In September 1936 General Franco, against the elected Republican government, called on German and Italian allies to help establish a dictatorship, bombing his fellow countrymen – a terror immortalised in Picasso’s painting ‘Guernica’, a copy of which hangs in Cardiff’s Temple of Peace. From the northern Basque Country in particular – whilst many fought and were supported by Welshmen in the International Brigades – tens of thousands were forced into exile. In one of the biggest mass evacuations of modern history, some 4,000 children were packed on ships bound for Britain at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Some were sent on the S.S. Habana from Bilbao to Southampton, from where – organised by the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief – 400 children were taken in by 4 areas in Wales: Brechfa in Carmarthenshire, Sketty in Swansea, Caerleon near Newport, and Old Colwyn in North Wales.
- WCIA ‘Wise and Foolish Dreamers’ HLF Project, Resources and References 2011
- Wales and the refugee children of the Basque country (BBC Blog 2012)
- From Bilbao to Caerleon: the Basque Child Refugees of 1937 (Gwent Local History Council, Welsh Journals Online)
- The Basque children refugees in Caerleon (2012) and 80th Anniversary of the Basque Refugee Children’s arrival in Caerleon (2017)
- The child refugees who escaped the Spanish civil war and found safety in Newport (South Wales Argus, May 2017)
- Spanish Civil War refugees had mixed welcome in Wales (Wales Online)
- Basque Children 1937 – 80th Anniversary by Association of UK Basque Children