This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Our fourth article in a series dedicated to publications in the Tyne & Wear Museum’s blog about the relationship between Newcastle and the Basques during the Spanish Civil War, penned by Sarah Richardson.


Sarah Richardson is the curator at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.  She is also an old friend of the our blog, thanks to her series of articles on the connections between the British and the Basques during the Spanish Civil War.

Now, we’ve already discussed the three articles she’s written so far, and they’ve become a fundamental part of the stories on what happened during those terrible years that we have included on our blog.  Today, we’re discussing a fourth article that is no less worthy than the other three, and which is going to become a part of that select group of our “essential” articles.

In this fourth entry, she offers us a new overview of that relationship in hard times.  She speaks about those British sailors who strove, and managed, to break the blockade imposed on the port of Bilbao by the insurgents.

It’s an effort we can’t thank them enough for.  It also reminds us of a similar effort many Basque sailors made years before, during the First World War, when they broke the German blockade on Great Britain.  In that war, as we go into more detail about here, the shipping company Ramón de la Sota y Llano lost 20 ships, or some 50,000 tons, to the German submarine torpedos.

This photograph shows the devastation of the Port of Bilbao in 1937.  It was taken by the captain of the Hamsterley, out of Newcastle, which arrived at Bilbao with the mission of bringing food to the city’s refugees and to rescue the people besieged (North Mail, May 11, 1937).
This photograph shows the devastation of the Port of Bilbao in 1937.  It was taken by the captain of the Hamsterley, out of Newcastle, which arrived at Bilbao with the mission of bringing food to the city’s refugees and to rescue the people besieged (North Mail, May 11, 1937).

The article tells us how those ships and their crews broke that illegal blockade and managed to get food, coal, medicines, and supplies to the besieged Bilbao, overrun with refugees fleeing the fascist brutality.  She also tells us, and this is what seems especially important to us, about her perceptions and feelings while visiting the Basque city.

The truth is that we must thank Sarah Richardson for her amazing work putting all this info together.  We hope she’ll continue investigating, because her works will always have a place of honor on our blog.

Eskerrik asko

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums – 28/4/2017 – Gran Bretaña

Danger and adventure for Tyne and Wear ships’ crews in the Spanish Civil War

I’ve told some of the story of the involvement of Newcastle ships in two previous blogs – Newcastle foodships rescue Basque refugees in the Spanish Civil War; Newcastle foodship crew witness the devastation of Guernica bombing in the Spanish Civil War. This blog widens the story, with more details about the difficult experiences of the crews.

(Continue) (Automatic Translation)

The Blackworth, the ship that the Spanish Relief Fund (created in Great Britain to provide humanitarian help) chose to send food and medical supplies to Bilbao
The Blackworth, the ship that the Spanish Relief Fund (created in Great Britain to provide humanitarian help) chose to send food and medical supplies to Bilbao

 

 

 

 

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