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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Volunteer of the Week - Mykhailo Hondorf

Our volunteer of the week is Mykhailo Hondorf, a Ukrainian-Canadian from Montreal who was born circa 1915. A member of the Young Communist League, Hondorf was one of the 165 passengers, including 65 international volunteers, who died when the Ciudad de Barcelona was torpedoed on 30 May 1937. The Ciudad de Barcelona was sailing from Marseille to Spain when it was attacked by an Italian submarine and sank in just a few minutes.

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Volunteer of the Week: Thomas "Pop" Cochrane

Our volunteer of the week is Thomas “Pop” Cochrane, of Windsor, Ontario, and Belfast, Ireland. Cochrane was the oldest Canadian volunteer, born 12 October, 1885. He was married and was the father of 6 children.

Cochrane worked as an auto worker and electrician in Windsor. He was a member of the Communist Party of Canada, an organizer with the National Unemployed Association, and a member of the Canadian Labour Defence League.

Volunteer of the Week: Florence Pike

In honour of International Women's Day, our volunteer of the week is Florence (Tew) Pike, a nurse who joined the Communist Party of Canada in January 1937. In addition to her training as a nurse at Toronto Western Hospital, Pike also studied public health at McGill University. Pike was one of two Canadian women who officially joined the International Brigades, and she was head nurse at an English hospital near Albacete from September 1937. She left Spain for the United Kingdom due to illness, and worked as a civilian nurse in London during World War II.


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