Weʼre raising £6,500 to fund a memorial for the men from Stockton on Tees who volunteered to defend democracy & fight fascism in Spain from 1936 to 1939.
- Stockton on Tees, Teesside
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**PICTURE IS NOT THE FINAL IMAGE, NAMES TO BE CONFIRMED**
I'm not sure that anything has moved me as much as The Young'uns The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff which tells the tale of Johnny who was born in Stockton in 1919 and was raised by his grandmother.
During the Great Depression he begged for bread on the streets and outside the factory gates in the town, hoping the workers had saved anything from their lunch boxes for the starving kids waiting outside.
At the age of 14, he got a job in the steel rolling mills working 12 hours a day but an industrial accident left burns on his hands and back - and after weeks in hospital, he discovered his job had gone to someone else.
Out of work and too young to claim dole, he joined the hunger marchers leaving the North-east and walking 240 miles to London and sleeping rough on the Embankment when he got there.
Meeting Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany led him to oppose the rise of fascism in Britain, most significantly in 1936 at Cable Street in London’s east end, where a march by Oswald Mosley and his followers was forced back.
Johnny then joined up to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, he was wounded on several occasions and even temporarily blinded. The Second World War saw him sign up again and fight in Africa and Italy and being awarded the bronze star during World War II.
The inequality he witnessed in London changed the way he saw the world. He campaigned for equality and justice for the rest of his life.
Johnny died in 2000 and is buried in Somerset and I and many others want a memorial for Johnny and the other men of Stockton on Tees who volunteered to defend democracy and fight fascism in Spain from 1936 to 1939.
The Brigaders I know of so far are -
George Bright - Thornaby
William Henry Carson - Stockton
Wilfred Cowan - Stockton
Otto Estensen - Thornaby
Joseph Myles Harding - Thornaby
John Eddy Longstaff - Stockton (Johnny's son Duncan is a mine of information)
Patrick Joseph Maroney - Stockton
Bert Overton - Stockton
If you have any information or can point me in any directions I need to be, please share.
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