Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bury Trade Union Council to Seek to Commemorate Spanish Civil War Hero

BURY Trade Union Council has now decided to continue to research the case of Joe Fillingham from Bury, who was killed at Teruel during the Spanish Civil War fighting with the International Brigade on the side of the democratically elected Republican Government.  The intention is to have a plaque or other form of tribute placed in some public place within the town.  The project is in its early stages.

In the Autumn of 2009, the Bury Branch of Unite the Union first investigated the possibility of a blue plaque to pay tribute to Joe Fillingham and did some initial research.  At that time a letter was sent to the Bury Times requesting information about Joe from anyone who may have knowledge about him.  We reproduce the contents of that letter below:
6th, November 2009.
Dear Sir,
Joe Fillingham from Bury was killed at Teruel in the North of Spain while serving in the International Brigade on the 20th, January 1938.  He had gone to Spain in August 1937 to defend the democratically elected Spanish republican government that was facing a military rebellion by some Spanish Generals.  He served in the Major Attlee company and was made a Sergeant in December 1937.
Joe had been a member of Bury Trades' Council Executive Committee and the General & Municipal Workers' Union, and often wrote letters to the Bury Times on the Spanish Civil War.  A report commemorating his death appeared in the Bury Times and an obituary appeared in the Daily Worker:  he had been a member of the Communist Party.
Bury Unite the Union Branch, the National Clarion Cycling Club 1895, and local members of the International Brigade Memorial trust are considering applying for a blue plaque to commemorate Joe Fillingham's contribution to the struggle for democracy in the 1930s.  The house where he lived still exists.  can anyone who has any knowledge of Joe, please contact us to ascertain more facts to support this application?
Yours faithfully,
Brian Bamford.
The Bury Branch of Unite the Union is affiliated to Bury Trade Union Council and now supports its application to commemoration Joe Fillingham.

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