I believe many of the following photos were taken by Bill Williamson during his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War. They are all housed in the National Archives and Library of Canada in the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion Collection. You can find most of these photos online under the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion Collection Arrangement Structure.

I have included the National Archives captions and then a few of my own captions in brackets.

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Flag-bearing man on gangplank.

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Juan Villa [Williamson] and Conchita. (Bill and a militia girl during the first days of war.)

Irun. July 1936. [Group of six posing with rifles].

Irun. July 1936. [Group of six posing with rifles]. (Dolores is on the bottom left)

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Columna Ochandiano. Julio 1936. [Group of women holding rifles].

"How we went to War" [group portrait].

“How we went to War” [group portrait].

July and into August 1936 in Irun [group portrait].

July and into August 1936 in Irun [group portrait]. (Dolores is in the second top row, second from the left.)

Augusto 1936, San Sebastian [two men standing on a street in San Sebastian, Spain].

Augusto 1936, San Sebastian [two men standing on a street in San Sebastian, Spain].

 

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Three comrades - Batallion Perezagoa.

Three comrades – Batallion Perezagoa. (Bill and the Three P’s – Pepi, Pancho Villa and Paco.)

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Asaltos [Guardia Asalto] in our MG.6

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

San Sebastian, Guipuzcoa. Sept. 1936 [young man standing in front of a building].

San Sebastian, Guipuzcoa. Sept. 1936 [young man standing in front of a building]. (Bill in San Sebastian.)

Dolores and Carmen - young communists - Dolores was killed two months later.

Dolores and Carmen – young communists – Dolores was killed two months later.

EWW [Juan Villa]. Fall 1936.

EWW [Juan Villa]. Fall 1936.

Williamson - 2nd from Left. Standing - BTN Perezagua. [the two men identified are posing with five other men; all have rifles in hand].

Williamson – 2nd from Left. Standing – BTN Perezagua. [the two men identified are posing with five other men; all have rifles in hand].

Czech comrade and myself.

Czech comrade and myself.

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Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish War.

Soldier of the Mackenzie - Papineau Batallion in a trench.

Soldier of the Mackenzie – Papineau Batallion in a trench.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish War.

Members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish War.

Western Canada Mackenzie-Papineau before crossing Ebro.

Western Canada Mackenzie-Papineau before crossing Ebro.

First section of Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion crossing Ebro.

First section of Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion crossing Ebro.

Return to Pat [View of grave by tree].

Return to Pat [View of grave by tree].

Spanish Youth Group - June 1939.

Spanish Youth Group – June 1939.

GHC-new-logo-2015The Graphic History Project is a website and publication of short politically relevant graphic histories by comic artists, historians, writers, artists, activists to help inspire resistance and action.

I created a comic based on the story of Bill Williamson. Bill Williamson was born in Winnipeg in 1907 and over the next thirty years participated in some of the most inspiring radical events in Canadian and global history. He was a hobo, a Wobbly, a relief camp worker, a communist, a photographer and the first Canadian to join the republicans in the Spanish Civil War. While travelling around the world as a merchant seaman, he saw a clandestine screening of the film Battleship Potemkin in Sydney, Australia. Inspired by the film’s politics and cinematography, he decided to become a photographer and to try to work with the Russian director, Sergei Eisenstein. While he never made it to the USSR, he did take part in many of the important political movements of his time including the On to Ottawa Trek, the Regina Riot, and the Spanish Civil War.

The Graphic History Project will be published in an anthology called Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle in 2016 with Between the Lines Press. The Graphic History Collective, along with historian Paul Buhle, will edit the anthology which will feature the amazing work of Graphic History Project contributors Althea Balmes, Sam BraddNicole Marie Burton, Sean Carleton, Robin Folvik, Ethan Heitner, Orion Keresztesi, David Lester, Doug Nesbitt, Kara Sievewright, Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, Julia Smith, and Tania Willard.

Bill Williamson: Hobo, Wobbly, Communist, On to Ottawa Trekker, Spanish Civil War Vet, PhotographerPart 1 of Bill Williamson: Hobo, Wobbly, Communist, On to Ottawa Trekker, Spanish Civil War Veteran, Photographer

 


spain23e007151980-v6 Bill Williamson’s Photographs

Some of Bill’s photos of his time in Spain.



Bill-TrainTougher than Jack London

A story of Bill train hopping from Halifax to Sioux Lookout during the Depression.

 



Letter-Aug21_1980-P149Bill’s Spanish Civil War Chronology