Briton who fought against Franco's fascists dies, aged 94

International Brigades member was the last British-based survivor of Spanish Civil War

The last surviving British-based member of the International Brigades, who fought General Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War, has died aged 94.

David Lomon was a 19-year-old rag-and-bone man in east London when he decided to join around 2,500 others from the British Isles in volunteering to fight for the left-wing Republican forces in Spain. Born into a Jewish family in the working class borough of Hackney, he signed up for the International Brigades after clashing with Oswald Mosley's black shirts at the Battle of Cable Street in London's East End in 1936.

Like many others, Mr Lomon, then a member of the Young Communist League, had to be recruited in secret. He first visited an office in London before travelling to Paris to be tested for his "suitability" for the volunteer force. After passing tests he travelled across the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain by night, while avoiding border patrols and Franco's forces.

Over the course of the war some 35,000 men and women from around the world volunteered to fight Franco's fascists. They included the writers George Orwell and Laurie Lee, and the trade union leader Jack Jones.

Mr Lomon fought in the battle of Teruel and in the Aragon offensive, where republicans faced overwhelming odds. Franco's forces were equipped with 950 aeroplanes, 200 tanks and more than 100,000 troops provided by Mussolini.

But on 31 March 1938 he was captured and subjected to beatings by guards, starvation rations and verminous conditions. Almost one in five of the hundreds captured did not survive. Eventually, he was freed after a prisoner-of-war exchange in 1938 for Italian captives held in Britain.

Mr Lomon served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War before returning to the textile industry and living in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.

He continued to attend International Brigades ceremonies. In March last year he was present for the unveiling of a new plaque at the memorial to volunteers in Jubilee Gardens on London's South Bank.

"He was very modest and unassuming," said Jim Jump, secretary of the International Brigade Memorial Trust.

He added: "He had a conventional life when he returned. He was not the type to boast about what he did. He was a lovely man: very polite; a classic English gentleman."

Mr Lomon passed away in Slough, Berkshire, on Friday. His death leaves just one living British volunteer – Stan Hilton, who lives in a nursing home in Australia.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern