Thursday, 1 May 2014

Renton anti-fascists commemorated by iron statue

Standing outside the MA centre in Renton in the Vale of Leven, an iron statue of a Spanish bull honours five local Communists who joined the International Brigades to oppose General Franco’s 1936 uprising against Spain’s democratically elected Republican government.

Thanks to Mike Arnott for this photograph 

Brothers Patrick Joseph, Tommy and Daniel Gibbons, along with James Arnott and Patrick Curley were amongst 549 brave Scots who left their homeland to fight Franco’s fascist forces. 65 lost their lives including Tommy Gibbons, killed in the fight for Brunette in July 1937, and Patrick Curley, who was killed at the Battle of Jarama.  Danny Gibbons was wounded at Jarama and later captured at the battle of Calaceite in March 1938. He was imprisoned and exchanged in February 1939 for Italian and German prisoners.

Patrick Joseph ‘Joe’ Gibbons was on a Barcelona-based ship that was torpedoed by an Italian submarine. Over 200 volunteers were lost at sea, but Joe kept alive two colleagues who could not swim by keeping them afloat for hours in the water till they could be rescued. He later went on to fight the fascists in numerous battles and was wounded by tank fire. James Arnott was to be repatriated. 

The statue was unveiled by the Reverend Ian Miller of Bonhill Church on 27 August 2011 in an event organised by the Renton Community Development Trust. 

This information was produced for Rebel Road, a project for Unite education department. 

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