Worthing five honoured for 'idealism'

FIVE Worthing men who fought in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s have been honoured at a special ceremony.

Tom Elliott, Chris Thornycroft, James Jump, Frederick Cronshaw and Edmond Updale all joined the International Brigade in 1936 and 1937 to fight in Spain against General Francisco Franco's fascist takeover.

A plaque honouring the men was unveiled at the Labour Hall in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, on Saturday, July 14.

Around 150 people packed into the hall to hear tributes to the men from family members and other veterans of the International Brigade, including celebrated trade unionist and pensioners' rights campaigner, Jack Jones.

Joy Hurcombe, who thanked Tory cabinet member Paul High for his help arranging the plaque. Council leader Keith Mercer watched from the audience.

There were also poetry readings and a display of Spanish dance by members of Helena's Flamenco School.

Worthing mayor Heather Mercer joined with Veronica Cousins, niece of Tom Elliott, to unveil the plaque and a print of a Picasso painting depicting a dove of peace surrounded by flowers.

Mr Elliott was branch secretary of Worthing Labour Party. He died at Jarama, Spain, in June, 1937, aged 28.

Mrs Cousins, attending with her sister, Theresa, said they were "very proud and honoured" to be at the unveiling, adding: "We are proud because our mother's brother was brave enough to give his life for a cause he believed in."

Bill Thornycroft, brother of Chris, spoke of the hidden story behind the International Brigade, and of the efforts of the Communist Party and other extreme left parties to promote the aid movement.

He said: "I'm proud of them and we should honour their idealism instead of trying to suppress it."

Also present was Jim Jump, son of James Jump.

The senior Mr Jump was a reporter on the Worthing Herald when he volunteered after falling in love with a Spanish woman who fled with Basque refugees and was homed at Beach House, Worthing.

Jim Jump, 57, a freelance journalist, said: "It's tremendous to see Worthing honouring its history.

"It's a very moving occasion for me to be here and see my father honoured in this way."

He added that they were just young men and it had been "extraordinary times".

Joy said afterwards she was thrilled by the turnout on what was an "amazing" day.

"It's the only place in Worthing where the volunteers are actually honoured."

She added nothing was known of Frederick Cronshaw or Edmond Updale. Call Herald reporter Chris Taylor on 01903 282366 or email chris.taylor@worthingtoday.co.uk if you have any information.