I came across this postcard completely by chance yesterday, in the pages of a postcard album, along with a pile of much more recent postcards. I suspect that they were all part of a stamp collecting enterprise by my mother or one of her brothers – as, unfortunately, the stamp has already been steamed off this one.
It is wonderful to have something from Frank’s time in Spain – so much of what I have found so far is Elizabeth’s (especially letters, etc.), and what I do have of Frank’s tends to be from a bit later. I didn’t think I would ever find of any Frank’s letters home to his family – this gives me hope that some of them may have survived and that I may find more eventually.
This was sent to his parents (also, confusingly, called Frank and Elizabeth Girling) in Newcastle just before he crossed from France into Spain. The postmark looks to me like 9th October 1937, and this would fit with the Comintern report, in which Frank had stated that he had been working at Puigcerdà since the 10th October 1937 (for more, see: https://redthirties.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/franks-international-brigade-personnel-file-in-the-comintern-archives-2/).
The text is short and sweet, and reads:
I am in Perpignan now and will cross into Spain tomorrow. First to Barcelona and then to Puigcerdà on the French frontier.
The I.V.S.P. have a camp there – farming work.
Love to all
I hope you will not worry about me. Frank.
As well as fitting in with the previous dates, this also fits with the earlier mention of the International Voluntary Service for Peace (I.V.S.P.), with which he had been at a camp in Switzerland before going to Spain. Strangely there is no mention of his “walking across France” to get to Spain (as he had previously claimed) but what a postcard nevertheless. So breezy and casual, the day before he was heading into a war.