Spanish Civil War memorial, Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff

Spanish Civil War memorial, Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff

This stone was unveiled in 1992 to commemorate the 169 Welsh volunteers who aided the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The names of 36 Welshmen who died in the conflict are shown below. (Details coming soon)

The war began after Nationalists refused to accept a left-wing coalition’s victory in the 1936 general election. Nationalists mounted a military coup led by Francisco Franco. They had the backing of Germany’s Nazis and Italy’s fascists but were fiercely resisted by Republicans, who received support from the Soviet Union and an “International Brigade” of foreign volunteers.

The UK, USA and other countries kept their distance but some of their citizens joined the International Brigade because they were alarmed by the growing strength of right-wing extremism in Europe.

The war ended with the Republicans’ surrender on 1 April 1939. Hundreds of thousands of people had died. Franco’s dictatorship governed Spain until his death in 1975.

On the rear of the memorial stone is a quotation from Basque Communist politician Dolores Ibárruri, who was imprisoned during the war and known as La Pasionara (“The Passion Flower”). The quotation is from her speech to International Brigade members as they left for home in 1938. Her speeches often included stirring quotes, including “They shall not pass” and “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”.

In 1937 c.4,000 children were evacuated from northern Spain to escape the war. A Spanish woman who had settled in Wales became the guardian of 56 refugee children in Caerleon, near Newport.

Cardiff-born mariner Archibald Dickson ferried many Spanish refugees out of Alicante on his cargo ship in March 1939. The town and port were bombed from the air 10 minutes after the ship had left. Captain Dickson died, aged 47, when his ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in November 1939.

With thanks to Stephen John for research on the Welsh war dead. Also to Terry Norman

Stephen John’s website – West Wales War Memorial Project

Website of Cardiff Bereavement Services, which looks after this memorial

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Welsh volunteers who died

The following men from Wales died while fighting in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade. They are also commemorated at Burry Port Memorial Hall, Carmarthenshire.

Where shown, click this icon for more details: Extra page icon

  • William Coles, Cardiff. Died at Jarama, 1937
  • Alec Cummings, Tonypandy. Died at Ebro, September 1938
  • Harold Davies, Neath. Died at Jarama, 14 February 1937
  • William J. Davies, Gilfach Goch. Died at Brunete, July 1937
  • Henry (or Harry) Dobson, Blaenclydach. Died at Hill 481, Gandesa, 1 August 1938
  • William Francis Durston, Aberaman. Died at Ebro, 25 August 1938
  • Victoriano Esteban, Abercrave. Died at Brunete, 1937
  • George Ernest Fretwell, Penygroes. Died at Jarama, 12 February 1937soldier icon
  • Sid Hamm, Cardiff. Died at Brunete, July 1937
  • Jack Harris, Llanelli. Died at Jarama, 2 April 1937
  • Richard Horridge, Swansea. Died at Brunete, 1937
  • Sidney Lloyd Jones. Died at Chapineria 17 October 1936
  • Sidney James, Treherbert. Died at Sierra Pandols, 19 September 1938
  • David Joseph Jones, Llwynypia. Died at Jarama, 13 February 1937
  • R Jamadeesis, Cardiff. Place and date of death unknown
  • Tom Howell Jones, Aberdare. Died at Ebro, 25 August 1938
  • DA Ledbury, Swansea. Died at Ebro, July 1938
  • Arthur Morris, Cardigan. Died at Jarama, 27 February 1937
  • Sammy Morris, Ammanford. Died at Brunete, July 1937soldier icon
  • William Morris, Llanelli. Died at Brunete, July 1937
  • Dan Murphy, Cardiff. Died at Gandesa, April 1938
  • Frank Owen, Maerdy. Died at Brunete, July 1937
  • Tom Picton, Treherbert. Died as POW at Bilbao, April 1938
  • Roman Rodriguez, Dowlais. Died at Brunete, July 1937
  • James Scott, Swansea. Died at Caspe, March 1938
  • Alwyn Skinner, Neath. Died at Jarama, 1938
  • Baden Skinner, Tredegar & Canada. Died Unknown
  • H James P Strangward, Onllwyn. Died at Hill 481, Gandesa, August 1938
  • Gilbert Taylor, Cardiff. Died at Calaceite, April 1938
  • Jack Donald Taylor, Swansea. Died at Jarama, 12 February 1937
  • Brazell Thomas, Llanelli. Died at Grandesa, Ebro, 30 July 1938
  • Robert Trail, Cardiff. Died at Villanueva de la Cañada, 7 July 1937
  • James Watts, Swansea. Died at Ebro, August 1938
  • Fred White, Ogmore Vale. Died at Villanueva de la Cañada, 6 July 1937
  • John Elwyn Williams, Ammanford. Died at Brunete, July 1937soldier icon
  • Frank Zamora, Abercrave. Died at Teruel, 18/19 January 1938