Capa, Taro on Remembrance Sunday

Went to see Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and others at the Barbican.

The pictures were very modern-looking. The ones of the Spanish Civil War had me thinking about how it would have been here. There are notices on the High Street mobilising everyone under 50 against the advancing Fascists. Matt and I go down to the library to pick up rifles. Then overnight we make our way to the unfamiliar territory of Brockwell Park to cut off the Fascists before they can get down to the river. We only get the merest briefing before we are lying flat in scrub waiting for the enemy. I get killed quickly – probably shot from behind in a moment of blind panic – Matt survives and is honoured for carrying a wounded man to safety for over a kilometre in the line of fire. The young, old and incapacitated from our neighbourhood mass on the roads between Barkingside and Harwich and are sporadically raked with bullets from Fascist aircraft. The Republicans are forced to retreat. Matt dies in battle just outside Harwich and is buried in a mass grave.

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9 thoughts on “Capa, Taro on Remembrance Sunday

  1. one of my cousins went over in the late 1930s and is now buried somewhere in France as the Republican forces retreated from the fascist take over, never found out exactly where he was wounded, he used an assumed name

    my blood still boils when I think of it.

  2. I’ve often wondered whether I would do my duty in a situation like this. You read about young men being inspired to drop out of school or college and going to fight the good fight. I suppose the combination of information and propaganda, peer pressure and perhaps some actual sense of duty would motivate me.

  3. Ahh, what the hell. If you was 18 in 1939 living in squaller, with a future of packing boxes till you die to look forward too. Yep, the excitement of an adventure, taking you oversees with the boys, playing with guns and possibly getting your leg over with some busty German wench.
    I can see the allure to this pre-club 18-30 predicament.

    I’ve penciled in the drinks.

  4. Wrong war, Anon. But if I’m called up I hope to be in your regiment – sounds like a blast. (When you say “I’ve penciled in the drinks” is that you A.C.?)

    Matt, for sure you’d fight. If I know you it would be because you were very very angry. But all of us bloggers would get a nasty shock to the system, no mistake.

    Mod, bless your cousin. Was he from London’s East End?

  5. Flesh, sorry it was an uncle, a long forgotten uncle

    No it wasn’t London, but a poor City elsewhere, he was recruited by the local CP (seemingly much as Anon suggests, excitement, etc) he changed his name (the original one is rather unique), went off to Spain without telling his family, only much later on did his mother learn of his death and then it wasn’t clear where, exactly, he died. His mother kept on at the CP, where was he, etc but then WW2 came.

    Afterwards one of my relatives found that he probably was buried in France under his new name, which we don’t know.

    I’ve had a look over the years in the Spanish Civil War archives for him, but without luck.

    All rather messy and incomplete.

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