Posts Tagged ‘anti-fascism’

The British Union of Fascists (B.U.F.) was formed in 1932 and not long after were establishing networks right across Britain, including in Aberdeen. In September 1935 the B.U.F. tried to hold a meeting at the Music Hall but protesters stopped their meeting. The protesters were made up of members of the local Communist Party and so in November 1935 a meeting was called addressed by Party stalwarts Bob Stewart and J.R. Campbell, with the protesters now styling themselves the Aberdeen Anti-Fascist League. What followed was another 3 years of vicious confrontation between the fascists and anti-fascists, resulting in street battles, criminal damage and court cases.

Although there were battles across the UK, Aberdeen became a centre for activity because of the prominent roles in the B.U.F. of activists based in the locality: William Keith Abercrombie Jopp Chambers-Hunter, the Laird of Tillery, near Udny, and his sister-in-law, Agnes Botha.

Related entries: Aberdeen Communist Party

References: Aberdeen Daily Journal, Fascism in Aberdeen: Street Politics in the 1930s (Liz Kibblewhite and Andrew Rigby, Aberdeen People’s Press, 1978) and Proud Journey: a Spanish Civil War memoir (Bob Cooney, Marx Memorial Library, 2015).

Sources: unknown.

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This year will hopefully see a revised issue of the booklet which tells the history of the men and women from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War. The original booklet that was published in 1996 named 19 men from Aberdeen, including 5 who died:

  • David Anderson
  • Walter Bruce
  • Alfred Christie
  • Robert (Bob) Cooney
  • Robert Cooper
  • Thomas Davidson (killed)
  • Archibald Dewar (killed)
  • Charles Downie
  • William Dunbar
  • George Forbes
  • Alec Gibb
  • John Londragan
  • Charles McLeod (killed)
  • Kenneth Morrice (killed)
  • Alexander Reid
  • Ernest Sim (killed)
  • Robert Simpson
  • John Watson
  • Charles Watt (Scots Canadians)

In the intervening years though new research has revised that number and a search of the database of volunteers on International Brigade Memorial Trust website illustrates that.

From Aberdeen:

  • Alexander McLean (also known as John Gavin)
  • William Petrie (Scots Canadians)
  • Albert Smith

From Aberdeenshire:

  • The Murray family were originally from Newton of Tornaveen in Aberdeenshire (Ann, George and Thomas)
  • George Bisset

I find it interesting that the database also notes if the 26 individuals were a member of a political party: (Communist Party (British but also Australian and Canadian) 17, no party 6, not stated 2 and Labour Party 1).


Remembering the Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939 (George Scott (ed.), Aberdeen Trades Council, 2nd edition, c. 2000)

Database of volunteers on International Brigade Memorial Trust website –


This website below has more information such as photographs but there is little information on where the research has been gleaned from –


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A group advertised in Aberdeen People’s Press and formed in July 1976. The group was formed as a consequence of a by-election in Rotherham in July, in which the anti-immigrant National Front campaigned. The Aberdeen group formed to provide arguments against, and facts about racialism. A leaflet was prepared and a vigil was held in Union Street. The contact point for the group was Aberdeen People’s Press, King Street.

References: article in Aberdeen People’s Press, August 1976.

Sources: unknown.

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Aberdeen United Against Fascism formed in 2004 as a response to The National Front attempting to march through Aberdeen on St Andrew’s Day. The group was co-ordinated through members of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council and was successful in lobbying Aberdeen City Council to ban the march. The result was an anti-fascism/anti-racism march on St Andrew’s Day 2005, a march which has become an Aberdeen Trades Union Council event to this day.

It is not clear whether the local group was part of the national campaign Unite Against Fascism which was formed in 2003, in response to the electoral campaigning of the British National Party. The similarity in name would suggest a link.

It is not known when this group wound-up, but it is likely that it simply morphed into another anti-fascist movement at a later date.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports.

Sources: unknown.

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Student Campaign Against The Nazis was a University of Aberdeen Society, formed in 1978, and affiliated to the national Anti-Nazi League (which also had an Aberdeen local branch).

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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The League, a branch of the national organisation (established in 1977 at the instigation of the Socialist Workers Party), was formed after a gathering in the Music Hall in 1978. The contact, like for many groups, was Boomtown Books, King Street. The national league had wound down by 1981 though.

The League was re-launched in 1992 and there was a student society active in Aberdeen in the mid-1990s.

The League merged into the national Unite Against Fascism campaign in 2003, which is still active today.

References: article in the Big Print (1978). University Fresher’s magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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The Aberdeen Anti-Fascist Alliance was set up in 2010 just prior to the general election to organise anti-British National Party leafleting and various other actions in relation to fascist activity in Aberdeen. The group is not affiliated with any party or political groups and has co-ordinated with similar actions in other Scottish cities.

Related entries: Aberdeen Anarchists.

References: website.

Sources: unknown.

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