A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War: An Armenian-Canadian in by D. P. Stephens

By D. P. Stephens

A Memoir of the Spanish Civil conflict is one man's bittersweet account of struggling with with the foreign Brigades opposed to the forces of basic Francisco Franco in Spain from 1936 to 1939. Douglas Patrick (Pat) Stephens used to be born in Armenia in 1910 and emigrated along with his family members to Canada in 1926. Like numerous others, his dream of discovering a brand new and extra filthy rich existence used to be seriously shaken through the onset of the nice melancholy, and he became to the Communist get together of Canada in an try and wrestle the political and monetary deterioration which had gripped a lot of the area. Franco's try to overthrow by means of army strength the republican govt of Spain appeared to Pat Stephens the precise chance to place his political convictions into motion. via his connections within the Communist get together, he grew to become one in every of a few 1400 Canadians, and 40,000 overseas Volunteers in all, who went to Spain. a few of the volunteers, together with the Canadians, went to Spain opposed to the legislation and the desires in their governments. lots of them by no means got here again. Stephens' memoir, dictated to his spouse Phyllis Stephens almost immediately sooner than his demise in 1987, places a truly human face in this unusual and intricate battle. it's a portrait of political and ethical conviction tinged through creeping disillusionment. it's also a compelling depiction of the energy, frailty, doubt, and braveness that may outcome from the occasionally incongruous intersection of the non-public and the political. A Memoir of the Spanish Civil warfare is a important contribution to our realizing of the clash which right away preceded international struggle II, and of Canada's function in that clash.

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Our machine gun company was still up there with their heavy Maxims in position, and there was a sparse line of infantry on guard at the parapets. No one had intentions of leaving the front; itwas simply a protest meeting to air our grievances. The Battalion Commander was nowhere to be seen. Rumor was that Merriman was left wounded in no-man's-land and had been captured by the enemy. Others said that he was wounded and evacuated to hospital. There were also dark rumors that he had been liquidated.

Soon buses arrived and lined up on the street outside the inn. We mustered, boarded, and the buses rolled out. We were on the road to the Spanish frontier. When we arrived at the border, the French guards pretended they could not see us. They just turned their backs, and we crossed into Spain. On the Spanish side, the border guards were happy to see us, and greeted us as we passed. The buses did not stop, but drove straight on to our destination, the frontier town of Figueras. When we arrived, it seemed the whole population had lined up on both sides of the road to greet us.

Tom and Larry had preceded me to Spain by about a month. Beckett was later captured and shot by the Fascists. All the night of 27 February, we were making sorties into no-man's-land to bring in the dead and wounded. A steady drizzle was falling when I crawled, drenched and tired, into the ammo dugout. I felt disgusted and sorry for our plight. Someone had built a shelter in the back of the line and a good fire was burning there. I went there to dry my clothes. This shelter soon became a clearing house for the wounded.

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