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Donald William Robbins Pacey


Donald William Robins Pacey from his VALB Membership book  no. 0577

Pacey, Donald William Robins. b. November 10, 1905, Sheerness, England, to Canada at age 16; English; Father George Pacey, Mother Ellen Mullen Pacey; Married to an American woman, separated, daughter;  Worked as a cowboy; Domicile Kansas City, Missouri and Dayton, Ohio; Socialist, IWW; Sailed August 25, 1937 aboard the Washington; Served with the XV BDE, Lincoln-Washington BN; WIA February 1938; Later contracted typhoid and spent remainder of his time in Spain in hospital; Returned to England from Spain to recuperate in his family’s home; Returned to the US on September 10, 1938 aboard the Paris; Married Marjorie Elsbree a nursery school teacher and moved to upstate New York; Owned a sheep farm and managed other farms; three children Hugh, Jane (Chaleff) and Mary; Lived in Virgina from 1954 to 1967 d. March 21, 1978, in San Francisco, California while visiting his daughter Mary.


Sources: RGASPI; Biographical sketch from family.


Biographical Sketch


Donald William Robbins Pacey was born in Sheerness, England, November 10, 1905, the middle son of George Pacey, an officer in the British Royal Navy and Ellen Mullen Pacey, a native of Glasgow, Scotland. Having completed secondary schools in England and prevented from joining the navy by nearsightedness, he went to live with a cousin in Ontario, Canada where he had his 16th birthday. Restless, he wandered westward and eventually down into the western United States. He spent a number of years as a ranch hand, cowboy and occasional rodeo rider in Montana and Wyoming before marrying a school teacher and having a daughter, living in Kansas City and Dayton, Ohio. Having been a card carrying Wobbly (IWW) at an earlier time, he became involved in socialist causes, supporting the presidential candidacy of Norman Thomas. With his marriage failing, he left the mid-west for New York and decided to volunteer with the International Brigades to fight in Spain. He sailed from New York City on the ship “Washington” on August 25, 1937. He was wounded in battle in February 1938 and spent much of his time in Spain hospitalized with his injuries and later with typhoid. After discharge, he returned to his parent’s home in England to recuperate and then returned to the U.S., marrying Marjorie Elsbree, a nursery school teacher at a settlement house (Hartley House) in New York. They moved to upstate New York and had a sheep farm and then he managed other farms for the rest of his working life. He was preoccupied with the conditions and welfare of those in his employ and he was involved with civil rights work during the period that they lived in Virginia (1954-1967). He had with Marjorie three children: Hugh, Jane (Chaleff) and Mary. He was well read, outspoken and a great story teller. He had a deep and abiding interest in politics and justice for all mankind. He felt privileged to have fought for the Republic of Spain against fascism. He died suddenly March 21, 1978 in San Francisco while visiting his daughter, Mary.


In a hospital in Spain 1938 with Adolpho Cuyas Boera

Seated on steps in Preston Hollow, NY in 1947

Riding “Pin Ears” circa 1929

ALB Archival Materials

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Donald William Robins Pacey from his VALB Membership book no. 0577

In a hospital in Spain 1938 with Adolpho Cuyas Boera

Seated on steps in Preston Hollow, NY in 1947

Riding “Pin Ears” circa 1929

Full Database Record

Last Name Pacey
First/Middle Name Donald
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes