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Cllr Bob Elliott


Robert S. Elliot was an unemployed miner and prominent member of the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM).

Along with Charlie Woods (see separate entry), he marched in the Tyneside contingent of the NUWM's 1934 Hunger March to London.

In 1931 he was elected as the Communist Councillor for Croft ward on Blyth Council and was re-elected as a Communist Councillor in 1937.

Elliott joined the British Battalion of the International Brigade to fight fascism in Spain and became political commissar, being renowned as a stern disciplinarian. He died of wounds received fighting Franco's fascists at Villainous during the Battle of Brunete in July 1937.

The National Unemployed Workers Movement estimated that of the two thousand volunteers fighting with the International Brigade in Spain, several hundred were members of the NUWM. The NUWM reported that by as early as October 1937 that three members of the National Administration Committee (Executive) had fallen, including Elliot and both Wilf Jobling (a Blaydon-on-Tyne Communist, killed at Jarama in February 1937), and Eric Whalley (a Mansfield Communist killed at Fuentes del Ebro in October 1937). 

Fred Copeman wrote of Bob Elliott “his undying faith in the working class was an inspiration to the whole Battalion. he dies (as) he lived - in the struggle”.

The Bob Elliott Nursing Home in Blyth was named after him in 1986.

Michael Walker

Sources: Memorials of the Spanish Civil War; We refuse to starve in silence – R Croucher; Britons in Spain – W Rust