Spanish Civil War: Search for descendants

English nurses working at Polenino on the Aragon front
English nurses working at Polenino on the Aragon front

By Andrew Atkinson

A search for descendants of Bertha Dickinson, a volunteer Nurse working for the Republican Government during the Spanish Civil War, is underway – 83 years on.

“Bertha Dickinson departed England for Spain in late 1936, returning in 1938, escorting another nurse named Penny Phelps who was in ill health,” Terry Bayes told me.

Bertha was born in Preston, Lancashire, and Terry said: “I know she went to Spain, as she has a single line entry in the Moscow Archives of Volunteers.

“They served the Democratic elected Government, in their fight against Fascism, lead by Franco.

“If I can obtain any information of her career in Spain, I will apply to Preston Trades Union for a commemorative plaque, similar to the one in the Peace Garden for a fellow Preston lass Mary Slater.”

Terry added: “My enquiries have taken me to Spain, Canada and America – without success – although I am determined that the memory of Bertha will not be lost in our local history.

“I am hoping to try and locate a pay list for nurses, which was located at Benicassim during the Civil War, of which information should indicate her location.”


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