14th July 2018.
Well, after much thought and consideration, I now need to keep this blog up and running. It has been far too long! However, over the past six months a number of exciting developments are now allowing me to get back into making PdlH what I always wanted it to be, but I was previously hindered by circumstances beyond my control. Let me try and explain….
Firstly, we now have a logo for PdlH! Designed by good friend Manel Montero, expect to see it a lot more. Pretty, isn`t it? Thank you very much, Manel!
We hope to use this logo for our publications, But do not hold your breath!Expect new publications for 2019. The 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro awaits and will take up a great deal of my time with the events, tours and so forth. And I promise to add an article each week! Promise!!!!
Tom Wintringham and Errol Flynn in Madrigueras. A quick weekend trip 23rd and 24th June.
I had to meet the team producing a new cartoon on the visit of Errol Flynn to Spain in March 1937. I was lucky enough to read Errol’s Diary from his visit here and must admit that he had the makings of a journalist. His “authorised” autobiography “My wicked, wicked ways” is fascinating, but I do believe that his reasons for coming to Spain were honest enough. If it wasn’t for his companion, Erben! But I look forward to this production. Here is the poster:
To make the weekend interesting, we stayed in Tarazona de la Mancha and on the Sunday we went to meet Caridad and Alfredo, two historians in Madrigueras where the British battalion was based before Jarama.For a bit of fun we visited the firing range as described by Tom Wintringham in “English Captain” in which he describes te very same firing range:
“The first afternoon at Madrigueras we began with machine-gun drill, Alexandre’s company strung alongside other companies that were firing rifles at a couple of huge white targets; behind the targets was a low cliff face. The firing line was only 200 yards from the targets and it looked impossible to miss the three-foot white square. But men did miss them: little puffs of sand jumped from the cliff face above or to the side of the squares.
Alexandre’s company was already pretty well sorted out: the gunners went down and gripped the gun handles with something like a snap; I noticed that all of them made ferociously warlike faces as they did so. The loaders also fell into position correctly, and the carriers strung themselves out behind the gun; a chef de pièce or gun-corporal took up position with more dignity; but one man in each group puzzled me. At the order ‘action’ he- usually the smallest and most agile among these small and agile Frenchmen-bolted in almost any direction, to a distance of fifteen or twenty yards. I did not wish to show my ignorance by asking his function; later I found out that he was the observateur. He had to act as a scout for the unit and watch the effect of the gun’s fire. During later practice manoevrea the observateurs would start the day with dramatic comments, in Parisian slang, on anything and everything visible across the landscape; later in the day they became more restrained but their language grew worse: it was curious to hear attention drawn to a possible target by the words: ‘At two hours a dozen camels are _______ their ______ on the pap of the hill.’ One looked in the direction indicated (‘two hours’ – two o’clock on an imaginary clock-face laid down on the ground) with interest and hope. The sight promised might be considered a zoological rarity. But no camels were there, only a few straggling riflemen not animated by the passionate activity described. Still, the institution of observateurs added to the interest of manoevres, and they were, I believe, found to be invaluable in action. The two or three men just behind the machine-gun often cannot see the effect of its fire nearly so well as some one posted clear of its faint trace of smoke and the shimmer of heat from the barrel, some one not disturbed by its noise.”
Out of curiosity we walked up to the low cliff face, and after 20 minutes we found nine spent bullets! It was quite something to be there and to connect Wintringham’s description! Very moving!
Here is the poster for the forthcomng Ebro recreation this July 28th! We will be there in full force as XV Brigada Mixta! Look out for us!
And here is our logo!
And here are some photos of >XV Brigada Mixta at Corbera last April7th to act as an Honour Guard at the unveiling of a plaque to Robert Merriman, Chief of Staff of the XVBrigade, who disappeared near here on April 2nd 1938. It was a great pleasure to meet the US Consul General from Barceloma, Mr, Marcos C. Mandojana. He insisted on a group photo with us by the plaque!
NEW BOARDGAME ON THE BATTLE OF THE EBRO TO BE RELEASED AT FAYON ON JULY 28TH!
Rules in Polish, English and Spanish! Price 25 euros plus postage (31 euros worldwide). To order write to Wojciech Zawelski at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW BOOK ON WELSH BRIGADERS AVAILABLE SOON!
Hopefully copies of Graham Davies`new book on Welsh brigaders will be released tomorrow (July 15th) at Cardiff? Write to Graham at email@example.com for further information.