Labour Research September 2009


Homage to Caledonia

Scotland and the Spanish Civil War

Daniel Gray, Luath Press, 223 pages, hardback, £16.99

This book gives a detailed account both of the individuals who went to Spain to fight fascism and of the solidarity movement in Scotland.

Gray places the support for Spanish republicanism in the context of Scottish politics at that time. As well as detailing the 549 Scots who fought in Spain he gives an account of the “Flag Days” and other activities organised to build support and raise funds.

Gray makes particular mention of Dundee Trades and Labour Council which was at the forefront of local campaigning. Dundee produced up to 123 of the volunteers and public meetings there attracted crowds of up to 3,000 people.

The Trades and Labour Council also backed the establishment of a Basque Children’s Fund for refugee children, with support from the Bakers’ Union among others. In Glasgow the May Day rally in 1937 had the theme “Solidarity with Spain” and attracted 15,000 people, the largest turnout since the general strike.

This is a social history rather than a military one and does not dwell on battles, but on the backgrounds of the overwhelmingly working class volunteers and the immense support they received from the labour movement in Scotland.