North-West Spanish Civil War Project

The North-West Spanish Civil War Project
The North-West Spanish Civil War Project

The main aim of the North-West Spanish Civil War Project is to keep alive the memory of the International Brigades and the volunteers from Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone who served in defence of the Spanish Republic between the years1936-39. 

Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, (one of the pivotal European conflicts of the twentieth century,) it is estimated that over forty thousand volunteers went to Spain from over fifty countries in the period 1936-39 to fight against General Franco’s military rebellion and the spread of fascism.  Most of the foreign volunteers joined one of five International Brigades.  Many of the volunteers were drawn from the ‘broad labour movement.’

Nearly two hundred and fifty volunteers from ‘all walks of life’ on the island of Ireland served in the International Brigades.  Tragically, many died in Spain.  Over twenty volunteers born in the North West of Ireland were convinced to travel to Spain and fight on the side of the democratically elected Republican government against Franco.  Nine volunteered from County Derry, nine from County Donegal and four from County Tyrone.

Over the past decade we have witnessed a push among solidarity groups, academics and historians to document this history as part of our ‘collective heritage.’  There are over sixty memorials in Britain and Ireland acknowledging the volunteers who went to Spain.  They range from impressive sculptures to simple plaques on public building walls. The North West ‘No Pasaran’ Education Project over the last several years has tried to keep the memory alive of those volunteers from the North West of Ireland.  This work has taken shape in a number of formats. This Project has developed a unique Spanish Civil War exhibition reflecting themes from propaganda art to pictorial archives of the Spanish Civil War.  The exhibition has been on display in public libraries on both sides of the border and several second level schools.  The North West ‘No Pasaran’ Education Project has also established an annual event held in the month of November which has included public talks/lectures, book stalls and exhibitions on the connections between the North-West and the Spanish Civil War. A booklet containing a biographical history of all the volunteers from the North-West is hoped to be published in the coming year. A small plaque has been erected in the City of Derry as a memorial to the volunteers from the North-West.  Both booklet and plaque are an acknowledgment of the ‘spirit of international solidarity’ shown by those who went to Spain from the North West.

For further information on the project please contact Gerard Duddy on 0749485110 and/or