13-14 Junio Merriman still deals with reliable transportation

June 13-14
Robert Merriman’s diary for 13 and 14 of June 1937

Merriman is dealing with largely organizational issues over these two days of the diary.  He mentions Tom Hyde twice on these two days and he continues to be dealing with the issues of where to place him.  The fact that Hyde is mentioned in a sentence where Merriman says he “tried several comrades” seems to indicate that the issue has become a formal discipline case.  He leaves Albacete for Pozo Rubio and then goes to Tarazona with Isadore Schrenzel or Schrenzell ( this page makes the Schrenzell transcription likely).  Merriman talks about a Matilda whose home apparently is being confiscated after she has been in it 14 years.  Merriman promises to write a letter to intervene.  Matilda had pictures of British Brigadista Bert Overton.  Overton had been court-martialed by this point and was being assigned to a work battalion to carry ammunition to the front.  He would be killed in action at Brunete.

Merriman’s car problems continue and he complains about the camp Doctor and two Russians who tampered with a car.  The Doctor apparently broke the lock on the vehicle.

Merriman says after the meal he drove down to the river (presumably Rio Jùcar which was about five miles west of Tarazona de la Mancha).  He mentions a place which we cannot find on the map and which looks like Cuevas de las Patatas (“the Potato Cave”).  Merriman says that someone is in court (perhaps the cases he tried in the morning) who looks like “Lane” and a “Levy” is mentioned.  James L. Lane was in Spain at this time.   Israel Levy was shell shocked at Jarama and sought repatriation.

Carl Bradley
Carl Bradley, later Commander of the 24th Battalion. From September 1937. ALBA PHOTO 11 -0603, Tamiment Library NYU

Merriman mentions here for the first time that “Seamen” were a problem.  Over the next several months, a group of Brigaders who were recruited from the Seaman’s Union would be outspoken and chafe against authority.  The issue will rise to a near rebellion after Belchite in September and a few of the most outspoken Seamen are identified then.      Merriman finishes the day revealing that Jack Mullinger and Carl Bradley were in camp.

Wheeler and Taylor
Bill Wheeler and Joe Taylor at March in July 1938, ALBA Photo 11-0472, Tamiment Library, NYU

On the 14th, Bill Wheeler was leading the training.  Wheeler went into Spain in the first group in December 1936 and came out in late 1938 having been with the Lincoln Machine Gun Company at Corbera on the last day of fighting.  Wheeler actually went home in 1938 and returned shortly thereafter with a group of six men prior to the Ebro Offensive.

Morris Stamm
Morris Stamm, RGASPI Photo Fond 545/Opus6/Delo994, Moscow.

Merriman returns to Albacete with someone that looks like “Martin”.  This person is unknown.   This also could be a scrawled “Marion”.  Merriman meets with Schallrock, Abe Harris who was denied leave, Elliot Loomis who was still driving cars, Morris Stamm and a “Karl Thompson”.   There is a known photo of Stamm but Thompson is a mystery.   Merriman has the car break down in a place that looks like “Geneta” (location unknown) and he eats with a poor Spanish peasant family, paying for his meal.  Trying to replace the vehicle, he pulls rank and gets Car 149 and said that Lou Secundy was helpful but that a French Comrade was less so.

On returning to Albacete, he picks up two women who were afraid that there were Fascists around.  He places a guard on the 14,000 rounds of ammo (this is about a Company’s allotment during active actions).   He speaks with Joe Dallet about his report on Dave Mates and says that Joe was a poor officer of the day with self-criticism.  This gives some insight into how Merriman managed even his friends in Tarazona as Dallet was expected to be self-critical in a “bolshevik” method of instruction.