We saw in Spain (pamphlet)
1937 Five Days' Diary of Our Visit By JOHN DUGDALE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3rd - We have arrived in Barcelona, the new capital of Republican Spain. After lunch we go to a clinic to see some of the refugees; the doctor is desperately short of medicines, but is doing the best he can with very limite...
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Five Days' Diary of Our Visit By JOHN DUGDALE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3rd - We have arrived in Barcelona, the new capital of Republican Spain. After lunch we go to a clinic to see some of the refugees; the doctor is desperately short of medicines, but is doing the best he can with very limited equipment. Supper with Negrin and an early bed, for we must be up at dawn to fly to Valencia. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4th - Off to Valencia in the Prime Minister's private 'plane, which travels at a good two hundred miles an hour. Then by car through the orange groves to Castellon to the school for N.C.O.s. Here we can see the new Republican Army in the making. Young men - for the Spanish Army is surely the youngest in the world - march up and down in front of us over very difficult terrain with a speed and precision as good as many British regiments. After lunch begins the journey to Madrid - six and a half hours along Madrid's life-line. All the while we pass lorries loaded up with supplies for the million people now living in the city. At midnight we arrive and go to bed in the Palace Hotel. One floor is used for guests, the others being all converted into hospital wards. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5th - A walk through the wards. Most of the patients are convalescent, for there has been little fighting near Madrid for some weeks, but one man is whistling as they put a dressing on what remains of his leg. And now we go to the old Royal Palace - to-day Headquarters of an Army Corps. Vast ballrooms with exquisitely painted ceilings, here and there pierced by a bullet, lead to the observation tower from which we can get our first glimpse of the battle-front. Below stretches the Manzanares, and on the other side lie Franco's lines. From the Palace we go to the University City. Here all is deserted except for the soldiers. This time we are within 500 yards of the enemy lines and can see the famous Hospital Clinico just in front, now a ruined shell of a building. By now we are due to lunch with General Miaja, Commander in-Chief of the Central front. Lunch for sixty takes place in a long white bomb-proof cellar beneath General Headquarters. Afterwards we go to a munition factory. Half the workers are women and - a lighter touch - they all ask us for more lipstick, with which, however, they seem already well supplied. And then we go to see how the Madrilenos carry on their everyday life. A crowded theatre gives Clem Attlee a tremendous welcome, and the orchestra strikes up "God Save The King," followed by the Spanish Republican Anthem. The audience settles down to its evening's fun, and roars of laughter greet every joke. It is difficult to remember the front line is only four miles away. MONDAY, DECEMBER 6th - We visit a modern school two miles from the battle. The children are drawing and writing and doing sums. A scene of perfect peace. But this is modern warfare, and any moment a bomb may wipe out the whole school The next scene is a review by General Miaja. A brigade of troops marches past splendidly, though some of their equipment is still poor. Among them may be seen the carabineros, with hand-grenades slung round their waists ready to throw at oncoming tanks. We see, too, the youngest soldiers of the Army - two proud fifteen-year-old drummer boys. Now to the front line itself. For the next hour we are walking in the trenches, with duckboards under foot and a solid roof overhead. Every now and then we come out into the open trench. A glance back and we can see Madrid almost as Franco's troops have seen it for thirteen months, a huge sprawling city only a mile away, with the great telephone building towering above all the rest. Our next visit is to the International Brigade, bivouacked in a village some miles out of Madrid. It is dark by this time, but the square is lit by flares through which we can distinguish the troops lined up to meet us. There's a man from Lancashire and another from Glasgow; a worker in a local Labour Party is standing beside a Jugoslav. Attlee speaks to them from a cart, and gives permission for the battalion to be called the Major Attlee Battalion. A visit to the men's quarters is followed by supper, speeches, and the singing of the "Internationale," which can never have meant more than it did at that moment. All night long we are driving back to Valencia, and at 5.30 a.m. we arrive and snatch a few hours of sleep. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7th - We visit the Officers' School and see a thousand men receiving a fine training course before entering for the Officers' exam - a magnificent lot, and like the N.C.O.s they have all served in the front line as privates. In the afternoon we fly back to Barcelona, and arrive just after an air raid. A great reception is held for Attlee in the evening. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8th - Baker and I go and see the results of yesterday's air-raid. There are twenty wounded in hospital, including a child which has lost the sight of both eyes. Suddenly we find ourselves in the mortuary, where lie the thirty killed in the raid, while harassed men and women search desperately among the corpses for their relations. It is not a pretty sight. Ellen Wilkinson visits the children and milk depots. Back to our own house, and then suddenly without warning we hear the air-raid sirens. From where we are we can see right over the town, and after a moment can pick out three black 'planes in the sky. Another raid has begun and before nightfall there will be more corpses in the mortuary. We leave Barcelona for France full of undying admiration for a people who have stood this single-handed for eighteen months and of confidence that at last the tide has turned. "A people who have stood this for eighteen months." Air-raid casualty gives the Salute while being carried out to the ambulance.