Category Archives: Albacete

Days when Merriman was in Albacete Training Base

11-12 Agosto “Hello, 15th Brigade!” and “English Out”

August 11-12, 1937

Robert Merriman’s diary for August 11 and 12, 1937

Merriman continues to document the shake up of the 15th Brigade and records that Ralph Bates and Steve Nelson came to the Battalion to tell the men that Merriman will be moving up to the Brigade level as Chief of Staff.  Rollin Dart would move back from Albares where he headed the Lincolns and would take Merriman’s place as commander in training.   Merriman will take Canadian Bill Skinner and Sidney Shostek with him to Brigade as his aides.

Owen Smith

Captain Owen Smith, Operations, Tamiment Photo 177_188024, Tamiment Library, NYU

In the farewell, Marion Merriman spoke.   The August 9-10 posting has Marion’s description of the event and it seems that she mixed up Merriman’s accompanying the Mac-Paps to Albares and then his return to Tarazona to announce his movement up to the Brigade level.  But she missed by only one or two days in these events.  Merriman says ford arrived and this could be James Ford, a CP official from the US but it more likely to be a vehicle for him in his new position.  The next line says “delivery body” which sounds like it is vehicle related.   Merriman was sure that he would get the trappings of office when he got a promotion. Merriman also spoke briefly and there were songs.  Merriman says Owen (Owen Smith, probably) wanted more on the reorganization and said that the leaders were hiding something.   Smith obviously was aware of the trouble that Marcovics was in from Brunete and the Americans were watching his treatment closely.  When Steve Nelson and Ralph Bates arrived, Merriman accompanied them to Albacete.

William Rowe

William Rowe. Photograph from a pamphlet published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, thanks to Stuart Walsh for providing the image.

Copic-Gall

Vladimir Copic and General Gal in a tete-a-tete at Ambite, believed to be July 21, 1937. Tamiment Photo 177-175018, NYU Bobst Library, New York, New York.

The next morning (after having the perks of command allowing him to sleep on grain sacks), Steve Nelson starts to reveal to Merriman how upset the British are about these adjustments.  Merriman met with Will Paynter, William Rowe, Aitken and Jock Cunningham.  Thanks to comrades doing photo research on the Brigades for the identification of William Rowe (1905-1948).  Rowe arrived in Spain in April of 1937 would be invalided home for tuberculosis , returning 19 September 1937.¹  The British suggested that if Cunningham was not going to be Brigade Commander, perhaps Cunningham and Merriman could share the role.  This is a very strange suggestion and one which was being preempted by Vladimir Copic’s trip to see General Gal (Janos Galicz).  General Gal was known to be moving on as Merriman said “General out” on an earlier page, but on this day he was still in command of the Internationals.  Copic was getting orders ready for the reassignments and Copic would lead the Brigade and Merriman would be his Chief of Staff.

Mirko Markovics continued the battle with Cunningham which started with the commands given at Brunete.  The British and Americans were at loggerheads over the leadership question and Merriman met with Robbie Robinson,  Rollin Dart and George Kaye to develop an American position.   Ralph Bates would be leaving before the upcoming offensive (Quinto) but he must have given Merriman the quote that “Cunningham leaving would be more of a loss than Copic”.   Copic, however, maneuvered his way to the leadership and arrived back at Albacete with Gal’s orders that Merriman would be Chief and Aitken and Cunningham were to go.  Merriman says “English out.  Feel sorry for them.”   Merriman’s notes leave us to conclude that the exclusion of the English, Scots and Irish was Copic’s doing.   (One should reread Copic’s comments to Haywood about the British in the July 19-20 entry here).  Mirko Markovics (another Slav, although American) survived the housecleaning and will become information officer.  Aitken, Cunningham and Markovics all crossed Colonel Hans Klaus at Brunete and the piper must be paid.

