David Guest

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For the American producer, see David Gest. For the Australian field hockey player, see David Guest (field hockey).
David Guest
Born David Haden-Guest
Died 28 July 1938 (aged 26–27)
Gandesa, Spain
Cause of death
Killed in action
Nationality United Kingdom British
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Mathematician, philosopher
Years active 1932-1938
Parent(s) Leslie Haden-Guest, 1st Baron Haden-Guest & Muriel Ethel Carmel Goldsmid
Relatives Peter Haden-Guest, 4th Baron Haden-Guest (brother)

David Guest (1911– 28 July 1938) was a Communist British mathematician and philosopher who volunteered to fight 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 became involved in anti-Nazi politics, and joined the Communist Party at Cambridge in 1931.

He became the head of a cell that included John Cornford, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Victor Kiernan and James Klugmann. [1] 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." [2]

After leaving Cambridge he lectured in mathematics and worked for the Communist party, even teaching in a secondary school for English-speaking children in Moscow.

In 1938 he left work as a lecturer at University College in Southampton to volunteer for the International Brigade 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.

On 28 July 1938[3][4] during the Battle of the Ebro David Guest was killed on Hill 481[5] at Gandesa by a sniper as he read a newspaper.[6][7]

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. ^ Biography of David Guest
  2. ^ Phillip Knightley, Philby: KGB Masterspy (1988) page 32
  3. ^ Sugarman, Martin (2012). "Against Fascism - Jews who served in The International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War" (PDF). Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Carmody, Jim; Baxell, Richard (2012). "List of those who died in Spain". International Brigade Memorial Trust. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Jenkins, Nicholas (2012). "David Haden-Guest". W.H. Auden - Family Ghosts. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Beaumont, Peter (1 May 2005). "Forgotten warriors return to battle sites". The Guardian (London: GMG). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "TEACHER KILLED IN SPAIN - David Guest, British Communist, Fought With Loyalists". The New York Times. 7 August 1938. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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