The son of Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell) is battling to save the trenches of the Spanish Civil War where his father fought. Richard Blair has insisted that the Spanish government must keep his father’s fighting legacy alive by reversing its policy of allowing the trenches to fall into disrepair.
This is the same George Orwell of ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ fame?
Yes – in 1936, before the novelist and essayist had penned some of the most famous works, he travelled to Spain to fight for the Republicans against General Franco’s Nationalist forces.
I think I remember reading about that…
In his 1938 book Homage To Catalonia, Orwell detailed his experiences fighting for the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification. He narrowly avoided death on the battlefield when he was shot in the neck by a fascist sniper who only just missed his carotid artery.
Why is his son getting involved?
Mr Blair, 71, recently visited the trenches, just outside Zaragoza. They had been restored by the previous Socialist government to help Spaniards understand what happened in the war. But when the centre-right Popular Party won control of Aragon regional government in 2011, it froze the €3m (£2.2m) budget.
What did he say?
“I think the Spanish people deserve to understand what really happened between the 1930s to the death of Franco in 1975,” the retired businessman, who lives near Coventry, told The Times. Mr Blair was six when his father died in 1950.