Sad To See You Leaving 2012: David Loman

by George_East on January 20, 2013

David Loman

This is a post by George East which was originally posted on 27 December 2012 but which was lost from the site during our recent difficulties.  It is not clear whether the post is complete and unfortunately all comments on the post and any graphics originally posted have been lost.

With the death of David Lomon at the age of 94, there are now no more of the 2,500 British veterans of the International Brigade who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, living in the UK. There is thought to be one other British veteran alive, Stan Hilton, but he lives in Australia. The men who went out to fight fascism in Spain in the late 1930s were a mixture of ordinary trade unionists, and leftist activists.

Lomon, was a working class Hackney boy, who had fought against Moseley’s Blackshirts in the Battle of Cable Street alongside the local Jewish community. He was a member of the Young Communist League and like many of his generation was imbued with an idealistic belief in a better future for working people and an unshakeable commitment to defeat the growing fascist threat in Europe. Franco’s brutal war on Republican Spain was a test bed for much of the fascist violence that Europe would see over the coming decade. The response of the western democracies – a response marked by a ˜neutrality” between a democratically elected government and a treacherous authoritarian military leadership who received overt support from Nazi Germany (in the shape of planes) and Mussolini’s Italy in the shape of troops on the ground was shameful and would inevitably lead to the downfall of the Republic.

The Spanish government had very little by way of arms, as virtually the entirety of the Army had sided with General Franco. A defeat of Franco’s revolt with the backing of Britain and France may well have halted Nazism and fascism in its tracks, as it would have shown a seriousness to resist its advance. Those individuals who went out to Spain, like Loman, to fight alongside the militias of the Spanish republic risked everything. Nearly 10,000 of their number would die in Spain.  Some German and Italian communists, who survived, would be killed by their own countries’ regimes on return.

Lomon was taken prisoner in Aragon by Mussolini’s troops in March 1938.  He was held in a prison camp near Burgos and was subject to beatings and starvation rations.  He returned to Britiain in October 1938 as part of a prisoner exchange. Within a year, war had come and Lomon was fighting against the fascists again  – this time as a volunteer in the Royal Navy. He comes from a brave generation the like of which we may not ever see again.  We can only stand back in awe at his courage.

RIP David Lomon. No Pasaran!

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