Postcard from... Malaga
In China Mao-Tse-Tung's essay in praise of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, who died of septicaemia whilst tending wounded Communist soldiers in 1939, was required reading in primary schools in the 1960s. And now in Spain, where Bethune saved dozens, if not hundreds, of lives during one of the Civil War's most terrible massacres, the doctor's own memoirs of those events have finally made it into print.
Bethune, a dedicated Communist who invented the world's first mobile blood transfusion unit, volunteered for medical service in Spain in the earliest days of the Civil War in 1936. He and his transfusion unit, with enough supplies for 100 operations, then worked with the 150,000 refugees systematically machine-gunned by Italian and German fighter planes as they fled on the single road running along the Mediterranean coast after the city had fallen to Nationalist troops in early 1937.
Bethune's chilling written account of how the planes bullets' "weaved intricate geometric patterns amongst the lines of refugees" has now been published for the first time in Spanish, under the title Las Heridas [The Wounds].
Also included is his account as a volunteer military surgeon in China, where he later worked as a civilian and he is buried in the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in China, and where the Norman Bethune medal remains the highest medical honour annual awarded by the Chinese government. The publication of Las Heridas may well make the man a little better known in Spain, too.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...