The Canadian Military Heritage Project - Spanish Civil War. Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the XVth International Brigade of the Spanish Republican Army. Find your military ancestors and learn their history.
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Guide to Finding a Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada (Ontario) will help genealogists find their Loyalist ancestor. Explanations are given for each of the set of records available for research. The reader will learn how to manoeuver through the more challenging obscure records.

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SPANISH CIVIL WAR

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a military rising originating in Morocco, headed by General Francisco Franco.

Over twelve hundred Canadian soldiers supporting Republican Spain took part in the Spanish Civil War to defend the Spanish Republic against the military rebellion led by General Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. These men created a unique military unit: the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the XVth International Brigade of the Spanish Republican Army: 'the Mac-Paps.'

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade (The Lincolns) fought alongside approximately 35,000 anti-fascists from fifty-two countries. In keeping with Popular Front culture, the Americans named their units the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, the George Washington Battalion, and the John Brown Battery. Together with the British, Irish, Canadian, and other nationals they formed the Fifteenth In- ternational Brigade.

The International Brigade consisted of, for example, US volunteers in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, German volunteers in the Thaelmann Battalion, and Canadians in the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion. The International Brigades were 40,000 strong coming from 52 countries

When the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion arrived in Spain it was incorporated into the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. Later it became part of the 15th International Brigade.

The battalion first saw action at Fuentes de Ebro on 13th October 1937. In this offensive 60 were killed and 200 were wounded. The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion also took part in the battles at Teruel in December 1937 and Ebro in July 1938. By the end of the Spanish Civil War almost half of the Canadian volunteers had been killed.

Some 16,000 gave their lives fighting fascism. The contingents were approximtely

  • France, 10,000
  • Germany, 5,000
  • Poland, 4,000
  • Italy, 3,500
  • U.S. and Britain, 2,500 each
  • Belgium, 1700
  • Czechoslovakia, 1,500
  • Canada, 1,200
  • Yugoslavia, 1,200
  • Latin America, 1,000
  • Hungary, 1,000
  • Scandinavia, 1,000
  • Holland, 600
  • Switzerland, 400

An International Non-Intervention Committee, and the Foreign Enlistment Act prohibiting travel to Spain cut down on relief troops for the International Brigade. In October 1938 the International Brigade was withdrawn from combat and disbanded. The financial problem of getting home to Canada was solved by two private citizens.

Search the roster of Canadians in the MacKenzie Papineau Battalion

Visit Other Sites
Overview
Timeline
House of Commons Private Members Business MACKENZIE-PAPINEAU BATTALION
Selected Reading List Brandeis University Libraries
Posters
Canadians in the Spanish Civil War
Abraham Lincoln Brigade (includes info on Canadian participation)
Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
International Brigades
The Spanish Revolution & Civil War
Spanish Civil War Index from Canadian Forces College
Spanish Civil War Collections at University of Toronto National Library of Canada Special Collections
Memorials for the Mac-Paps
The Spanish Revolution & Civil War
Read the Books
CANADIAN VOLUNTEERS: Spain, 1936-1939 by W.C. Beeching
The Gallant Cause - Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936 - 1939 Mark Zuehlke

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

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Got Canadian Ancestors? Check out Canadian Military Records Online
Got Canadian Military Ancestors?
For those seeking military ancestors in Canada, Ancestry has some really great (and obscure!) records that I bet not many genealogists are aware of. I recently found some great information on a few of my ancestors in thees databases. The one that thrilled me the most was a record for my 3rd great grandfather John Greenlees. I found him recorded as 

Name: John Greenless Age: 23
Birth Date: abt 1782 Birth Place: Fermanagh [Ireland]
Military Date: 7 May 1805 Unit: 54th Foot Soldiers
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Class Number: WO 25; Class Title: 54 Foot; Piece Number: 420; Piece Title: 54 Foot.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 

This record gave his height, hair and eye colour and more! Here is the complete list of Canadian (and British) military records on Ancestry for those who may want to give them a quick look.


Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918Military598,682

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900Military467,838

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882Military375,748

Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961Military68,047

Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922Military1,609,017

Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948Military71,052

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919Military56,567

Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850Military752,886

Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835Military24,789

Canada, Militia and Defence Forces Lists, 1832, 1863-1939Military79,630

Canada, Ledgers of CEF Officers Transferring to Royal Flying Corps, 1915-1919Military1,210

The Loyalists in OntarioStories, Memories & Histories418

Canada, South African War Land Grants, 1908-1910Military7,143

Canada, British Navy Ship Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1757-1836Military176,551

United Empire Loyalists, Parts I-IIStories, Memories & Histories22,456

Canada, British Army Regimental Rolls of Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1806-1892Military30,396

Canada, Registers of Prisoners of War, 1803-1815Military56,505

Old United Empire Loyalists ListImmigration & Travel6,353

Canada, Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914-1918Military102

Canada, Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945Military100

Canada, Pension Applications For Widows and Family of British Military Officers, 1776-1881Military843

Your ancestors' names may be waiting for you!

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