27-28 Julio “Had to finally break Seaman Oliver”

July 27-28
Robert Merriman’s diary for the 27th and 28th of July

The sentence fragment “at the auto park” was a run over from the 25-26th July diary pages.   It should read “{Ben} Barsky now Commissar at the auto park”.  This ties in a bit better with Merriman’s relief on getting settled on a vehicle once Barsky passed his test in Albacete.

Fuqua - Doran
American army Colonel Steven Fuqua and David Doran in trenches at Quinto or Fuentes del Ebro, October 1937. Tamiment Photo 11-1340, NYU.
Frank Rogers
Frank Rogers, ALBA Photo 177-188048, Tamiment Library, NYU

Joe Dallet and Dave Doran were both spoken to by Bill Lawrence because they had a “subjective attitude”.   A subjective attitude would be one where the moods or opinions of Dallet and Doran were more important than objective reality.   Dallet and Doran were both strong personalities.  Merriman says that Frank Rogers is working out better in the school.

Merriman reveals that Lt. William Neure was in charge of Company 1 of the Mac-Paps in the maneuvers.  Neure would be William Wheeler’s adjutant in Company 1 in the fall and would be killed at Fuentes del Ebro in October leading a charge of the Mac-Paps.  Jack Mullinger is still receiving criticism for not working hard enough in leading the scouts.  The scouts got lost in an exercise on the Tarazona – LaGineta road in a previous diary page.

Merriman had to cancel one exercise because Canadian Commissar Bob Kerr was in Tarazona for discussions.   Merriman calls out Canadian Fred Whitfield for a bad attitude.  Whitfield, while Canadian from Vancouver, spent a lot of time in the US and reportedly spent 3 years in Alcatraz.¹  Whitfield (42 years of age) was jailed for insubordination and it could be for this event.  He would be killed on the 17th of March 1938 during the Retreats from Belchite to the Ebro.   It is possible that the attitude of the Canadians was why Kerr was called in and Harry Rushton (46 years of age), Ron Liversedge and Bill Skinner were reprimanded.   Merriman hopes that the discussions will settle the issues in camp.

Merriman again mentions Vincent Usera who had a run in with the Lincoln Brigade staff at Brunete.   Merriman says Usera doesn’t pretend to be brave.  Again, Milton Wolff said Usera was working for the US Army while in Spain.

Merriman again calls out Seaman Oliver and Howard Hooker who had a fight.  Merriman thinks Oliver is at fault.  Oliver says that Dallet is the “most hated man in the Brigade”.   This comment has been picked up in several texts on the International Brigades and considering the source, one wonders if Dallet’s unpopularity was all that real.  It will come up again in October.


¹ Michael Petrou, Renegades, ibid, page 18.

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