Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Last civil war veteran dies at 93

Spanish civil war
The international volunteers fought for the pro-government republicans

A man thought to be the last surviving Irish fighter of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War has died at 93.

Bob Doyle, who died in London on Thursday, fought on the Aragon front during the war for the pro-government republicans against the nationalists.

He was captured by Italian fascists at Calaceite in March 1938 and imprisoned in the San Pedro prison camp.

He also served in the British merchant navy during World War II.

Mr Doyle described his experiences in his autobiography Brigadista.

The Spanish Civil War from 1936-39 was between Spanish republicans and General Franco's nationalists - backed by Hitler and Mussolini.

It was once described as "World War One-and-a-Half", "a bloody dress rehearsal" for the Second World War.

About 45,000 international volunteers came from 54 countries but ended up on the losing side.

More than 500,000 people died in the civil war, about 200,000 in combat.

An estimated 200 men went to Spain from Ireland to fight for the republican side, including Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland.

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