Biographies/Milton Young

Tags: Young Communist League Jewish Brunete Offensive Mosquito Ridge Lincoln-Washington Battalion WPA Teachers KIA WPA

Researcher: Cyrus Cursetjee, Stuyvesant '22

Milton Young was born in the Bronx, New York. Once he completed his schooling at Penn State University, and returned to New York in search of a job. Despite his qualifications and good education, Milton's search for a private job was fruitless, so he took a job in the WPA Teachers Union in New York City.

Milton had begun feeling strongly about the protection of security and workers’ rights. As he participated in strikes and picket lines, he became frustrated with the capitalist system. Once the United States Congress voted to prohibit citizens from selling arms to the democratically elected Republic in Spain, Milton, as a member of the Youth Communist League, left to fight for the Republic. He was one of the thousand Jewish Americans that joined the International Brigades in the fight against Fascism.

Unfortunately, there is little information about Milton during the war. His name is not listed on the Scope of Soviet Activities list, so it is likely he used false travel documents under a different name to arrive in Spain.

In June, 1937, Milton was placed in charge of the Runners. The George Washington Battalion was reserved at Morata de Tajuna after fighting from the line at Jarama. On June 30th, the Battalion left to join the 15th Brigade at Brunete.

Prior to the start of the offensive at Brunete, the previous Commander Hourihan was transferred and replaced as Acting commander of the Lincoln Brigade by Oliver Law.

At 2:00 A.M on July 6th, the Licoln Brigade left its camp by the Aulencia River until it overlooked the Guadarrama plain over a ridge at 5:30 A.M. It was to act as reserve as the British Battalion launched the first offensive, attempting to cut off the retreat of Nationalist forces. However, this operation failed, as the British Battalion drew heavy fire. The Americans were sent in to relieve the pressure. Due to high casualties, and scorching heat, the offensive was put on halt until the next day.

Overnight, the 13th Brigade and the Spanish Assault regiment carried out an airplane bombardment of the town. On July 7th, the Lincoln Brigade made advancements to the Guadarrama River. However, by July 9th, the Fascists were able to set up mosquito nests and trenches along Mosquito Ridge, causing the deaths of countless soldiers and officers, including Commander Oliver Law.

It was in the beginning of the Battle of Brunete that Milton died, just a few months after arriving in Spain. The date of Milton Young’s death is disputed; most sources claim he either died on July 7th or 10th. Because Milton was shot by a Fascist machine gun, it is likely he died on July 10th on Mosquito Ridge.


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WPA Teachers in Spain: an Appreciation of the Work of Those Local 453 Members Who Volunteered to Serve in Spain with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. W.A.P. Teachers Union Chapter, 1994.