Harry Dobson (SWCC/PHO/SCW/14)

Spanish Civil War

The South Wales Coalfield Collection includes a significant collection of materials relating to the Spanish Civil War and the part played by Welsh volunteers, many of whom were politically active miners from the south Wales coalfield. It also contains material about the reaction of and support given by some mining communities to the Republican cause.

The South Wales Coalfield Collection is split between the Richard Burton Archives and the South Wales Miners Library, with each location holding different items relating to the Spanish Civil War.

Richard Burton Archives:

  • Postcards, letters and other correspondence between individuals and organisations
  • Photographs of individuals and groups involved in the conflict, including Basque child refugees
  • Minute books and other documents containing reaction to the conflict by organisations such as the South Wales Miners' Federation
  • Leaflets and handbills
  • Memoirs 
  • Scrapbooks, cartoons and other miscellaneous items

South Wales Miners' Library:

  • Oral histories
  • Books and magazines
  • Pamphlets
  • Posters
  • Video interviews and other footage

For a detailed guide to the material relating to the Spanish Civil War please contact the Archives.

Harry Dobson

This photograph of Harry Dobson was put up by the Cambrian Combine Workmen and friends as a token of their esteem for his 'Supreme Sacrifice for Democracy'. Harry Dobson was one of the many Welshmen who joined the International Brigages to fight against the rise of fascism in the Spanish Civil War. He was killed at the battle of Ebro River in July 1938, just over a year after he had arrived in Spain.

The Archives also hold one of his letters sent from Spain in 1937. His letter records that the postal service is not reliable, but that 'this is only to be expected as things cannot run smoothly in a war'. He initially asks that nothing be sent, but then relents and agrees to a packet of woodbines being included with the next letter sent to him.