A CONTROVERSIAL memorial to four Southampton men killed in the Spanish Civil War is being erected in Southampton.

The tribute, which was due to be unveiled earlier this month, was postponed after the city council received a complaint.

Now planning officers have approved the small stone tablet for a spot near the city's Cenotaph.

The memorial is dedicated to Raymond Cox, of Highfield (pictured); Ivor Hickman of Southampton; Harold Laws, from Bitterne and Southampton University lecturer David Haden Guest.

The men were all killed while volunteering with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

Plans for a Spanish Civil War memorial in Southampton emerged ten years ago but were dropped because a suitable location could not be agreed.

Official unveiling Relatives of those killed, including Harold Laws' niece, Henrietta Quinnell, 62, are being invited to the official unveiling of the memorial, planned for the end of October.

Henrietta, who now lives in Exeter, hopes the tribute will do her uncle proud.

"It means a long-delayed recognition for the fact that Harold put his life where his beliefs were," she said.

"It will be a permanent reminder of the sacrifices these men made."

Local historian Alan Lloyd has been striving to get the memorial in place for almost a year and is now searching for relatives of Ivor Hickman to join Henrietta at the service.

Mr Lloyd, of Bitterne, learned last year of the men's crusade to Spain while researching for his book Spain's Hampshire Heroes.

He raised the £3,000 needed to fund the project with help from public donations and money from the trade unions to which the soldiers belonged.

He is delighted the memorial has finally got the go-ahead.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," he said.

"It's annoying that we've had to postpone but it's nothing to what the men and women in Spain went through.

"There are any number of similar memorials around the country and I'm delighted the council has recognised this as something worthwhile.

"It will give credit at long last to those people who gave their lives in the Spanish Civil War and should act as a permanent trigger to the memory of their sacrifices. It's a modest memorial that should complement the cenotaph."

Many people agree. Readers have written to the Daily Echo praising plans for the memorial and the council has received ten letters and e-mails in favour of the proposals.