BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 16:03 GMT
The Scotsman who fought the fascists
The funeral has taken place of the last Scots veteran of the Spanish Civil War.

Stevie Fullarton joined the International Brigades fighting alongside the Republican government forces against the Nationalist insurgents under Francisco Franco.

BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent, Reevel Alderson, knew the 87-year-old well.

Stevie Fullarton
Stevie Fullarton was among hundreds who went to fight in Spain

In the last few years, Stevie Fullarton was almost blind and deaf, but when I last met him in April, 2007, he was continuing to declare he had been right to volunteer to fight in a civil war in a country few Britons had visited.

Ten years earlier, I had been in the Spanish Cortes (the parliament) when the government in Madrid had granted all those who had fought in the International Brigades honorary Spanish citizenship.

Beaming with pride Stevie said: "This is one of the proudest moments of my life. I have been honoured by the people I came to help."

On the black Spanish peasant's beret he always wore at such occasions were badges commemorating his returns to Spain for the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversary of the civil war.

Fascist forces

By 1938, when Stevie walked across the Pyrenees in rope-soled sandals, the British and French governments had banned their citizens from taking part in the conflict.

It was a policy of non-intervention which failed to prevent Hitler and Mussolini from sending thousands of men and equipment to aid Franco's fascist forces.

Stevie was just 18, and had lied about his age.

Soldiers from the civilian army fighting for the Republican government in Barcelona
Volunteers from many countries defended the government

In the five closes near his tenement home in the Shettleston district of Glasgow, four men had already gone.

Many had been persuaded by the oratory of a local Communist, James Maley, who had recently returned from Spain where he had been captured during the Battle of Jarama.

Stevie said: "It wasn't just me - it was a feeling that existed in the area."

Training in Spain was rudimentary and interrupted when he was sent to the Battle of the Ebro, the last desperate counter-offensive by the Republican forces as they tried to halt Franco's advance.

End of an era

Fierce fighting on Hill 481 at Gandesa saw him shot in the leg after his machine-gun ran out of ammunition.

He was evacuated by boat across the river, and was operated on without anaesthetic.

After recuperating, he returned to Britain and saw service with the RAF in World War II.

The death in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital of Stevie marks the end of an era - when men would volunteer to fight for freedom, rather than go because they were conscripted.

Last Scots civil war fighter dies
04 Mar 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Veteran of Spanish Civil War dies
11 Apr 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Veteran recalls Spanish Civil War
17 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Civil War legacy divides Spain
18 Jul 06 |  Europe
Spanish Civil War fighters look back
28 Feb 03 |  From Our Own Correspondent

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific