UCLan graduating history student uncovers ‘forgotten’ Spanish Civil War fighter from Lancashire

13 July 2022

A graduating student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has uncovered the identity of a Lancashire man whose name could now be commemorated in a new Spanish Civil War memorial.

Lewis Ashworth, 21, achieved a first-class degree from UCLan’s BA (Hons) History programme. Carrying out research for his final year dissertation the Nelson-based student uncovered the identity of David Hartley King, born in Salterforth in 1907, who fought with the International Brigades* against Spanish fascists in the 1930s.

King worked as a weaver in the Nelson area between 1919 and 1924. He then joined the Royal Marines and served with them until 1931, gaining valuable military experience which stood him in good stead when he volunteered to fight Franco’s fascists and their Nazi allies in May 1937.

The former Nelson Weavers’ Association man was not previously considered a Lancashire volunteer until Lewis’s careful archival research revealed that King had travelled to Spain from Sutton in Surrey, where he was working as a mechanic.

Commenting on the discovery Lewis said: “Researching my local area’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War has been fascinating.  To uncover the long-forgotten name of someone who fought in the International Brigades and who also originated from my hometown was a proud moment.

“Graduating with a first-class degree and having won the prize for best overall dissertation has really made all the hard work worth it. I’m now hoping to continue my academic studies at UCLan by studying history at a postgraduate research level.”

The discovery has been recognised by a local Spanish Civil War memorial committee** in Burnley whose plans are advanced for a permanent memorial to the East Lancashire volunteers and will now need to consider the addition of the new name.

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