Volunteer of the Week - William "Bill" Halliwell

The volunteer of the week is Bill Halliwell/Hallowell. Born in the UK in 1894, Halliwell was a member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and served in the British Army for six years, including his time in the First World War. He came to Canada in July 1929, living in Edmonton and Vancouver. He arrived in Spain in March 1937. In Spain, Halliwell served with the Lincolns as adjutant commander at Brunete and the Mac-Paps as a Lieutenant and an instructor. He was wounded in action at Brunete and Belchite, and returned to Canada in September 1938.

Volunteer of the Week: Daniel Markowski

Daniel Markowski (David/Don Marfromski) was a French Canadian and Polish volunteer from Val d'Or, Quebec. He worked in a Medical Unit and the Auto Park in Spain. 

He may have been a member of the Communist Party of Canada at some point, but the International Brigades' records stated that he should not be allowed to join the party. He was accused of deserting twice, and the International Brigades disciplinary company recommended that he be shot. But this recommendation was not taken up, and he survived and returned to Canada in the winter of 1939. He died in in 1981.

Volunteer of the Week - Liudes Kisielis

The Winnipeg General Strike began 100 years ago today when 30,000 workers walked off the job. One Spanish Civil War volunteer, a Lithuanian-Canadian miner, brickmaker, and farm worker named Liudes "Louis" Kisielis, said he participated. Kisielis was born in 1902, likely in Pasodas, Lithuania, and though our records say he immigrated to Canada in 1928, it's possible that like many other volunteers he moved between Canada and Europe several times. Further complicating the timeline of Kisielis' life, his files say he served with the Lithuanian Army in 1924.

Volunteer of the Week - James MacGregor

The volunteer of the week is James MacGregor. Born in Doune, Scotland in 1903, MacGregor lived in Vancouver and worked as a miner, railroad worker, and salesman. MacGregor was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, joined a Socialist Party in 1917, was active in relief camp strikes in Canada, and joined the Communist Party of Spain in 1938. He travelled to Spain in October 1937 and fought with the Mac-Paps, serving at Teruel, Gandesa, and the Ebro. He was WIA at Teruel and Gandesa and returned to Canada in May 1939 aboard the Duchess of Richmond. He died in Vancouver in 1967.

Volunteer of the Week: Janos Gal

Janos Gal was a Hungarian-born Canadian from Lethbridge, Alberta. He only a spoke limited English. In Canada, he was a member of the Communist Party and the Workers' Defence League, and was active in workers' action during the 1930s. In Spain, he served in the Rakoski Battalion, fighting at Saragossa, Extramadura, Caspe and Tardentia. He was wounded in action twice, in August 1937 and March 1938, but he survived the war. He returned to Canada in February of 1939 and eventually returned to live in Hungary.

Volunteer of the Week: Sverge Edwardsen

Sverge "Eddie" Edwardsen of Winnipeg and Telemark, Norway, was a jeweller, a cook, and a Communist Party organizer. He immigrated to Canada in 1925, and was involved in many strikes and demonstrations. He held many different roles in Spain, including publicity director and kitchen staff. During the war, he was wounded in action, hospitalized, reported missing in action twice, but ultimately survived to return to Canada in 1939.

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Volunteer of the Week: William Brennan

The volunteer of the week is William Brennan of Toronto. Born in 1917, he served on the National Bureau of the Communist Party from 1933, and worked as a plasterer. His account of the Battle of Brunete was included in the Book of the XV Brigade.  While recovering from a wound, Brennan worked with the Historical Commission of the International Brigades in Albacete, the organization which collected much of the information we have about the volunteers.


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