Memories of Spain

Memoirs from the 1930s

In this series we are working with leading historians to bring to print previously unpublished memoirs by individuals who engaged in various ways to defend the Spanish Republic, while Europe’s democracies turned a blind eye. We have also republished a cluster of amazing memoirs written in English by people who had direct experience of Spain during the 1930s, all of which had been long since out of print, and other related historical research.

Recuérdalo tú y recuérdalo a otros. – Luis Cernuda


HIS-HIF2 Hotel in Spain – Hotel in Flight   by Nancy Johnstone.


Hotel in Spain is a light-hearted account of a couple who leave their jobs in London and move to Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava to set up their own hotel, covering the period from 1934 to 1936. Hotel in Flight is the dark sequel, starting in July 1936 as Civil War erupts in Spain and throws the country into turmoil..

Front 220612 Behind the Spanish Barricades   by John Langdon-Davies, with a Prologue by Paul Preston.


First published in 1936, this memoir chronicles the early months of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of a seasoned journalist well acquainted with Spanish and Catalan cultures. Arriving on a second-hand motorbike, he experiences the exuberant atmosphere in Barcelona during its short-lived proletarian revolution, as well as the horrors of war as he visits Toledo during the siege of the Alcázar.

Hampshire Heroes 220611.indd Hampshire Heroes: Volunteer Fighters in the Spanish Civil War   by Alan Lloyd.


Between 1936 and 1939 some 2,500 men and women from Britain and Ireland volunteered to support the Spanish Republic in its fight against Franco’s insurrection. Around 40 of them had strong connections with Hampshire. Alan Lloyd has painstakingly researched their stories to provide this record of their contribution as soldiers, nurses, doctors and pilots.

single-to-spain-front-2 Single to Spain & Escape from Disaster   by Keith Scott Watson


Keith Scott Watson was a journalist who fought alongside Esmond Romilly in the International Brigades, “resigning” shortly before the Battle of Boadilla, where most of his British comrades were slaughtered. He stayed on in Spain and was one of the first reporters on the scene at Guernica after the bombardment and one of the last to leave Barcelona as Franco’s murderous forces swept in. These memoirs were first published in 1937 & 1940.

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In Place of Splendour   by Constancia de la Mora, with an introduction by Soledad Fox Maura

Constancia de la Mora was one of the first Spanish women to obtain a divorce under the new laws passed by the fledgling Spanish Republic. When the fascist rebellion broke out in 1936, she became a key figure in the Republic’s international press office. This is her autobiography, first published in 1940.

9781913693053-Front Cover The Fighter Fell in Love: A Spanish Civil War Memoir   by James R Jump, with a foreword by Paul Preston and a preface by Jack Jones


At the age of 21, James R Jump left his fiancée in England and went to Spain to join the International Brigades in their fight against Franco and his fascist supporters. He saw action in the Battle of the Ebro and was mentioned in despatches for his bravery. This is his previously unpublished memoir.

9781913693046 Spanish Soul (front)

Struggle for the Spanish Soul & Spain in the Post-War World     by Arturo & Ilsa Barea, with a foreword by William Chislettt

In Struggle for the Spanish Soul (1941) Barea asserted the imperative for the democracies of Europe to unseat Franco. Similar arguments made in Spain in the Post-War World (1945) also fell on deaf ears. Together, these two essays paint a picture of the early years of the dictatorship, which was to endure until Franco’s death in 1975.

never-more-alive-cover-front-1 Never More Alive: Inside the Spanish Republic   by Kate Mangan, with a preface by Paul Preston


Kate Mangan went to Spain in search of her lover, Jan Kurzke,  who had joined the International Brigade. She ended up working for the Republic’s Press & Censorship office, visiting battlefronts and meeting a host of characters including Auden, Hemingway, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. When Jan was injured she helped him escape across the border into France . This is her memoir.

front-cover-1 The Good Comrade: Memoirs of an International Brigaderby Jan Kurzke, with an introduction by Richard Baxell


Jan Kurzke was an artist who fled Nazi Germany in the early 1930s and tramped round the south of Spain, witnessing first-hand the poverty of the rural population. When the civil war broke out in 1936, he joined the International Brigade. Many of his fellow volunteers died in the savage battles on the outskirts of Madrid and Jan himself was seriously wounded at Boadilla.

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British Women and the Spanish Civil War  by Angela Jackson

Why would young British women risk their lives by volunteering to serve in medical units during Spain’s bitter civil war? Why would so many women here in Britain dedicate their energies to raising funds to help people suffering in Spain ? The answers to these and other intriguing questions can be found in this revised and updated paperback edition of Angela Jackson’s classic study.

FSFF_FrontCover (1) Firing a Shot for Freedom, The Memoirs of Frida Stewart                    with a Foreword and Afterword by Angela Jackson


Frida Stewart became involved with Aid for Spain ended up driving an ambulance out to Murcia. She worked for the Republican Press Office in Madrid, visiting the front and “firing a shot for freedom”. She was later in France when the Nazis invaded and was imprisoned in an internment camp, from which she escaped with a friend. This is her story.

Print Boadilla  by Esmond Romilly


The nephew that Winston Churchill disowned describes his experiences fighting with the International Brigade in the Battle of Madrid. Written on his honeymoon in St. Jean de Luz after he eloped with Jessica Mitford.

20200610_183307 (2) My House in Málaga  by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell


Sir Peter retired to Málaga in 1934 at the age of 70, after an eminent career in zoology. Two years later the Spanish Civil War erupted. While most ex-pats fled to Gibraltar, Sir Peter stayed on to “protect his house and servants” from the fascist insurgents. He ended up in prison for sheltering Arthur Koestler from Franco’s head of propaganda, who had threatened to “shoot him like a dog”.

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Spanish Portrait  by Elizabeth Lake

A brutally honest, semi-autobiographical novel set in San Sebastián and Madrid between 1934 and 1936, portraying a frantic love affair against a background of apprehension and confusion as Spain drifted inexorably towards civil war.

A remarkable first novel revealing a remorseless interest in emotional truth” – Elizabeth Bowen

The Tilting Planet 220616.indd The Tilting Planet   Poems by David Marshall.


David Marshall was born in Middlesbrough in 1916 and volunteered for the International Brigade in 1936. During his long life he was a civil servant, a theatre scenery builder, and Master of the Thames sailing barge “Jock”. This selection of his poems written over the course of his life was first published shortly before he died, in 2005.


Some Still Live  by F.G. Tinker Jr

Tinker was a US pilot who signed up with the Republican forces because he didn’t like Mussolini. He was also attracted by the prospect of adventure and a generous pay cheque. Once in Spain, Tinker became the Republic’s ace pilot. In his free time he roamed the bars and hotels of Madrid in search of champagne and a hot bath, and getting drunk with Ernest Hemingway  This is his memoir.