By D. P. Stephens
A Memoir of the Spanish Civil conflict is one man's bittersweet account of battling with the overseas Brigades opposed to the forces of common Francisco Franco in Spain from 1936 to 1939. Douglas Patrick (Pat) Stephens used to be born in Armenia in 1910 and emigrated together with his relatives to Canada in 1926. Like numerous others, his dream of discovering a brand new and extra wealthy lifestyles was once critically shaken through the onset of the nice melancholy, and he became to the Communist social gathering of Canada in an try to strive against the political and fiscal 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 correct chance to place his political convictions into motion. via his connections within the Communist celebration, he grew to become considered one of a few 1400 Canadians, and 40,000 foreign Volunteers in all, who went to Spain. the various volunteers, together with the Canadians, went to Spain opposed to the legislation and the needs in their governments. lots of them by no means got here again. Stephens' memoir, dictated to his spouse Phyllis Stephens almost immediately earlier than his dying in 1987, places a really human face in this unusual and intricate struggle. it's a portrait of political and ethical conviction tinged by means of creeping disillusionment. it's also a compelling depiction of the energy, frailty, doubt, and braveness which could end result from the occasionally incongruous intersection of the private and the political. A Memoir of the Spanish Civil battle is a worthy contribution to our realizing of the clash which right away preceded international conflict II, and of Canada's position in that clash.
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Additional info for A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War: An Armenian-Canadian in the Lincoln Battalion
Pike was doing the best he could. The more serious cases were sent to hospitals in the rear. It was strange that the native Spaniards were not affected at all. One day I asked the commander of the Spanish contingent why the Spanish comrades were not affected by this outbreak. He took me to his dugout and showed me the strings of garlic hanging on the walls. He said they ate some every day and never got sick. Soon our entire battalion was eating raw garlic. To Dr. Pike's amazement, the outbreak of dysentery was brought under control with the use of this native remedy.
These were fairly weatherproof and comfortable. I started to make one for myself back of the line and soon the rest of the boys learned the trade and the hillside was covered with chabolas. In the morning, the new volunteers were asked to go to Battalion Headquarters for further training. Merriman informed us that we would be shown how to throw hand grenades. He introduced a short, dark GreekAmerican by the name of Tsemaikas. He was attached to the ammunition dump behind our line. He showed us a disarmed hand grenade and taught us how to pull the ring and activate the firing pin.
During the day we occupied ourselves with guard duty at the gate, some drill, cleaning of equipment, and all the tedious duties of barracks life. The roof was flat with a half-a-dozen guard rooms used as jails. In one of these jails was a civilian prisoner whose identity was not known to us. A guard was posted at his door, day and night. The night it was my turn to guard his door, I was given an old single-shot carbine without any ammunition. After I had stood guard for about a half hour, the prisoner approached the door.