Roy Leitch, c. 1914
Prince Edward Island
Roy Leitch (1882–1957) was a Canadian Rhodes scholar, professor, activist and soldier of the Serbian Campaign (World War I). He later fought in the Spanish Civil War, serving in the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion. He self-published the newspaper Storm (1939–1957). He used his newspaper to expose corruption by lawyers, clergy and all forms of government.
As an activist he formed his own political party, the Christian Socialists, which failed to garner a membership. He started the Catamaran Club for boys, also known as the Unholy Angels Club, and provided a place for homeless youth to stay. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had him under surveillance as a communist in 1935. On 16 January 1935, Leitch was a guest speaker at the Unemployed and Tax Payers Association of Halifax, N.S.
At age 49, Leitch became a soldier and fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1937). The Communist Party of Canada (which included Dr. Norman Bethune) had a significant recruitment effort in Nova Scotia for the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, even though at that time, joining the Battalion was illegal in Canada. There were 31 volunteers from the Maritimes, 19 from Nova Scotia. (1500 volunteers were recruited across the country and half of them were killed in the defeat.) From 3–18 February 1939, 421 returning soldiers of the Battalion disembarked at Halifax. The last Nova Scotian veteran of the "Mac-Paps" died in the 1980s. The Canadian Government has always denied official recognition of these veterans. On 20 October 2001, Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean commemorated a monument to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in Ottawa.
Leitch built a cabin in the woods on Colpitt Lake in Spryfield, Nova Scotia during the 1930s. From his cabin he self-published the newspaper Storm (1939–1957). He used his newspaper to expose corruption by lawyers, clergy and all forms of government.
- "Calendar of Dalhousie University, 1908-09". archive.org. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- Weekly summary report on Revolutionary Organizations and Agitators in Canada. Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Ottawa 30 January 1935. No. 742
- Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War By Michael Petrou, p. 21
- Howard, V. (1987). The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion: The Canadian Contingent in the Spanish Civil War. MQUP. p. 234. ISBN 9780773582576. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Veterans Affairs / Standing Committees / Committees / The Nova Scotia Legislature". nslegislature.ca. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- The Storm - Nova Scotia Archives
- Beeching, William C. Canadian volunteers: Spain 1936–1939. Regina: U. of Regina, 1989
- Howard, Victor, with Mac Reynolds. The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion: the Canadian contingent in the Spanish civil war. Ottawa: Carleton, 1986
- Petrou, Michael. Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008
- Zuehlke, Mark (2007) The gallant cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, Wiley & Sons Canada ISBN 978-0-470-83926-3