Gordon and Begelman

Joe Gordon (left) and Elias Begelman (right), ALBA Photo 11_0098, Tamiment Library, NYU

Merriman finished the day reminiscing with Phil Cooperman.  He also gave Markovics a warning, apparently that Steve Nelson was not going to be his ally and that Markovics needed to shape up.  Recall that at Brunete, Nelson was put in the position of having to take over from Marcovics because the latter refused to follow a difficult order to send the Americans back into battle.   Nelson accomplished what Marcovics could not, but only through his motivational abilities.  Luckily the Spanish Battalion intervened and the Americans did not need to go back into the fight in their highly weakened state.  At the evening meeting,  Elias Begelman was also in the discussion and apparently was too garrulous for Merriman.

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¹  Thanks to Stuart Walsh and Kevin Buyers for the research on Rowe, private communication.

9-10 Agosto Merriman is moved up further

August 9-10, 1937

Robert Merriman’s diary from August 9 and 10, 1937

Robert Merriman assumed that when he went to the “front” that he would be with the Americans.  His involvement with the Lincolns will be short lived.   As the Americans are in Albares on rest, many of the men are in Madrid on R&R.   Merriman also is in Madrid and talks to Ed Rolfe about trouble in the 5th Regiment du Tren, when the repatriation policy is overstated.  The rumors about repatriation will echo through the ranks of all the International Brigades and rumors of policy changes on the length of service were rife over the summer of 1937.

Luigi Gallo was not available at the time and Merriman says “Galli” helped them find food.  That is probably Humberto Galliani.   Marion Greenspan and Merriman leave for Ambite where the Brigade is based and they still missed Gallo who was moving fast.  He was with a Brigadista named “Franz” (unknown).   Gallo was working on issues with the Medical Service and the XIth and XIIth Brigades during this week and he has a memo to him from Dr. Franek of the Medical Service.   We believe that Franz may be Dr. Franek.   Gallo was in Madrid, Albacete and later Valencia during this week so he was really on the move.

Merriman says that Klaus explained his actions against Marcovics and threatened anyone who told Marcovics what he said with court martial.   This must have been a very awkward position for Merriman to be in, knowing that Marcovics and he were not close, but that Nelson and other Americans must have told him Marcovics’ side of the story.  Marcovic’s error was to stand up to Colonel Klaus and refuse to send the Americans back into battle in late July at Brunete when the Americans had been decimated.   Jock Cunningham and Aitken had flatly refused to send the British back in and Aitken told Marcovics and Nelson that they were crazy to accept the order since the men would not follow them.   Nelson did mobilize the Americans to go back but they were reprieved from a likely demise by the Spanish who plugged the lines on the 24th of July.    The resistance of Marcovics, Aitken and Cunningham to Klaus’ orders would shortly work against them.

In a rush to get back to Albacete with Joe Dallet, Merriman stops in Tarançon and meets with Al Stone (Albert Gottlieb) and “Rose” (probably Solomon Rose, who would have been in hospital from injuries at Brunete).  Apparently there was a woman from San Francisco who knew Merriman’s family as he says that he has a message from Abbie and Fay.  Fay is Fay Cook Merriman, his mother, and Abbie is Abbie Cook, Fay’s mother and Merriman’s grandmother.

Ralph Bates

Ralph Bates lecturing to the Regiment de Tren, probably July 21, 1937, prior to going to Quinto. ALBA Photo 177-178037, Tamiment Library, NYU

11-1322 Begelman, Copic, Max, Galliani, and Dunbar

Elias Begelman (left), Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Copic, Comrade Max (likely Maximov, a Russian advisor), Humberto Galliani, and Malcolm Dunbar, at Ambite Mill, likely on July 21, 1937. ALBA Photo 11-1322, Tamiment Library, NYU.

