volunteers for Liberty, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1982.
Robert Brown, ‘The International Brigade Association and political prisoners in Franco’s Spain’, Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library, 136, (Autumn 2002) pp.4-26.
Tom Buchanan, ‘Holding the line: the political strategy of the International Brigade Association, 1939-1977’, Labour History Review, 66:3, (Winter 2001) pp.294-312