Ann Procter wrote in about a distant relative who died during the Rif Wars …
My great great uncle John Arnall was a Rif supporter living for many years in Tangiers
with his wife, and closely associated with Abd el Krim. He accompanied a Riffian delegation from
Morocco to London on two occasions, trying unsuccessfully to drum up British support as he felt
they were being unfairly treated by the Spanish and French.
To cut a long story short, family rumour has it that he met his death in March 1924 at the hands
of the Spanish, and his body lies in an unmarked grave in Tangiers.
My daughter and I have spent a long time searching archives at the National Archive Centre at
Kew, London. There are copious notes on letters between John Arnall and several foreign office
departments, but that is all – we can find nothing at all about his death. He served a 3 month
prison sentence for making anti-French statements in 1916, stood for Parliament in the General
Election of 1918 and was quite a thorn in the side to many people!
There are no personal details or pictures about him anywhere – have you a clue where we can look
next, as it all seems to have been hushed up from the British point-of-view – he has just been
airbrushed away poor chap!
I couldn’t help, but if you know something about John Arnall then please get in contact.
Jamil Sherif wrote in to say (26 June 2009)…
I have come across records in the India Office Library in London which refer to John Arnall’s
Riff work, and which state that he died on April 12th, 1924 in Tangier.
Gerry Kavanagh wrote in to say (30 May 2017):
The photograph was taken in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, in May 1901. At that time John Arnall, who was born in Cornwall and was a photographer by profession, was a member of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He was, from an earlier time, also a member of the Finsbury Park branch of the British Socialist Party, where he first came in contact with James Connolly. He took the photographs of Connolly that were used on Connolly’s first speaking tour of the U.S.A.
The group photograph was reprinted in the Irish Times in 1956 to commemorate the execution of James Connolly on May 12th 1916. William O’Brien, who is seated two from Connolly’s left, was a leading figure in the Irish Trade Union Movement. The reference “survivors” refers to those who fought in the Easter Rising, in 1916 and lived to tell the tale.
I hope this is of use to you.
John Arnall is front left on the photo.