In December 1938, Alun Menai Williams appeared in the English newspaper Daily Express. Its high figure protruded in a photograph bearing the flag of the British battalion of the International Brigades. The moment gathered the return of Spain from the Volunteers of this unit, on arrival at the Victoria station in London. A crowd warmly received this contingent of the already emblematic international brigades, carrying myths and realities, the object of homage and contempt, manipulated both the right and the left. Born in Gilfach Goch (Wales) in 1913, he was part of one of the most fascinating stories of the twentieth century, the International Brigades, joining voluntarily in the Battle of Jarama (Spring of 1937). Your very arrival in Spain cannot be more prominent. He was one of the brigades who made the journey from Marseilles in the "City of Barcelona", torpedoed and sunk that day in front of Malgrat de Mar. Other crew members would die in that attack, but Alun was able to reach Earth. Before Spain, he had previous military experience, having joined the British army and belonging to his medical units where he acquired knowledge that would be very useful later in his work during the Civil War, participating in Brunete, Belchite, Teruel, the front of Aragon and the Battle of the Ebro. His previous experience, something that distinguished him from a good part of the brigades, did not remained practically a moment in the Base of the brigades of Albacete, being incorporated immediately to the fronts. He began in the German medical unit of the Thaelmann Battalion, and then became integrated into the health services of the Washington and Lincoln battalions of the American volunteers. With the Ebro's offensive he finally passed to the British battalion until the withdrawal of the international ones in autumn of 1938.
Before Spain, the childhood and Adolescence of Alun Menai Williams Run in the south of Wales, important pole of development for the mining and heavy industry of the British Empire in the early twentieth century, and with 14 years, is already working in a coal mine. They are the hard twenties and 30s of hardship and general economic depression; That is the context and reality of a Welsh country that will see many of its young people leave for Spain, with uncertainty about the future and with a conscience
Politics clearly left-wing and Decidido1 antifascism.
"I have a story to explain. It is a simple story, devoid of the historian's retrospective perception or the student's selective deepening in his research. "
Thus begins the autobiography of the Brigadista Alun Menai Williams, which arrives until the end of the Civil War Española2. It was the producer David Leach, who after the realization of the interesting documentary on the British in Spain voices from a mountain, received from Alun his typed memoirs titled "The Survivor". The great impact caused him to support the initiative to publish them, as well as the British Brigadista George Wheeler3.
On the memoirs of Alun, David Leach will say in the Catalan edition of his autobiography:
"Fou a extraordinària reading. Escrit amb un estil apassionat, a raig de slump. Hom could appreciate that L'Alun Menai was the fill d'en Huw Menai Williams, a gerent of Les mines i celebrate poet Gal · Lès. In Efecte, hi ha moments in what Les memòries tenen els ritmes i la imatgeria d'un llarg poem in prose. AMB Enginy, Compassió i intuïció, L'Alun ens porta des of the SEU birth date, in a Poblet miner of the south of the country of Gal · Les, fins a la Seva tornado from the server Actiu to Espanya com a sanitari in the Battle Front "(p. 60).
With Alun Menai Williams The loss of another member of the physical memory of the International Brigades occurs. Besides, he was the last survivor of the Welsh collective in the brigades we had left. The movement for the recovery of the memory of the Spanish Civil War in the United Kingdom, with the edition of Audiovisual publications and documentaries, the realization of homages and the memory of
The members of the International Brigades, owes much to the work of editors and producers like Allan Warren and David Leach, of historians and scholars like Anna Martí, Angela Jackson or those mentioned Hywel Francis and Robert Stradling, and especially, the effort of the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), the important British Association of Brigades with relatives, friends, representatives of the Marx Memorial Library and historians specializing in the Civil war. His valuable work remains to preserve a well-deserved memory and homage to the men and women who composed the brigades, collaborating in turn, in the best knowledge of these volunteers who decided to march to the Spanish War, convinced of ideals For those who had to fight. Their initiatives make the brigades, survivors in memory for the following generations.