Michael Economides was born January 17th, 1910 in Nicosia, the son of a wheat merchant. He left Cyprus at the age of 16 for Latin America but an illness delayed him en route and he ended up in London! He arrived in 1929 and found it difficult to get a job. Already influenced by the British Communist Party's stance on Cyprus, he joined the League Against Imperialism and the Communist Party in 1932.
He travelled to Spain in 1936 to fight for the republic; he became a captain and fought in many of the bloodiest of battles, including at Jarama, where he was shot in the leg and the Ebro, where he received a chest wound.