The last words on page 43 of Merriman’s second diary say “On the 19th …” and we find out that new men are up at Quinto arriving from Tarazona de la Mancha. These 510 new recruits will help bring the four battalions back to strength after the losses of Fuentes de Ebro.
The command of the battalions is fluid and Bob Thompson will step back from the command of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion and Edward Cecil-Smith would move into the position he would occupy until October 1938 as head of the Mac-Paps. For the Lincolns, Milt Wolff told Art Landis in the ALBA audiotapes that he became commander of the Lincoln Brigade temporarily when they returned to Quinto. Merriman says that all the recruits are 19 year olds, which is likely hyperbole, but shows that the Spanish Army is having to recruit younger and younger men. In a small diversion, I will post two Company 3 effectives lists for the Lincoln Battalion, one from October 5 and one from October 19. The number of available effectives shows how decimated the Battalion was after Fuentes.
On October 16 or 17th, a massive bombing run on the Internationals at Fuentes took place and no place was safe. Owen Appleton was in the Estado Mayor and was killed by a bomb. Company 3’s compliment went from 65 before Fuentes to 29 men. 29 Americans were reduced to 18, and five of them were missing. The staff was gone. The commander, looks like Sanakus (but that name is not in the ALBA list) was in hospital. Company Clerk Tom Page was in hospital ill. Michael (Morris) Ecker who came up on October 5 was temporary clerk of the Company. Elhanon Bridges became the temporary company commander. On October 21, Harold Hoff would become the company clerk.
Merriman says that the 143th Anarchist Brigade (this is a transcription error here) is now on the left of the worn down XVth Brigade. Merriman finds some humor in that. He finishes this page on the 20th by noting that the Estado Mayor has to move as it has been located by artillery and is being pounded. He doesn’t mention the bombing at this point.