Published: Class Struggle,, Vol. 7, No. 4 April, 1983
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Tom Murray, Lothian and Fife Group International Brigade Association Chairman, died on 9th February, aged 82. I first met Tom in Paris in 1938 en route for Spain. He made a lasting impression on me with his self discipline and dedication to the cause. Always ready with good advice, I suppose I saw him as a father figure as he was then more than twice my age. We were together until we reached Spain after crossing the Pyrenees and in so doing, Tom practically carried another comrade whose legs seemed to have lost their power soon after we started the climb.
Tom became Commissar of the Machine Gun Company of the British Battalion. He took his duties seriously and by his exemplary conduct was an inspiration to all. When the rest of us could scarcely find enough water to drink, what little Tom found was also used for washing and shaving every day. When I was in a forward position with No.1 Company in front of hill 481 and had little to eat for a week, Tom appeared one morning carrying a small barrel of lukewarm coffee for us. He left it and went back at great personal risk over open terrain and under fire and returned with a sack containing bread and cigarettes. We lost touch during the 1939-45 war; he became Organiser with the Fire Brigades Union and I joined the RAF. He was active in his local Community Association and played a large part in having the houses and the area where he lived, upgraded.
It was about this time, 1975-76 that he and the late Councillor Don Renton got in touch with some of us Brigaders with a view to commemorating the local volunteersí part in the war in Spain. The outcome was the setting up of two Memorials, one in Kirkcaldy and one in Edinburgh, largely thanks to the perseverance and energy of Tom. He was at one time Secretary of the Scottish/USSR Society and was a great friend of China.