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Hector MacMillan Technician     Playwright     Luthier Honorary President: Scottish Society of Playwrights

Honorary Fellow: Association For Scottish Literary Studies

“If we investigate only by physical and chemical means, we can only get physical and chemical answers.”

Sir Alister Hardy, FRS

A Greater TomorrowA Greater Tomorrow by Hector MacMillan

Commissioned by IPB Productions. Premiere Dundee Repertory Theatre, 1997. Director Hamish Glen.

At the time of Franco’s attack on a democratically-elected government many Scots volunteered to fight alongside the people of Spain. As the war went on, the volunteers from many lands were organised into International Brigades, but the early 1936 arrivals engaged in battle as and how they could.

One such volunteer, Joseph Wallace [Jock] Cunningham, from Lanarkshire, was involved in the earliest defence of Madrid before going on to become the hero of the British unit at the Battle of Jarama. His leadership, which saved the day, was recorded by the Irish journalist Frank Ryan, who was marching alongside.

Cunningham later served on Brigade Staff, with the rank of Major [possibly Lt Colonel] but after the battle of Brunete the Communist Party of Great Britain recalled him out of service.

It was known that for a number of years thereafter Jock Cunningham worked as a casual labourer, tramping Britain in search of work, before seeming to vanish in the early 1950's.

There was much speculation as to what happened to him but my researches, though they established that he had a twin brother and was one of a family of twenty-two, could establish little more other than that his father had been a regular soldier who had married a Maltese woman.

That the life of such a leading figure in the early volunteer movement should have remained so unrecorded was the starting point of the play which, though not biographical, is based on many of the known facts of Jock Cunningham's story.

“an important and hugely enjoyable work” Aberdeen Press & Journal

“presents the story brilliantly with the use of songs and music and original films from the Spanish War” International Brigade Association Newsletter.

“for more than two hours, nothing happened” The Observer

The programme for A Greater Tomorrow contains, with a few errors, everything that could be established at the time of writing.

A reference to Cunningham's early days in Spain, by Bernard Knox, who was present at the earliest defence of Madrid University, is to be found in John Cornford, A Memoir. Borderline Press, Dunfermline. 1978.
[ISBN 0 906135 05 2]