MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
Date 18 March 1937.
Time 11.00 to 11.30
3.3O to 5.15.
Present Mr. W.H. Whyard Ernest A. Bell.
Mr. W.H. Whyard said he had called to see whether it was possible for a grant to be made to him from the Spanish Fund to enable him to get to his family who lived at Wavertree, Liverpool.
He said he had been employed as a bus conductor by the London Passenger Transport Board, but had thrown up his job in January last in order to join the International Brigade in Spain. He was a member of the Transport & General Workers' Union, attached to the Leyton (Garage) Branch.
Questioned as to his reasons for going to Spain, and for particulars of the group or organisation under whose auspices he joined the International Brigade, he said that his decision was taken on an impulse. He was not connected with any organisation or group, but made his own way to Paris, where he met three or four others who were also going to Spain. They journeyed to Barcelona together, after which he was posted to the International Brigade which was operating on the Malaga front. He was the only Englishman in the company, the rest of the International force being made up of Germans and Frenchmen. The company went into action soon after his arrival, and after fighting for two days he was blown up and suffered shell shock as a result. The Spanish authorities sent him to a field hospital, after which he was given his rail ticket for England, together with a few pesetas for food on the journey. He had arrived in London practically penniless.
Papers in his possession included a "safe-conduct" pass from the Barcelona authorities; operation instructions issued by the Government Command at Almeria; British Passport which showed his departure from this country on 17 January and arrival into Barcelona on 19 January.
On the suggestion of Mr. Tewson, I took the matter up with the Transport & General Workers' Union, and they, after checking his membership of the Union and finding that his last Union contribution corresponded with his date of departure from this country - agreed to supply him with a single ticket to Liverpool, and 16/- cash, the cost (£2), being borne by their Incidental Fund. The negotiations with the Union took place with their Area No. 1. Office.
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