|Birth: ||Aug. 11, 1901|
Wallace was killed in Belchite, Zaragoza. Aragon Spain, while serving in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion.
The Abraham Lincoln Battalion consisted of volunteers wanting to fight for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The first volunteers sailed from New York City on 25th December, 1936 and joined the other International Brigades at Albacete.
An estimated 3,000 men fought in the battalion. Of these, over 1,000 were industrial workers (miners, steel workers, longshoremen). Another 500 were students or teachers. Around 30 per cent were Jewish and 70 per cent were between 21 and 28 years of age. The majority were members of the American Communist Party whereas others came from the Socialist Party of America and Socialist Labor Party.
In August 1937, the International Brigades attacked on the town of Quinto. This involved dangerous street fighting against snipers that were within the walls of the local church. After two days the Americans were able to clear the town of Nationalist forces. This included the capture of nearly a thousand prisoners.
The Lincoln-Washington Battalion then headed towards the fortified town of Belchite. Once again the Americans had to endure sniper fire. Robert Merriman ordered the men to take the church. In the first assault involving 22 men, only two survived. When Merriman ordered a second attack, Hans Amlie at first refused saying the task of taking the church was impossible. He help Amlie, Steve Nelson led a diversionary attack. This enabled the Lincoln-Washington Battalion to enter the town. The Americans suffered heavy casualties, Nelson and Amlie received head wounds and amongst the dead were Wallace Burton, Henry Eaton and Samuel Levinger.
Marion Merriman visited Belchite at the end of the offensive. She wrote about it in her book, American Commander in Spain: Robert Hale Merriman and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (1986)
As Bob explained the battle to me, walking through the town's ruins, the shadows lengthened across the empty fields nearby. "Here one of our best machine-gunners fell, beside that wall Burt( Wallace Burton) was killed, there was Danny's grave, here Sidney fell, a sniper's bullet between his eyes, there Steve Nelson was wounded. Our losses were actually very low, but they included some of the best and most loved of our men."
The seaman Wallace Burton, who liked to engage in duels with fascist snipers, caught a bullet between the eyes. "It doesn't yet seem possible;" wrote his lover Millie Bennett, then days later. "that my stout, vital life-loving darling is part of that barren Aragon mesa."
Source: The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War.
Peter N. Carroll
Another volunteer, Wallace Burton, was a veteran of World War I and the French Foreign Legion when he went to Spain. In Albacete, the American training base, he encountered the California-born correspondent of the Moscow News, Millie Bennett, who had once had an affair with his identical twin brother. The two had a brief fling before Burton moved to the Aragon front. Bennett, who had a reputation for wildness, asked Burton how he could tolerate the discipline required of a good Communist soldier. " I would have been here regardless of my political affiliation," he replied from the trenches outside Belchite. "because a war is a break in the monotonous economic system, because I detest Fascism in theory, Mussolini and Hitler in particular, monarchy, clerical supremacy, landowners and feudal ideas, and the idea that Hitler and Mussolini might possibly obtain another part of the world to foster their silly ideas on." As for Communist theory, he said, "the party is making use of the world wide sentiment against Fascism to fight its main enemy just as many people whose only desire is to protect Democracy are working with the party Most people here," Burton concluded, "believe the defeat of Fascism is the most important thing regardless of political future desires." Three weeks later, he too was dead.
Source; The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, American in the Spanish Civil War by Peter N Carroll pg 74-75
Mary Elizabeth Shaver Burton (1874 - 1901)
Wallace F. Burton (1901 - 1937)
Wilbur Burton (1901 - 1956)*
Maxville (Randolph County)
Created by: stonelink
Record added: Dec 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81285845
Added: Mar. 29, 2014