17-18 Abril “Buried Lieutenant Moreno”

17-18 April

Robert Merriman’s diary for the 17th and 18th of April 1938


Soldier posing in trench with instruction board to his right. Caption found by Kevin Buyers in “Notre Combat – Our Fight”: “Our Comrade Cyrano in the Franco-Belge Trenches” PHOTO ALBA 177_178009, Tamiment Library, NYU

177_178009 Blowup

Blowup of 177_178009 showing aircraft profiles and insignia. These appear to be German single wing aircraft.

Merriman says that the OTS took advantage of his contacts made with the Soviet pilots to get training from José who is likely General Ivan Ivanovich Kopats¹ — mistake in the transcription suggestion).  On the photo on the left, Comrade Cyrano of the Franco-Belge Battalion has an instruction board on his right.   Shown on the right here is what is on the board.   It is a lecture board on aviation.  How to identify planes, insignia, etc.  Probably similar to the lecture heard on April 17, 1937.

Merriman conducted instruction in the French Manual of Arms for a funeral held for a Lieutenant Moreno.   Little is written about this soldier but he had an honor guard at his funeral in Albacete.  Julian Martin Moreno was in the Dimitroff (XIII) Battalion, Company 3 and was wounded and taken to Tarancon on March 26, 1937.²  It is likely that this is our Lieutenant Moreno.

Merriman spent time in the afternoon trying to clear off his hotel bill but could not get a reduction in rate.  In the evening he went out with the men and it appears that a “Black” or perhaps “Bloch” got drunk as did Wallace Burton.

On the 18th, the topic of the day was instruction in map enlarging and reading.  Merriman is still waiting for an office at Pozo Rubio and  he took out a squad of troops to oppose the French troops who were under instruction by Platone.


¹ See http://jpgleize.perso.neuf.fr/aces/espurs.htm

² RGASPI Fond 545/Opis 3/Delo 488 page 45