Civil war vet­er­ans re­u­nited

Clock turned back to 1937

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton

A very rare and “frag­ile” 1937 Span­ish Civil War cal­en­dar has trav­elled to Canada to be re­u­nited with the last sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary POUM party.

Wil­liam Krehm, who cel­e­brated his 105th birth­day in Novem­ber, is the now care­taker of the mu­seum piece and was once a worker for the Par­tido Obrero de Unifi­ca­cion Marx­ista (Work­ers’ Party of Marx­ist Uni­fi­ca­tion).

Cel­e­brated Bri­tish au­thor Ge­orge Or­well fought with the POUM mili­tia dur­ing the con­flict, writ­ing Homage to Cat­alo­nia as a record of his ex­pe­ri­ences.

And Wil­liam, who was a pub­li­cist for the party in Barcelona, ac­tu­ally met Or­well dur­ing the civil war.

Javea res­i­dent Bill Daysh do­nated the cal­en­dar – il­lus­trated by the renowned artist Sim - to the Across Madrid col­lec­tion and its di­rec­tor Dr Alum­dena Cros sent it to Canada after meet­ing Wil­liam’s son Jonathan who had con­tacted her to take the Span­ish Civil War tour.

The his­to­rian con­tacted Bill to say: “It has ended up in Canada in the hands of the last sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the POUM, Wil­liam Krehm, who turned 105.

“His son con­tacted me to take the Span­ish Civil War tour and men­tioned in pass­ing that his dad was still alive...I could not be­lieve it! And, the story gets bet­ter be­cause Wil­liam ac­tu­ally worked as a pub­li­cist for the POUM in Cat­alo­nia and met Ge­orge Or­well. This is an in­cred­i­ble co­in­ci­dence.


“His son knows that when Wil­liam leaves us, the cal­en­dar is to be re­turned to Spain and we will think of a good mu­seum that wants it. For the time be­ing, it is in the best pos­si­ble place.”

Bill said it was a mys­tery how the cal­en­dar came to his fam­ily in the UK. His fa­ther, Lieu­tenant Charles Ge­orge Daysh served in the Royal Navy.

He said the cal­en­dar, ‘Al­manaque de La Revolu­cion Es­pana’, was printed on parch­ment and had sur­vived the Blitz on the naval base at Portsmouth dur­ing the Sec­ond World War “and my child­hood” but how it came into his fa­ther’s pos­ses­sion re­mained a mys­tery – he took charge of it after the death of his fa­ther in 1960.

Bill, who also served in the se­nior ser­vice, told CB­News: “I hadn’t re­alise the Royal Navy was in­volved in cruis­ing up and down the east coast of Spain at the time of the rev­o­lu­tion – ac­tu­ally watch­ing other navies fir­ing shells at what other side it was but did not in­ter­vene.

“I think that’s what Dad was do­ing here in Spain, I have ev­i­dence of him be­ing here again in 1938 but I can­not find on which ship. I don’t know whether the cal­en­dar came from Barcelona or if a Royal Navy ship put in there.”

The cal­en­dar was il­lus­trated by Jose Luis Rey Vila who used the pseu­do­nym Sim, ap­par­ently after his girl­friend Si­mona. He left Spain after the civil war and died in Paris in 1983.

Slo­gans on each month of the year are writ­ten in Span­ish, Eng­lish and French; per­haps aimed at in­ter­na­tional vol­un­teers or an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence.

Wil­liam Krehm with his son Jonathan

Lieu­tenant Charles Ge­orge Daysh

The cal­en­dar's cover

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