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Smith Ted

Ted Smith

Ted Smith was born in 1914 in Hampstead. A retired electrician he recalled his time in the International Brigade when interviewed in 1996:
 
“All my family were Communists. When people were beginning to go to Spain, I wanted to go, but my brother-in-law, a printer, he went, and my family said: `Don’t go yet. Hang on for a bit.’ Well, he was killed, so my family said, `You can go now.’ So I made my way - but I married first, as I thought, if I got captured she could claim my body. I eventually went out with a pack weighing about 20kg full of food and cigarettes for people."
"I met a number of comrades in Paris and a bunch of Americans, boys virtually, stowaways who’d come to join the International Brigade. I always remember the ticket collector saying `Bonne chance’, as we got on the train to go south. When we got there we started to climb into the Pyrenees. They were city boys, not mountain folk, and one of them collapsed. We had to carry him, which was a bit annoying, because when he got to the other side he decided he didn’t want to go."
 
"In Spain, I joined the transmissions unit. We had to run telephone wires out to each unit, which was all right as long as there wasn’t an attack on; otherwise, shells would break your lines and you had to go out to repair them."
 
"What we say is that we were’n’t defeated, because subsequently we carried on the war and fascism was defeated. It was in some ways a waste of life for what we call good militant people in this country, but nevertheless it rallied the world against fascism."
 
Transcribed by Michael Walker;
Source: Independent on Sunday 21st July 1996