A commemorative event for the eight International Brigaders from Hull, 25th September 2016

For the final day of our four day trip to Yorkshire we had been invited to perform at an event to raise funds for a more fitting memorial than currently exists to eight International Brigaders who left the city to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It was an honour to be invited to perform and we very much looked forward to performing alongside punk folk hero Joe Solo.

After a mighty breakfast we set off along the M62 to Hull. We arrived in good time, parked up near the venue - the magnificent St Mary’s Lowgate - and had a quick bite to eat in the nearby Three John Scotts pub, so named because St. Mary’s had had three successive vicars all called John Scott in the 19th century.

On the stroke of three o’clock we went across to the venue to meet up with event organisers Gary Hammond and Joe Francis, and to work with Marshall Mateer to take some video footage and stills of us in action ahead of the formal event which began at five o’clock.

At five, the church filled up and, through words and song, we gave a very brief history of the Spanish Civil War, the role played in it by the International Brigade and the story of the Basque children of 1937. There were many relatives of the eight fighters who had fought in Spain in what was now a full church and it was an emotional event to be involved with.

After we had finished the first half of the programme and everyone had refreshed themselves with tea and coffee, Joe Solo performed for an hour. If you don’t know Joe Solo’s work, seek it out. His delivery is compelling, his lyrics and song structures are of the highest quality and he has a beautiful sense of melody. He held the audience rapt for the whole time he was performing.

As the light through the stained glass faded and the church lights came on, this emotional event came to a close. After chatting with audience members, we said our goodbyes to Joe, Gary and Joe, and to Marshall and his son Patrick who had also been taking footage of proceedings, and we packed the car up for the long journey home to St Albans. I am pleased to report that the event raised a decent amount of money towards the memorial statue. Many congratulations to all those involved!

Many thanks to Gary Hammond and Joe Francis for inviting us to perform alongside Joe Solo and to remember the eight men from Hull who left the city to fight Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War, Jack Atkinson, Jim Bentley, Morris Miller, Robert Wardle, Joe Latus, Richard Mortimer, Sam Walters and Leslie Wilson. Every best wish to those raising funds for a proper memorial to these eight brave individuals, the first four of whom listed were killed in Spain.