National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Memorial to Welsh Volunteers in Spanish Civil War


Type Marker , War Memorial

     Large block of granite with two bronze plaques attached. Both plaques have inscriptions; on one of the plaques is a sculptured design representing an olive tree growing from the International Brigade emblem with a dove of peace in flight and below it the words of farewell spoken in October 1938 to the International Brigaders in Barcelona on their departure from Spain for home by Dolores Ibarruri, La Pasionaria. The plaque on the front of the memorial bears in English and Welsh the dedication to the Welsh International Brigaders. The inscription in Welsh from the bard and pacifist, T.E. Nicholas, translates as 'That the earth might be free.'
     The memorial was initiated by the Mid Glamorgan and South Glamorgan County Councils and Cardiff City Council. It was unveiled in October 1992 by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff in the presence of councillors, surviving Welsh Brigaders, their relatives and friends, and national representatives of the International Brigade Association. 169 Welsh volunteers served, 33 of whom lost their lives.
     Spain elected a Popular Front Government in February 1936. Franco attempted to overthrow this by force with an attack on Madrid in November 1936. News of the military help to Franco from Hitler and Mussolini and the resistance of the people of Madrid and Barcelona fired a widespread wish to help the Republic and its people. Food, medical supplies and money were collected but others chose to travel to Spain and fight the fascists. Around 2,400 volunteered from the British Isles although exact figures are unknown. They became the International Brigade in the Republican Army. The Brigaders left Spain in 1938 but Franco's fascists achieved military victory in March 1939.


Raised letters on bronze plaque: DEDICATED TO THE WELSH / VOLUNTEERS FOR LIBERTY / WHO DEFENDED DEMOCRACY / IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR / I GOHO'R CYMRY A AETH / I SBAEN / 1936 - 1938 / No one can be free till all are free / -Herbert Spencer 1820-1903 / Dros ryddid daear / -T.E. Nicholas 1878-1971 Raised letters on bronze plaque: You are history. You are legend. You are the / heroic example of democracy's solidarity and / universality. We shall not forget you, and / when the olive tree of peace puts forth its / leaves again - Come back! / La Pasionaria, Madrid 1938.

Related works : Other memorials in Wales are at the village hall, Penygroes; in the foyer of Aberdare Central Library and in the Rhondda Council building, Pentre. The Welsh national memorial is in the South Wales Miners' Library at Hendrefoilan House, Swansea.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Known, Not ---

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Memorial Granite 198cm high x 80cm wide
Two plaques Bronze 78cm high x 50cm wide

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Metallic staining
Structural condition
  • None
  • Structural damage
Road Alexandra Gardens
Precise location Near Welsh National War Memorial
A-Z ref 30 2A
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1992
Unveiling details October 1992
Commissioned by Mid Glamorgan & South Glamorgan County Councils and Cardiff City Council
Duty of care None
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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