Families gather to honour Spanish Civil War fighters - SLIDESHOW

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A WREATH was laid in Sheffield’s Peace Gardens and a plaque was re-dedicated, honouring those who fought and gave their lives in the Spanish Civil War.

The event was organised by the local branch of the International Brigade Memorial Trust. The involvement of secretary Mike Wild, from Skye Edge in Sheffield, stems from his father Sam’s service as the British Brigade Commander in the war.

The Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley speak at a ceremeony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War

The Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley speak at a ceremeony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War

He survived the conflict and returned home to Sheffield, although five others from the city lost their lives and were buried in Spain.

In total 34 people from South Yorkshire travelled to Spain for the cause, nine of whom never returned and of whom were wounded.

Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley addressed the gathered crowds and said: “As Sheffield’s first citizen I think it is very important that we are re-dedicating the plaque to the victims of the Spanish Civil War on the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of that very bloody and very bitter conflict.

“Of course their contribution is very special because all of those who went to fight or provide medical assistance did so not because they were members of the Armed Forces. They went as individuals because they had such a strong hatred of the forces of fascism and wanted to do what they could to make the world a better place. So many of them paid with their lives.”

Mike, now 71, said the event, which included singing from the Sheffield Socialist Choir, had been a success. “We had a good turnout, proving people agree it is important to remember,” he said.

Mike and his sister Dolores Long, who used to live in Totley before moving to Manchester, said they were both very proud of their dad - and pleased to do something in honour of the contribution made by he and the other 2,500 men and women from the UK who travelled to Spain.

Dolores, who is named after Spanish revolutionary leader Dolores Ibarruri, said: “The important thing to emphasise is these were mainly working class men and women who volunteered to go and fight for democracy.

“For many it was the first time they had ever left this country, but they were prepared to leave and go to a frightening new place to fight for a cause and a principle that they believed in.

“I think these people were really aware - they knew what was going to happen in the Second World War, they understood that fascism was a threat to Europe and they wanted to do something to stop it.”