Herbert Tagg

Herbert is my husband’s great-grandfather and something of a Spanish hero.  How I hear you cry can a hard-working Nottinghamshire miner, born in 1893 in Mansfield be a Spanish hero?

From talking to members of the family and putting the pieces together it would seem that as a young man Herbert spent some of his youth in Argentina immersing himself in the language and culture reluctantly returning home before he married his first wife Annie Evans.  Herbert married twice, had six children and eventually moved to Doncaster but when Spain needed him he went to her aid and paid the ultimate price.

The Spanish Civil War is not my area of expertise and to be honest I do not fully understand the ins and outs of the situation but the main objective of the ordinary Spanish man was the fight against the fascist movement.

There are many websites that can explain much better than I the full story but for me and of course Herbert, the Battle of Jarama is its beginning and end.

Herbert lost his life on the 27 February 1937 on what has become known as ‘suicide hill‘ along with approximately 400 of his comrades.   If you follow the ‘suicide hill’ link you’ll get a feeling through John Corcoran’s site what they were up against.

I knew little of the British involvement in this often forgotten war before I found out about Herbert and from the reading I’ve done the war was not an easy one, ultimately Franco came to power.

Louise

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17 October, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Family History.

24 Comments

  1. Brynette Tagg Harding replied:

    Hello Louise. Found your blog post re. Herbert Tagg. Interesting reading. I am the Gran daughter of Herbert Tagg. Daughter of Bryn Tagg. Herbert Tagg had a Relationship with Rachael Shetliffe ne Cooper. They had 2 sons Victor & Bryn. ( They never married ! ) They met in Doncaster, attending the communist rallies and meetings
    Yes, Herbert Tagg died in Jarama in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. My grandmother Rachael told me he could speak Spanish & Esperanto. My father was born in 1933, so never had a memory of his father.
    I have a photo of Herbert Tagg and have snippets of information!
    The photo originally of Herbert and I presume his first wife in a wheel chair. The photo has been altered by a badly drawn wall to hide the lady. Which I always thought a bit sad.
    You can find me easily, if you Google my name or on facebook. I also have 2 websites. http://www.brynette.co and http://www.albryna.com
    Look forward to sharing info !

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  2. Brynette Tagg Harding replied:

    Sorry miss type http://www.brynette.com

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  3. Adam Nicke replied:

    Hello, I’m Herbert Tagg’s great-grandson as well. His son Herbert (aka, Jack) is my grandfather. He spent time in Argentina not Spain prior to his marriage and picked up spanish there, apparently. Jack was born in 1919 so maybe you’re getting your Herberts mixed up ~ Adam

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    • familypast replied:

      Hi Nick,

      Good to hear from you, we corresponded about 10 years ago do you remember? How are you and your family?

      Herbert your great grandfather did spend time in Spain in his early years, this information is taken from various sources including contemporary newspapers articles. I didn’t know that your granddad spent time in Argentina though, from the information I’ve found recently travel to South Africa, America and Canada was normal in this extraordinary family.

      I would be happy to share the information I’ve found recently if you would like.

      With very best wishes,

      Louise

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      • familypast replied:

        Hi Nick,

        Have just noticed the mistake on the blog that must have made you question my Herberts – there was a typo!! I have now corrected the date – thank you.

        Best wishes,

        Louise

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      • Adam Nicke replied:

        Hello, yes I do remember corresponding with you. Jack is still alive and celebrated his 95th birthday a few weeks ago. His wife passed away last year, though, so that’s left him very down. A few years prioir to that he was in lots of newspapers campaigning for the rights of all pensioners to have treatment for macular degeneration. Here he is!

        http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/856385/Nearly-blind-hero-Denied-treatment-Will-now-get-it-Jack-Tagg.html

        I’d love to have whatever you’ve found on the family. I did a bit of genealogy myself so it would be interesting to compare notes. My email address is a.nicke@talktalk.net

        I knew about the trip to south africa jack’s grandmother made with two of her sons. Apparently a third son had investments in a diamond mine there and they were trying to sort that out. She didn’t approve of Jack’s father, though, so after Jack’s mother died had nothing to do with any of the children.

        Adam

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      • familypast replied:

        Hi Adam,

        I’m just gathering the info and will inbox you.

        Louise

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      • Adam Nicke replied:

        Thank you. I told Jack I’d spoken to you and he was really chuffed and looking forward to being updated. Also asked me to pass on his regards ~ Adam

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      • familypast replied:

        Hi Adam – having trouble with your email I’ve sent you a friend request on fb

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  4. Katie Pound replied:

    Hi all, I’m Katie Pound nee Tagg Herberts great great granddaughter my dad is Kevin Tagg son of Victor who are Brynnettde who is my second cousin, lol my dad wants to know all this information so I’m sat here reading it all to him this amazing 🙂 Katiepound20012@gmail.com xx

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    • familypast replied:

      Hi Katie,

      Good to hear from you – hope your Dad enjoyed the post. Is there anything else he would like to know? I’ve only got one photo of Herbert (from Brynette) but I do have a couple of Herbert’s wife Annie and her eldest children. My husband Darren is the grandson of Lillian, Herbert’s eldest daughter. Louise x

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    • Adam Nicke replied:

      Hello Katie. I’m Jack Tagg’s grandson. His most famous story about your grandfather was how he came off his motorbike on the way to a boxing match, fracturing his skull, then carried on and still won the fight without even realising what he’d done! A lgendary tough guy by the sound of it

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      • SHANNON LEWIS replied:

        Boo

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      • SHANNON LEWIS replied:

        My father was a toughie the tagg temper is in our genes

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      • Katie Pound replied:

        Yes auntie bob he was lol 🙂 x

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  5. frank arrowsmith replied:

    Does anyone know which Doncaster Colliery , Herbert worked at thanks FRANK

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    • familypast replied:

      Hi Frank, thank you for your question, I have information that Herbert worked a quite a few different pits in the Nottinghamshire/Doncaster areas this is an article sent by a family member from a local Armthorpe paper dated June 1999.

      I would be very interested in any information you may have of Herbert Tagg and his time in the collieries.

      “This is an article on one of the two Armthorpe lads who were killed in the Spanish Civil war.

      July 1938 – Doncaster Man Killed In Spain
      Ex-Armthorpe Miner – Wife learns of death four months after

      News reached Mrs. Herbert Tagg, who lodges in King’s Road, Doncaster, lst week that her husband, who went to Spain in January to fight for the government, was killed in battle at Jarama on February 27.
      Mr. Tagg was formerly a miner, and he lived for many years in the Mansfield district, where he was well-known. While there he worked at pits in the Notts coalfield, including Harworth colliery.
      Seven years ago he went to Armthorpe, where he lived in Poplar Place, and worked at Markham Main Colliery. he was keenly interested in the YMA branch.

      For a time he also worked at Thorne Colliery, and he and his family came to Doncaster three years ago. Mr. Tagg was ill at the time and he did not work in the pit again.

      For some time he had been a member of the Sheffield Communist Party, and in January he decided to go to Spain. As a youth he worked there driving mules, and he spoke the language fluently…’

      Many thanks for your interest – Louise

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      • Adam Nicke replied:

        We’ve spoken about this before, Louise, but Jack was adamant his father had not been to Spain as a youth but had spent time in Argentina. Came back dressed as a gaucho and swept his future wife off her feet despite her being engaged to someone else at the time!

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      • frank arrowsmith replied:

        Hi Louise, I was many years ago a NUM official in Edlington, I now do research in to the Industry from a union perspective very brave men to fight the great cause I have the names of three Doncaster people really would like more information on them if you can help re Herbert , that would be good thanks FRANK

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      • familypast replied:

        Hi Frank – yes I’d be more than happy. I have an email address for you so will respond to that with the info I have. thank you Louise

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      • frank arrowsmith replied:

        Hi Louise, that would be great any newspaper/ pictures etc Thanks FRANK

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  6. toshmcdonald replied:

    I have just returned from 80th anniversary commemorations at Jarama and my wife Nikki and I were so proud to be there and hear Herbert Tagg’s name read out as we are from and still live in Doncaster.
    I recently found out about him when looking for information about Clem Beckett the speedway rider who died at Jarama on 12th February 1937.
    We are trying to get Doncaster council to put up a monument to the international brigade members from Doncaster.
    I would love to know if you have any other information or even photos of him.
    Tosh McDonald
    President of ASLEF the train drivers union.

    Like

    • familypast replied:

      Hi Tosh,

      I’m so pleased to know that someone was out in Jarama for the 80th anniversary and that you knew a little of Herbert and could remember him.

      Yes, I do have a photo of Herbert although its not in great shape but I’d be happy to share it with you. Herbert was very much involved in the Labour movement and has a MI5 file – I believe they thought he was a communist. Herbert was involved in the marches against Mosley and his blackshirts and also it is said that he welcomed the Jarrow marches when then came through Mansfield (although I cannot verify this at the moment). Again, I’d be happy to share what information I’ve been able to find with you if its the sort of thing that would help. Do you have an email I could send it to or would you prefer me to send it another way.

      Thank you once again

      Louise
      (Mansfield)

      Like

      • Adam Nicke replied:

        Hi Tosh

        I’m Herbert Tagg’s great-grandson. Sadly, my grandfather – Herbert’s son – passed away in March 2016 just 3 weeks short of his 97th birthday. He regaled me with stories of his father my whole life. I also recall his saying his father did welcome the Jarrow marchers, walked with them a little way and even addressed them. My grandfather was also left wing, as am I. Maybe it’s genetic or maybe it’s all Herbert’s doing! My grandfather would have been overwhelmed with pride to know his father was remembered 80 years on. Incidentally, if you type Jack Tagg Torquay into a search engine you’ll find out how my grandfather took on the government at the age of 88 and had the law changed so that anyone needing their sight saved with an injection for macular degeneration could get it regardless of cost. My grandfather’s story regarding this is also on youtube. Because this story caused such ripples in the media my grandfather was interviewed by the Imperial War Museum and his life story was recorded by them to be released in the even of his death. Clearly hearing my grandfather’s voice again and not being able to speak to him would be upsetting for me but they’re there for the public records now he’s now longer with us

        Best wishes

        Adam Nicke

        Like

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