Sam Lesser - one of the last survivors of the International Brigades which fought in the Spanish Civil War - died last night. He was 95.
He was among the first group of British volunteers to go to Spain in the autumn of 1936. Three months later he was shot and returned home wounded. He went back to Spain to work as a journalist, and in later years - under the name Sam Russell - reported for the communist Daily Worker. I interviewed him once - about Spain, about reporting from Moscow, and his meeting with Che Guevara who, Sam enjoyed recounting, told him that: "the communist parties of Latin America are shit!"
Sam was a hugely gregarious guy, with a hearty voice, a splendid moustache, and a twinkle in his eye. You can hear Sam here reminiscing only a few months ago about fighting in Spain. There are some wonderful photos of Sam and other IB veterans - taken by Eamonn McCabe.
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