David Lomon, the last survivor in Britain* of the International Brigade, died yesterday. He was 94.

A salesman in Hackney, East London, Lomon started his political life battling Oswold Mosley’s Black Shirts. But as the shadow of fascism darkened Europe, he decided to take the next step: ‘I wanted to do something’ … ‘I wanted to fight fascism’ he told Richard Baxell, author of ‘Unlikely Heroes’.

He joined the Young Communist League and, in December 1937, a year after the formation of the British Battalion of the 15th International Brigade, he travelled to Spain. For more than a year, Spanish fascists, with the support of thousands of Italian and German troops, had sought to crush the Spanish republic. But whilst the British and French governments refused to intervene, Lomon joined the more than 2,500 British and Irish citizens who made the trip to offer their bodies on the front line of the fight for democracy and against fascism.

The following spring, he was captured by Italian forces and was held in a concentration camp. Starved, living with rats and brutal guards, Lomon was eventually returned to Britain in a prisoner of war exchange in October 1938.

He died on December the 21st 2012, and will be remembered as one of Britain’s great heroes.

*David Lomon’s death leaves one British volunteer known to be alive: Stan Hilton, who is in a nursing home in Yarrawonga, Australia.

Adam Ramsay

About Adam Ramsay

Adam is Co-Editor of Open Democracy UK and a green activist based in Edinburgh. He co-founded Bright Green in 2010.