By D. P. Stephens
A Memoir of the Spanish Civil warfare is one man's bittersweet account of battling with the foreign Brigades opposed to the forces of common Francisco Franco in Spain from 1936 to 1939. Douglas Patrick (Pat) Stephens was once born in Armenia in 1910 and emigrated together with his kinfolk to Canada in 1926. Like numerous others, his dream of discovering a brand new and extra wealthy existence was once seriously shaken by way of the onset of the good melancholy, and he became to the Communist celebration of Canada in an try to wrestle the political and fiscal deterioration which had gripped a lot of the realm. Franco's try to overthrow through army strength the republican govt of Spain looked as if it would Pat Stephens the best chance to place his political convictions into motion. via his connections within the Communist celebration, he grew to become certainly one of a few 1400 Canadians, and 40,000 overseas Volunteers in all, who went to Spain. some of the volunteers, together with the Canadians, went to Spain opposed to the legislation and the desires in their governments. a lot of them by no means got here again. Stephens' memoir, dictated to his spouse Phyllis Stephens almost immediately prior to his demise in 1987, places a really human face in this unusual and intricate struggle. it's a portrait of political and ethical conviction tinged through creeping disillusionment. it's also a compelling depiction of the energy, frailty, doubt, and braveness which may outcome from the occasionally incongruous intersection of the non-public and the political. A Memoir of the Spanish Civil warfare is a worthwhile contribution to our realizing of the clash which right away preceded global warfare 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
We were placed on alert and our night patrols increased. At dawn on 24 May, the enemy started shelling our lines. The smoke of exploding shells filled no-man's-land, so that we could not see what was happening. Our artillery returned the fire, and the acrid smell of cordite and smoke was burning our eyes. Our machine guns opened with a furious crossfire, and our infantry had fixed their bayonets and were ready to jump out at them if they ever came close to our lines. Our machine guns exacted a heavy toll and as the smoke cleared we could see the remnants of the enemy forces retreating to their trenches.
At some point along our front, the enemy lines were within shouting distance of each other. One night someone from the other side shouted that they would not shell us during breakfast if we promised not to shell them. So a breakfast truce was arranged, and we had peaceful breakfasts after that. Our machine gun commander, Oliver Law, would inspect our machine gun positions every morning. One morning he came to my gun emplacements and told me to remove one sandbag from each side of the gun. He said this would give me better vision, and a better field of crossfire with the gun to the right of me.
I don't know what became of him at Le Havre when we left our cabin to disembark. A sea voyage can be a monotonous trip on the North Atlantic run. For days you see nothing but water and sky. On the fifth day we sailed past the Irish coast, and were approaching Land's End in England. Soon a hazy mass was visible, which we first thought was the mist, but it was actually the land mass of France. In time we could distinguish landmarks, and we now knew we were approaching the coast of Normandy. Soon the red roofs of Le Havre came into view.