 

He tears back to Tarazona for a meeting and the next day reveals the reason.   Robert Merriman’s diary is unique in unraveling the machinations of the leadership adjustments in August 1937.  While Merriman was talking about an American going to the Staff level of the Brigade in his August 7-8 diary pages, that adjustment took exactly two days.  In a flurry of activity that involved the rotation out of a number of British and Americans who had been in Spain from the beginning, Luigi Gallo, Ralph Bates and Vladimir Copic returned to the Brigade and shook things up.  On the 10th of August, Merriman is told he is to be the Chief of Staff to Copic.   The French were not pleased with the Americanization of the Brigades and one recalls that Lucien Vidal was recently removed from Albacete base command.   Vidal would say in the concluding page of his memoir¹ that he found that the infighting between the French and Germans was bad but that the inability of the British and Americans to accept French (or international) leadership over their battalions was a major cause of the failing of the Brigades.   He particularly called out the Americans and British as a problem in having a truly international collaboration in the Base of the Brigades.

Merriman speaks with Copic about recommendations for comrades who fought in Brunete.  He includes Marcovics in that list.  Merriman has clearly sided with the American view that Colonel Klaus was unreasonable in his orders and that Marcovics was correct in resisting them.   Merriman says that he has permission to “clean Albacete”.  The feeling at this point was that Albacete had become a dumping ground for “inaptes”, men who were useless at the front because of inability, incapacity or just being shell-shocked.  One can imagine Merriman viewing  these men as consuming food and supplies, goods that should have gone to men at the front.  The drain on supplies could be staunched if they repatriated these non-combatants home.

In another unreadable word, he has a session with a comrade who looks like “Fernando”.   Spanish nicknames were often taken for Russian advisors.  Merriman solidifies Lou Secundy’s placement in Transports.  Secundy did a good job in getting the Battalion to Albares on previous days.

Nelson spoke at Pozo Rubio and Tom Wintringham was viewed as weak.  The training at the school is noted as “slow”.   Another new name “Seegar” appears and he will go to Madrigueras from Pozo Rubio.  Unfortunately, the name list for Pozorubio does not reveal this name in August and we are still searching for him. We have found that George Fletcher, a Briton, was sent from Madrigueras to Tarazona on August 13 so it is possible that “Seegar” was a Briton being sent to Madrigueras in exchange.  Merriman speaks with the men at Pozo Rubio and explains what happened with Vincent Usera and Mirko Markovics at the front.  Merriman’s sympathy for their actions is apparent and quite nonjudgmental.

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¹  RGASPI, Fond 545/Opis 2/Delo 32, p 454.

9-10 Julio “Winkler wondered why I was in Madrid … and so did I”

July 9-10, 1937

Robert Merriman’s Diary for July 9 and July 10, 1937

In the midst of the Battle of Brunete, Merriman, Bill Lawrence and Anna Louise Strong take off for Madrid, ostensibly to buy supplies for the Battalion.  One wonders if they just could not resist seeing what was happening.    On July 9, Merriman’s day starts with disciplining Tom Hyde in front of the Battalion.   Hyde’s comment was very fatalistic and Merriman apparently had had it.  He sentenced Hyde to 30 days in the brig for “his superior attitude”.  He says Hyde threatened to desert.   This may have been the best thing for Hyde who will become a good soldier at Belchite in September.

IB Headquarters

The current 63 Calle de Velásquez in Madrid. It is for rent. Image: Google Street View

 

Emanuel Hochberg

Emanuel Hochberg, RGASPI photo Fond 545/Opus 6/ Delo 911, Moscow

Ford and Shirai

James Ford, VP Candidate for President of the US and Jack Shirai, Lincoln Brigade Cook, From the Book of the XVth Brigade.

