Jarama Series: Parades in Barcelona

January 5, 2016

In the Jarama Series, The Volunteer Blog will present a series of articles examining the experiences of volunteers in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion from its formation to the Brunete Offensive in July 1937. Articles will focus both on the battalion’s formation as well as on the individuals who served. These articles are intended to provide the reader with a better appreciation of the men and women who made up the first American combat formation in Spain.

Members of the Lincoln Battalion Machine Gun Company on the Jarama Front, Spring 1937. Courtesy of Dave Smith who is holding the staff of the flag.

Members of the Lincoln Battalion Machine Gun Company on the Jarama Front, Spring 1937. Courtesy of Dave Smith who is holding the staff of the flag.

Jarama Series: Parades in Barcelona

The first groups of American volunteers stopped in Barcelona and marched through the streets before moving on to Albacete.  Mahlon F. Perkins, the consul general, reported back to the State Department that a group of about sixty volunteers marching under the American flag stopped under his window and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” A consular official sent down to talk to the group reported that “they had come to fight for their principles.”[1] This first parade took place on January 6, 1937 and was made up of a contingent of volunteers who had sailed aboard the Normandie.  Smaller groups of American volunteers continued to parade in Barcelona over the next few weeks.[2]

The Catalan photographer Agusti Centelles I Ossó was present and documented the parade by American volunteers most of whom left New York aboard the Champlain on January 5, 1937.[3]  The column included members of the Cuban Centuria Antonio Guiteras who marched as part of the American group under their own banner. The Centuria Guiteras will feature in a later post.

The names of the volunteers who sailed aboard the Champlain and who likely appear in Centelles’ photographs include:


Abraham Cohen
William Frait
Walter Benjamin Garland
William Hathaway
George T. Jacob
George Theodore Jacobs
Ernest Carl (Earl) Leppo
Artemo (Jack) Luna
Emilio (Emil) Martinez
John William Parks
Milton Mordecai (Mordecai Gerson) Rappaport
Leopold (Luis) Rivero
Samuel Julian Stember
John Tisa
Julius Toab
LeRoy Walkoff
Harry Wallach
Martin Weiss

Norberto Aldama Borges
Alejamdro Anceaume y Ramos
Rodolfo Ricardo Ramón de Armas y Soto
Norberto Borges Aldama
Alber F. (Adalberto) Delgado
Bienvenido Dominguez
Juan Godoy Leal
Ricardo Gómez y Olivia
Armando González Carrea
Juan Antonio Hernandez y Valor
Eladio Paula Bolaños (under Eladio Ruiz)
Daniel Rivas y Betancourt
Lorenzo Rodriguez
Ángel Rufo


(These individuals may have been Spanish American or picked up as volunteers in error)

William Lewis Banks (believed to be a duplicate of John Parks above)
Faustino A. G. y Fernandez
Ricardo Ereaua
Fernando Sabas Manuel y Rodriguez
Rolando Rodriguez

Click on the thumbnails for the full size photograph:

parades 1 parades3
parades4 parades5

[1] Cecil Eby, Between the Bullet and the Lie, pp. 1-2 ; The U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, located on Paseo de Reina Elisenda de Montcada, was established in 1797.

[2] Eby indicates that smaller groups of Americans paraded: Sixteen on January 7, Forty on January 17, and Eighteen on January 18.

[3] Agusti Centelles I Ossó (1909-1985) many of his photographs of the American contingent can be found online. The Champlain is listed as sailing on January 5, 1937 though other sources note the departure date as January 3. Centelles’ photographs of the Americans on parade are normally cited as having been taken on January 16, 1937.


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