Ceremony remembering Wiganers who fought in Spanish Civil War

Residents will gather in the town centre this weekend to think about the conflict and the local people who fought in it.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 7:00 am
The ceremony will be held at the Spanish Civil War memorial in Wigan

Wigan Trades Council is organising the annual memorial event at the sculpture to the International Brigades outside the Wigan Life Centre South.

This year the tribute to the men and women who travelled to Spain in the 1930s to fight against Franco will have to be socially-distanced to comply with the ongoing regulations to slow the spread of Covid-19.

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A dozen people from Wigan travelled across Europe to assist the Spanish Republic in its battle against the fascist militia led by Franco, who would go on to become the country’s dictator.

Three of them, Michael Gallacher, Bernard Sweeney and Paul Dewhurst, lost their lives during the three years of combat in which a million people died.

Wigan Trades Council said it is important to remember their sacrifice and the ideas which they travelled to Spain to fight for.

A spokesperson said: “‘Wigan Trades Council hosts this event to remind people that the enemies these local workers fought against, and the ideals for which they fought, are still with us today.

“These heroic individuals put their lives on the line to resist fascism and racism; they were willing to travel to a distant country under their own steam, recognising the imminent danger to democracy from the extreme right.

“They received no medals and no recognition from mainstream political parties.”

The Trades Council also paid tribute to those who returned from combat and their work in civilian life afterwards.

The spokesperson said: “For the nine that returned they never gave up their political and trade union activities.

“They have left us with an abiding legacy of hope, and persistence in the need to resist all forms of prejudice and exploitation.”

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