Merriman goes past Morata de Tejuna and Perales to Madrid.  The International Brigade Headquarters was 63 Calle de Velásquez.  Marion Greenspan (George Marion) worked out of this office.   But Greenspan was too busy to get out of the office and go to the hospital to visit the men from Brunete who had been injured on the first day of fighting: Garland, E. C. Smith, Robert Trail{l}, Givney, Hochberg, and Hourihan.   Bill Lawrence chews Marion Greenspan out about his priorities.  Merriman finds out that Oliver Law, the Battalion Commander, was also killed.   Brunete will decimate the Lincolns and Washington Battalions and within two weeks the ranks will be so small that they battalions must be combined into the Lincoln-Washington Battalion to have a fighting force.   Others killed at Brunete will be for the British: George Nathan, Julian Bell (nephew of  Virginia Woolf), John Alexander of the Anti-tank unit, Arthur Dunbar, Sam Masters,  Alex McDade (who penned the Ballad of the Jarama Valley), Bert Overton (previously commander at Jarama), and many others.  Notable Americans who were killed include the Battalion Cook Jack Shirai, Joe and Sam Stone (brothers), Bernard Entin, Ramond Steele, Jack Weinstein, amongst others.   Merriman gets some details of the battle including the capture of the town of Quijorna by Juan Modesto’s Division.   The fighting for Quijorna is shown in this Spanish TV Documentary (thanks to Jose Alejandro Ortiz-Carrion for the reminder about this documentary).

Copic Wounded

Vladomir Copic, wounded, and lying on a cot. ALBA Photo 177-179003, Tamiment Archive, NYU

Within hours, Merriman was back on the street, shopping.  Merriman meets the reporter Louis Fischer again who has a girl on his arm.  He bumped into Walter Garland and the Canadian Commissar Bob Kerr.  Kerr dissuades Merriman of the idea of going to the front for sightseeing since the going there is obviously tough.  Even the Commander of the Brigade, Vladimir Copic, was injured by shrapnel.

At the end of the 9th of July, Merriman puts a question “Swinnerton lost memory?”  Thanks to John Wainwright (personal communication), we know  Dennis Swinnerton was from Islington, London.  He arrived in Spain 27/1/37.  He was treated at Murcia but it is not known what his injury was.   Swinnerton was a possible deserter and left Spain on 25/2/38.

Robert Merriman

Photograph of Robert Merriman from Volunteer for Liberty, Vol 1 No 18, October 1937

In the morning of the 10th, Merriman meets with Briton Will Paynter, James Prendergast, Dr. Adolph and Anna Louise Strong who lost her ride back to Albacete.  Anna Louise had a disagreement on how to spend the money which was brought over from the States and starts to spend it on personal items, including books.  That was enough for Lawrence who thought they were buying boots and glasses.  He left her in Madrid.  Anna Louise attaches herself to Merriman trying to hitch a ride back with him.  Merriman meets with John Tisa who is writing the Book of the XVth Brigade and Tisa takes one of the famous photographs of Merriman for the book.

Back at the IB HQ, Merriman meets Fein, who we believe is Arnold Fein, who is the Chief now of the Cadres Office in Albacete.  In this position, Fein would have been Marion Merriman boss when she worked there in May.  Fein (a “Mexican”¹) is a 41 year old Yugoslavian  whose trade was a baker.  He also meets Peter Winkler who is the head of Personnel of the Brigades.  Both wonder what Merriman is doing in Madrid.  They ask Merriman a very good question given the context of the battles.  Merriman realizes that sightseeing in Madrid at this time is very bad optics and he works his way back to Albacete hitching a ride on an ambulance, driven by Murray Lerner.   The riders in the Ambulance were Prendergast and Paynter, Bill Lawrence, Canadian Bob Kerr, and Merriman.   They arrived back safely in Albacete, tired.  If that vehicle had been hit by a bomb, there would have been a significant dent placed in the International Brigades.

We have been trying to trace “Winkler” for some time as several photographs in the Tamiment Archives are attributed to Winkler.   It appears that Winkler is the Pole Kazimierz Cichowski.   We still are looking for his photo.

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¹ RGASPI Fond 545/Opis 6/ Delo 37, pg 22.

