The last surviving Scot to have fought in the Spanish Civil War has passed away in an Edinburgh care home at the age of 87. Steve Fullarton was one of several hundred Glaswegians who travelled to Spain to fight the Fascists led by General Franco. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve in a commemoration of the Battle of the Ebro three years ago, I was struck by his immense fortitude and good humour staying chipper and cheery despite a gruelling sun beating down on us throughout the lengthy ceremonies and speeches.
The contribution of the International Brigades to the fight against Fascism in the 1930's was one of the greatest examples of International working class Soldarity of all time. Volunteers from 52 countries came to the assistance of Spain's government forces who were facing defeat by the fascists of General Franco. Among the International Brigades were several thousand British, among those around 500 Scots and a high proportion of those Glaswegians - like Steve Fullarton who travelled to Spain from his home in Shelttleston at the age of 18. Speaking in 2003, he said: "I was angry at what I saw in the newsreels, the bombing in Spain, so it was a short step for me to go from collecting food to volunteer for the International Brigades and that is how I became involved."Steve was shot in the leg during the battle of Ebro but recovered. He passed away at the age of 87 on Friday. However, 65 of his fellow Glaswegians perished in Spain fighting a war they believed was between right and wrong, between democracy and totalitarianism.
The statue of the Republican heroine Dolores Ibarruri or La Pasionaria stands at Glasgow's Custom House Quay. As the last of the International Brigade left Barcelona, she bade them farewell and thanked them for their efforts. She said "You can go with pride. You are history. You are legend...we will not forget you."
Comrade Fullarton's funeral will take place in Edinburgh on Friday.