1-2 Agosto Visitors keep coming to Tarazona

August 1-2, 1937
Robert Merriman’s diary for August 1 and 2, 1937
Sam DeLuca, RGASPI Photo, Fond 545/Opus 6/ Delo 879, Moscow

With Brunete wrapping up and the Americans being pulled back into reserve positions, people return to Tarazona and drop in on the Mac-Paps.  Merriman is busy with disciplinary actions.  He has removed Deluca is probably Samuel DiLuca, an Italian American in the Mac-Paps.  Robert Martineau was a French Canadian from Montreal.  Michael Petrou’s notes¹ show that Martineau was arrested for 8 days and it is probably this incident.   Merriman decides to release Tom Hyde from prison and says that the goal is not to totally break the men who are difficult.  On the August 2 page of the diary though, Merriman says that Hyde is requesting to go to the front “to get it over with” and go home.

In Tarazona, the 1st is spent on sports with a baseball game, a soccer game and horseshoe match.  It appears that Merriman did not do well in any of them.  Merriman notes that the spirits of the men is sagging and it is very likely that word of the rebuff at Brunete and the loss of so many men has gotten back to Tarazona.   Merriman says that men came over from the Officers Training School to Tarazona and they were irritated because there was nothing special set up for their visit.

Marion Merriman returns from the hospital in Villa Paz and she visited Marty Hourihan, the American Commander in Brunete, and Robert Raven who was blinded at Jarama.  She also met with “Al Rothman” but that brigadista is not on the ALBA biography lists.  He makes a cryptic comment “Romen wife” and there is no context for this.

There was a meeting with the cooks and Robbie (not “Robre” as in the transcription) spoke.   That is John Quigley Robinson.  In reference to some names from an earlier page,  Arthur Coapman has been put into some position that had previously held by Gilbert Racheff.  This seems to concern staffing in the kitchen as Frederick Cavanaugh is in and will become the Cook for the Mac-Paps.  Merriman says “Gen. out” and that is unlikely to be “General” in this context.  The name could be “Gus” or “Ten” out.  It is not known what this refers to.   Markovics is still in Tarazona and he stayed over.

On the 2nd, the Mac-Paps go out on maneuver again and it goes better this time.  Merriman mentions “Semyonovitch”.    It is probably that Merriman mean Stepanovics who was the photographer who followed the Brigade around.   In any case, Merriman ran him ragged.  In a cruel prediction of future battles, Merriman called all leaders of the Brigade “dead” and put the number three in the companies in charge, generally a corporal or “cabo”.

Merriman expected a convoy of trucks with 32 tons of supplies from the US that were at Valencia and they did not show up so he sent Ben Barsky, Bill Wheeler and Niilo Makela to Valencia to check out what happened.

In the afternoon of the 2nd, Mirko Marcovics spoke on his adventures in Brunete and his removal by Colonel Klaus.  Merriman says that Marcovics revealed “our weakness”, which may be that the senior Brigade staff was willing to expend the Internationals to the last man.  Marcovics did apologize to the men but he still justified his position.  Clearly, he could not give the order to send the men back into battle after three weeks of hard fighting.

Merriman says “Rejichek and Leppo” dropped in.  His reference to the latter man leading the Machine Gun Company at Brunete draws us to identify him as Danil Lepo.   The first man is likely to be Albert Rezac.  Merriman is still worried about Seaman Oliver.    Lepo would be responsible for him if the Seaman’s Machine Gun Company went over to the Lincolns.  Lepo was injured at Brunete.


¹ Michael Petrou, Renegades, Table of Mac-Paps, ibid.