 

7-8 Julio “Boys deserted from the Lincolns and brought news of Hourihan”

July 7-8, 1937

Robert Merriman’s diary for July 7 and 8, 1937

Merriman’s matter of fact tone throughout the diary rarely gives a view into his real feelings.   The diary oscillates between news about the war and trivia about Marion buying a dress.   Merriman must have still have been on R&R this morning in Villaneuva de la Jara because he woke late at 11 am.   He met with the Mayor and his cousin who was blind and played the mandolin.   Merriman gives  a hint of why they made the loop through Iniesta on the prior days:  Suarez and Delgado got two girls in trouble and he was looking for an accredited doctor who could end the pregnancy.   In Catholic Spain this was no small matter.  Delgado is believed to be Emilio Delgado Mariano.   Suarez is believed to be Julius Ruiz Suarez or Luis Suarez Pineiro.   Both are Cubans.

Merriman says that the officials in Cuenca turned over rifles to him and shells.   Whether this was to reduce the possibility of fifth columnists getting weapons or just to provide more support to the internationals is not known.  The town of Cuenca is some 90 km north of Villaneuva de la Jara.

Merriman says he has a lazy afternoon, playing dominoes.

Oliver Law

Oliver Law

Later on the 7th, Merriman returned to Albacete and met with Lawrence, Schalbroeck (typo in transcription) and Briton Robert Traill.  Settling some questions and still fighting over getting a Staff car, which would be black not green,  Merriman gets some news of the offensive that started the day before and says that 30 battalions (about 20000 – 30000 men) had advanced 11-12 miles. This is the Battle of Brunete which began the first week of July 1937.   It is telling that Merriman knows nothing of the offensive until he is told on July 7.  The offensive was well concealed from anyone who might leak this information to the Fascists.  The initial advance would take the Brigades from Valdemorillo to the vicinity of Villanueva de la Cañada where the offensive stalled for a day and the Lincoln and Washington Battalions were taken from reserve and thrown into action to take the town.  In bitter fighting, we find the next day that Marty Hourihan was wounded and is out of the line.   This puts Oliver Law in charge of the Lincoln Battalion.

Merriman finds out that Vidal is on the warpath over some artillery pieces which were taken off by the Spanish Battalions.   Vidal threatens to pull the Americans out of Almansa where the artillery groups trained.   The International Brigades never fielded a significant artillery unit although Canadians and Americans served in batteries such as the John Brown Battery and the 45th Brigade.   Somehow two Colonels did not get absorbed into the new units and went off with the artillery.   Bill Lawrence will have to take the issue up at Brigade Headquarters.     Merriman meets with Bender, Lawrence, Thompson and Traill in the evening.  He misses Vidal and hints that Vidal was trying to round up supplies for the front.  Merriman would keep his grenades.  One should recall that Vidal was directly responsible for the Artillery group in Almansa and his difficulties in maintaining control of a group who felt that they were spinning their wheels without artillery to train on must have been difficult.

Merriman literally goes shopping for telephones and supplies.  Marion looks for a dress.  Merriman again talks with “Marsly” to get “regulations”, which may mean regulation issue from the Intendencia.   There is no Marsly in the British, Canadian, American or French ranks.  There is a Paul Marsaillaz who was in the 50th Battalion of the 13th Brigade but  the connection to him is unlikely and speculative.   Merriman obtains a heliograph for communications and some wire to go with his telephones.   The town of La Roda appears to be a headquarters for the Transmiciones unit.

Merriman lets us know that he will go to Madrid on the 9th of July to get shoes for the men.   As mentioned on previous pages, Anna Louise Strong arrived with nearly $10,000 in cash so that the Americans could be outfitted with real boots, instead of Alparagatas (the rope soled sandals).  This would be a shopping trip to get these supplies.  Merriman says that there already is an ambulance in Madrid loaded with supplies.   With the Battle of Brunete on at this point, a spare ambulance is a real luxury for the training battalions.  Merriman relates to his diary that he will leave Bob Thompson in charge.

