3-4 Junio Merriman returns to “camp”

June 3-4

Robert Merriman’s diary for June 3 and 4, 1937

The jockeying for leadership of the previous week has settled down and Merriman describes a full two days of training in bayonet drill and machine gun skills.  Merriman states that machine gun parts now have agreed upon names and instruction is being conducted in Spanish.  Sidney Levine led machine gun instruction and Levine would lead machine gun companies until the Lincolns are pulled out of Spain in 1938.   Sid Levine and Jack Cooper would remain in Pozorubio for machine gun instruction throughout the fall of 1937, although Levine will see action in Brunete and Quinto and the Second Belchite.

Merriman gives private instruction to Steve Nelson and Joe Dallet who would be political commissars in the battalions.  Merriman tells Nelson to pass some of the political information on to Marty Hourihan so he would be prepared for political instruction of the Lincolns as they are pulled out of the line.  Nelson would arrive at Jarama shortly before they were retired for the rest of the month of June to “Ibáñez”¹.   Alan Warren suggests that Nelson gave the town another name to protect the locals during the Franco era and that is was actually Albares, 30 miles east of Madrid.  Merriman relays the news about the bombing of the German Battleship Deutchland while it was in port in Mallorca.  Merriman knows already that the attack was protective cover for a shipment of weapons from the “old country” (i.e. Russia).  The Deutchland attack, while boosting the morale of the Brigades, provided an excuse for the Germans to bomb the port of Almería on May 31.  Merriman wishes Nelson “Good Luck!” in his new assignment.

11_0910_Jack_Mullinger_Chief_of_Scouts

Jack Mullinger, Chief of Scouts, ALBA Photo 11-0910, Tamiment Library, NYU

Merriman reveals that Honoré Galli, see June 1-2 posting  is a good volleyball player.   Merriman says that Levie Kaminsky (Edward Baker) and the Canadian Allan Knight had never played volleyball.  Merriman reveals that “Mullinger” who would become Chief of Scouts came from a very well off family.  R. Charles Mullinger  was really Cecil Merritt Cole and he would risk his inheritance.  “Jack” (H. Hoff, private communication)  Mullinger was killed on the Ebro in July 1938.

Merriman says he spent the evening reviewing Bob Thompson and Pete Hampkin’s leadership styles and Bob Thompson’s health.  Merriman gives the name of Lucien Tellier² of Montreal, Canada, who shouted “Mañana” at Roblet in training.  The Lincolns used Mañana as an epithet for the slow pace of activity in Spain.

On the 4th Arthur Olorenshaw is back in camp and leading the training again on signals.  Pete Hampkins is said to be “too mechanical”.  Roblet returns from Valencia and announces that he has rounded up 60 “Mexicans” (i.e. volunteers who have come from Russia — not necessarily Russian by nationality, but coming from the Soviet Union) to come and help in the training.  Roblet will be leaving to organize the Spanish brigades.   Merriman is ill at the time he was writing on June 4 and the entertainment which was to be given by the Commanders (the “stunt”) was cancelled again … Merriman was also ill at the last fiesta for the entertainment.  Merriman misses Vidal and Winkler who came to camp.

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¹ Nelson, American Radical, ibid., pp 209-213.

² Petrou, Renegades, ibid., Table of Mac-Paps.