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Volunteer of the Week: Margaret Crang

Margaret Crang

Margaret Crang was a lawyer and politician who played a small but well-publicised part in the Republican effort. In 1933, at the age of 23, Crang became one of the youngest people ever elected to Edmonton City Council. Her left-wing politics took her to Europe in September 1936, where she was representing the Albertan wing of the League Against War and Fascism at the Universal Peace Conference. After the conference, she traveled to Spain, and visited milicianas at the front, where she “proudly...fired two shots for the government side” (Edmonton Journal).

Volunteers of the Week: Gordon and Archibald Keenan

Gordon Keenan and Archibald Keenan were brothers from Cumberland, British Columbia. They likely traveled to Spain together, and fought with the Mackenzie Papineau Battalion. Gordon was killed in action on July 30, 1938 during the Ebro Offensive. Archibald was wounded in action but survived. He was accused of deserting in October 1938 (around the time most International Brigades volunteers were sent home), and he returned to Canada soon after. Both brothers are commemorated with a plaque at the family cemetery plot in Cumberland.

Volunteer of the Week: James Cameron

James Cameron

James Cameron was a Scottish Canadian who lived in Vancouver. He was an organizer in the Fisherman’s Union. In April 1938, he was shot in the ankle, and fell behind as Republican forces were retreating. He evaded the enemy for eleven weeks, but was eventually taken prisoner and sent to San Pedro de Cardeña. He was held in five different prisons, and released in April 1940, but was not allowed to return to Canada. He eventually settled in London, after working for several years in the Merchant Marine.

Volunteer of the week: Tomo Cacic

Our volunteer of the week is Tomo Čačić. Čačić was arrested and imprisoned alongside Canadian Communist leaders during the early 1930s. He was deported, and was shifted around Europe until he settlef for 3 years in Moscow. He fought in Spain and ended up in a refugee camp in France at the end of the war. He eventually returned to his home country of Yugoslavia.

Hear Čačić's full story on our podcast

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Volunteer of the Week: Edgar Lemke

Our volunteer of the week is Edgar Lemke, born in Russia in 1883. He served in the anti-Bolshevik British Expeditionary Force to North Russia before moving to Canada in 1924. A member of the Co-operative Commonwealt Federation in Canada, he joined the Communist Party of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Lemke spoke English, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and Norwegian, and spent much of the war acting as a translator and secretary for various units, including the Mac Paps and a Russian armoured unit.

Volunteer of the Week: Franjo Koscic

Our volunteer of the week is Franjo Koscic, who was born in Croatia in 1902. Koscic served in the Royal Yugoslav Navy for two years, and was a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia before immigrating to Canada in 1925. He served in anti-tank and artillery battalions in Spain, where he was wounded in action. He returned to Canada after the war, and died in Rijeka, Yugoslavia in 1968.

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