George and Nan Green
NanGreen was born in Nottinghamin 1904 and was brought up in Beeston and then Birmingham.
Nan Green worked for Spanish Aid in London. Her husband, George Green, served with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Nan Green also went to Spain in 1937 and served for a year under Len Crome (see separate entry), chief medical officer of the 4th Army. George, a cellist, moved to London from Stockport, because he had been able to find employment in the Manchester area. Both he and Nan were politically active, initially in the Labour Party, but later became members of the Communist Party.
Picture: a concert at a hospital in Huerte, south east of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. Paying the cello is George Green and Nan stands behind him playing the accordion. Below: Nan Green
At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, George volunteered to drive an ambulance to Spain, to help the Republican cause. He was accompanied by Wogan Phillips, later a Communist member of the House of Lords. When Phillips was wounded and had to go back to Britain, he asked Nan if she could go out to Spain and work in a hospital, as they were desperately short of staff. Phillips paid for the education and maintenance of her children at Summerhill school.
Sadly, George was killed at the Battle of Ebro on September 23 1938. It was the very last day that the International Brigades fought the fascists.
It wasn’t until some months later that Nan learned that he’d been killed. The following year, Nan went with a ship-load of Spanish refugees to Mexico and finally returned to Britain in 1939.
After the world war, Nan joined the peace movement, helping to organise the famous peace conference in Sheffield. Later, she was invited to Peking as a Spanish translator in an international peace conference. There she was then offered a job helping to run an English-language magazine and stayed there during the 1950s.
In the early 1960s, she returned to London, having separated from her second husband and got an editorial job with Lawrence and Wishart. She later became Secretary of the International Brigade Association. After she died, in 1984, her ashes were taken to Spain to be scattered on the soil where George has his unknown grave.
Nan Green `A Chronicle of Small Beer’, Trent Editions; Jim Fyrth and Sally Alexander Women's Voices from the Spanish Civil War, editors (1991)
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