Military Wiki
David Guest
Born David Haden-Guest
(1911-01-06)6 January 1911
Died 28 July 1938(1938-07-28) (aged 27)
Gandesa, Spain
Cause of death Killed in action
Place of burial Gandesa
Nationality British
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Mathematician, philosopher
Years active 1931–1938
Partner(s) Suzanne McShane
Parents Leslie Haden-Guest, 1st Baron Haden-Guest & Muriel Ethel Carmel Goldsmid
Relatives Peter Haden-Guest, 4th Baron Haden-Guest (brother)
Military career
Allegiance  Spanish Republic
Service/branch Emblem of the International Brigades.svg International Brigades
Unit British Battalion of the "Abraham Lincoln" XV International Brigade
Battles/wars Spanish Civil War

David Guest (6 January 1911[1]– 28 July 1938) was a British mathematician and philosopher who volunteered to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and was killed in Spain in 1938.


Guest was the son of Leslie Haden-Guest, 1st Baron Haden-Guest. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1929 and studied from 1930 to 1931 in Göttingen in Germany, where he was sentenced to two weeks in prison for anti-Nazi political activity. On his return he joined the Communist Party at Cambridge in 1931.[2] There Guest became the head of a party cell that included John Cornford, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Victor Kiernan and James Klugmann.[3] This enabled dons such as Maurice Dobb and John Bernal to take a back-seat. It was claimed that David Guest would "stride into hall at Trinity wearing a hammer and sickle pin in his lapel."[4]

After leaving Cambridge Guest lectured in mathematics and worked for the Communist party at the Peoples' Bookshop in Lavender Hill, also teaching for a short while at a secondary school for English-speaking children in Moscow.

In 1938 he left his post as a lecturer at University College in Southampton to volunteer for the International Brigades fighting in Spain. He wrote of his decision:

Today we have certainly entered a period of crisis, when the arguments of 'normal times' no longer apply, when considerations of most immediate usefulness come in. That is why I have decided to take the opportunity of going to Spain.

Guest arrived in Spain on 31 March 1938 and joined the British Battalion of the International Brigades. The Battalion went into action at the Battle of the Ebro which began on 25 July 1938. Three days later, on 28 July,[5][6] Guest was killed on Hill 481[7] at Gandesa by a sniper as he read a newspaper.[8][9]

After his death, notes he had made while lecturing at the Marx Memorial Workers' School were published as A Text Book of Dialectical Materialism in 1939.


  • Guest, David, (1939) A Text Book of Dialectical Materialism, Lawrence And Wishart (republished as Lectures on Marxist Philosophy (1963))


  1. Birgit Sondergeld (2010). Spanische Erinnerungskultur: Die Assmann'sche Theorie des kulturellen Gedächtnisses und der Bürgerkrieg 1936–1939. Springer-Verlag. p. 255. ISBN 9783531924915. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  2. Michael Walker. David Guest. Communist Biogs. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  3. "Biography of David Guest". 
  4. Phillip Knightley, Philby: KGB Masterspy (1988) page 32
  5. Sugarman, Martin (2012). "Against Fascism – Jews who served in The International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  6. Carmody, Jim; Baxell, Richard (2012). "List of those who died in Spain". International Brigade Memorial Trust. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  7. Jenkins, Nicholas (2012). "David Haden-Guest". W.H. Auden – Family Ghosts. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  8. Beaumont, Peter (1 May 2005). "Forgotten warriors return to battle sites". The Guardian. London. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  9. "TEACHER KILLED IN SPAIN – David Guest, British Communist, Fought With Loyalists". The New York Times. 7 August 1938. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 

External links

Further reading

  • Guest, Carmel Hayden (1939) David Guest – A Scientist Fights For Freedom 1911–1938, Lawrence and Wishart.

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