1-2 Julio “Dozens of things happened at once”

July 1-2, 1937

Robert Merriman’s Diary for July 1 and 2, 1937

In a very busy two days in the diary, Bob Merriman tells his diary much and holds back some things he must have known.  On July 2, the Lincoln and Washington Battalions were ordered up to the lines for the “push”, the Battle of Brunete.  Probably for security reasons, Merriman doesn’t write much about this in his diary.  Instead he deals with visitors to Tarazona de la Mancha.

July 1 was “Dominion Day” in Canada, now known as “Canada Day”, the Canadian national holiday.   To recognize this, the head of the Canadian Communist Party, Albert Alexander MacLeod, showed up in Tarazona to greet the men and lecture {Note that Victor Hoar makes a mistake and says that this was Allan Dowd, unless this is an alias}.¹   They formally announce that the new Battalion will be called the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (Merriman misspells Mackenzie).  Merriman states that this is not a political unit but a military unit, probably to assuage the Americans would be in the new Battalion.  From the tone of the diary, it sounds like Joe Dallet, the Commissar, had to sell the idea of the name to the Battalion.  It is likely that the Canadians were excited about having recognition.   Ron Liversedge recalls the visit:

We did have one visitor to the base who was welcome, especially to us Canadians, and that was our own A. A. MacLeod.  MacLeod was sat that time the national secretary of the Canadian League Against War and Fascism, and was later to serve a couple of terms as a communist MPP in the Ontario Legislative Assembly.  I cannot recall the date of MacLeod’s visit, but I think it was early July, 1937.  At any rate it was of great importance to us, as it was this visit that finally and officially established the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the Fifteenth International Brigade.  MacLeod spoke to the massed personnel of the base for two hours.  He gave a history of the founding of Canada, brought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the defeat by the embattled Canadians of the new American republic’s attempted invasion of Canada, and finally the revolt of the early Canadians against the British Family Compact, led by Mackenzie and Papineau.  There was a standing ovation for MacLeod; the Americans had never heard anything like it before.  When MacLeod asked for an endorsement of a Mac-Pap Battalion, he got it one hundred per cent.  The name was confirmed a few days later by the Brigades and the Spanish Government, and Canada was officially recognized in Spain as participating in the war.  But not, of course, by the Canadian government.²

Anna Louise Strong

Anna Louise Strong, Source: wikipedia.org; Creative Commons License.

Another visitor, Anna Louise Strong, showed up in Tarazona.  Marion Merriman and Connie de la Mora both mention Anna Louise in their memoirs and she must have been a force of nature.  John Wainwright has pointed out that Anna Louise Strong’s manuscript is within the Milly Bennett papers at the Hoover Institute. In a visit in 2014, however, the author was unable to find Anna Louise’s manuscript on Spain.     Anna Louise would lecture several times over the next two days.  Strong was with Milly Bennett in China in the 1920’s and was editor at Moscow News in the 1930’s when Bennett was there.   Much of their shared experiences in China and Russia were covered in Strong’s biography “I Change Worlds”.  It was apparent that Marion Merriman was acquainted with Anna Louise before Spain.  Marion Merriman Wachtel and Warren Lerude tell the story of the visit:

Anna Louise Strong arrived from America, having returned home from Russia earlier.  She planned to gather information for a book on the international volunteers.  We found her a room in Tarazona and caught up briefly with the news of America.  She was cheered about the program to aid the Spanish children, the most terrified victims of the war, and she wanted to talk to the American Volunteers.

Anna Louise wasn’t as trying and exhausting as usual, perhaps because she herself was exhausted.  She brought ten thousand dollars from an American philanthropist who wanted to buy boots for the Americans fighting in Spain.   It was difficult to find boots large enough for most of the Americans.  So Anna Louise set out tot find a Spanish shoe manufacturer who would make the larger-sized boots the Americans required.

