23-24 Julio “After meeting, reported men drowned”

July 23-24, 1937

Robert Merriman’s diary for July 23 and 24, 1937

Merriman continues to report the activities in training the Mac-Paps at Tarazona.   He appears unaware of the desperate battle going on in Brunete or else he just felt it was not appropriate to record in his diary at this point.   This is the second page of a catch up of activities that he recorded on July 28.   This field maneuver was extensive and he may have left his diary in Tarazona de la Mancha rather than having in the field with him.

Bob Thompson takes ill and was in charge of the staff activities so the staff planning ceased.  Merriman calls a staff meeting anyway and reprimands Lou Secundy for not getting Ben Barsky through a test at Albacete.  Merriman does not mention what the test is, although on the 26th Merriman makes appointments and Barsky becomes a commissar, presumably a company commissar.

The maneuver was near the bridge on the Tarazona to La Gineta Road over Rio Jucar.  They camped on the far side.  Here is a view today of those fields at the bridge:

Tarazona - LaGineta Bridge

Current Google Streetview image of the Tarazona – La Gineta Road bridge over Rio Jucar. Mac-Paps would have camped in that field.

The river looks quite passive in today’s photo but Merriman is informed that men drowned swimming in the river and he rushes out to see what happened.  He finds out that they did not drown but were able to crawl to shore by going across the river bottom.  There is a current reservoir on the Rio Jucar now and it is possible that the stream was really a river in 1937 before the reservoir was there.

Joe Dallet is mentioned as having to improve the performance of the signal crew.   And in a word that is difficult to read, consensus opinion of our reviewers is that “Robbie” got sick and was sent into Tarazona to hospital in a truck.  This would be John Quiqley Robinson if true.  Robbie would become the Lincoln Brigade Commissar in about a month before the assault on Quinto.¹

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¹ Landis, Abraham Lincoln Brigade, ibid, p. 247.