Forged in Spain

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Between 1936 and 1939 several thousand men and women from Britain chose to leave the safety of their homes and involve themselves in another country’s civil war. The country was Spain, where a military uprising had been launched against the country’s Republican government. Most of the British who went to Spain were volunteers for the legendary International Brigades, though others served in other roles, such as medics, journalists or aid workers. A few even fought for Franco.

Drawing substantially on new material, these ten biographies tell the stories of a handful of those extraordinary men and women, explaining why they went to Spain, what happened to them there and the lasting, often dramatic impact the war had on their lives. While they survived the war, all were forever changed by their experiences. All of them were, in their different ways, forged in Spain.

The volunteers featured are:

  • The Forgotten Warrior: Malcolm Dunbar  
  • The Niños’ Second Mother: Leah Manning  
  • The Cambridge Rebel: Peter Kemp 
  • A Family Goes to War: The Haldanes 
  • Their Man in Havana: Sam Lesser
  • Out of Orwell’s Shadow: Stafford Cottman
  • The Truculent Scotsman: Peter Kerrigan
  • The Red Musician: Alexander Foote
  • The Painter of Words: Clive Branson
  • The Brilliant Surgeon: Alex Tudor Hart  

The Author

Richard Baxell is a historian who has written extensively on the British volunteers and the Spanish Civil War. His Unlikely Warriors was short-listed for the 2013 political history book of the year.

Richard Baxell
Number of Pages: 
The Clapton Press
Publish Date: 
Thursday, 23 November 2023