After a couple of days of rest, Anna Louise summoned me, and we made the rounds of the squads and barracks so she could seek out the stories of the volunteers.  She was a good speaker with a strong voice, and she was forever talking as we moved about the men.  She was built like a pyramid, tall and heavily widening as her figure went earthward.  The men liked her because of her enthusiasm and the simplicity of her manner  The facility with which she could turn her charm on and off, almost like water from a tap, amazed me.³

Discipline still plagues Bob Merriman.   Two men appear to have “organized” a Studebaker touring car, and in going AWOL and in the process of getting out of Tarazona, crashed it into a tree near the bridge in town.  The car was totaled.   Merriman seems to be as concerned about the loss of the car as he is disciplining the “damned fool” driver.  “Frenchy” who is  French Canadian Amédée Grenier¹ came out from the Auto Parc to check out the vehicle.  He reported the loss of the vehicle and this would be a scandal for the new battalion who expected to get this car.  Merriman wanted this car.   Apparently one of the men was injured in the crash and was brought in.  No guard was left on the car and so a guard would be placed on it for the next 24 hours (after removing the plates) and on the 2nd Merriman removed the guard to say “forget it” since the car was a loss.

In this incident or a simultaneous one, Seaman William Edward Howe and Joseph Raymond Dione caused problems.  After taking abuse from these men, Merriman demanded and got an apology (at the threat of arrest).   Howe was noted for having want to leave the Battalion and the two incidents may be related.  Merriman says “Robbie” was looking for them.  Robbie is John Quigley Robinson who was brought in to manage the difficult, rough and tumble Seaman who arrived in June.

Joe Lash was in Tarazona and a party was held on the evening of the 1st.  Lash was “ambushed” and “much fun” was had.  Anna Louise Strong also spoke to the troops in the evening with Lash and Merriman.

On the 2nd of July, Merriman formally organized the leadership of the Canadian “company”.  Lieutenant Ron Liversedge is put in charge with Bill Skinner as his Alfarez.   By the end of the day, Liversedge has gone to Merriman to tell him that he is not the man for the job and he returns to the ranks.   In Liversedge’s memoir², he places this “stepping back” as much later in the summer, but clearly Merriman notes that it happened immediately.  Bill Skinner is put in charge of the Canadians and Irving Weissman, who arrived in Spain in June, is being encouraged to step up into leadership.    Hoar relates the story:

And what of Lt. Ronald Liversedge, the first officer of the original No. One Company?  Within a few days after the creation of the Mac-Paps, Liversedge had resigned his commission and returned to the ranks because he refused to adhere to Merriman’s admonition that all officers should eat in the officer’s mess.  Liversedge, said Merriman, was too democratic.¹

Merriman gets interviewed by Anna Louise Strong and focusses on the events of February 23 and 27.   It would be very interesting to see her notes on this interview.   Merriman continues to deal with the loss of the car.  “All is off now”.   This must have been a great disappointment to Merriman who was very peripatetic .    Walter Kolowsky has come back to be a trainer.

Rosenthal

Leon Rosenthal, Fond 545/Opus 6/Delo 566, RGASPI Archives, Moscow.

Merriman notes that the Lincoln Battalion and the Washington Battalion are moving out.  In a small hint of humor, Merriman gathers the men, including the men in Sanidad,  at 10 pm and tells them they are going to the “show”.  Recall that departures for the front typically happened in the middle of the night so the men may have inferred they, too, were going.   When he lets them know it is the movie show, We are from Kronstadt, there is cheering.   They at least would not be going to the front for now.   Ernie Amatniek, however, has been ordered up and he takes  Canadian Leon Rosenthal (whose residence was list as San Francisco) and Samuel Grossner with him to Albacete.

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¹ Victor Hoar, The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, ibid, pg 110-114.

² Ron Liversedge, Mac-Pap, ibid., pg 75-76.

³ Marion Merriman Wachtel and Warren Lerude, American Commander in Spain, ibid., pg 150.