Niños de la Guerra, Futbol vasco, Gales, Gran Bretaña, Historias de los vascos, Niños de la Guerra, Futbol vasco, Gales, Gran Bretaña, Historias de los vascos, We have often spoken of the Basque war children, those boys and girls who were evacuated by the Basque Government as the insurgent soldiers of Franco’s army got closer to the Basque Country.  The goal was to distance them from that conflict where the rebels let loose their worst criminal instincts.  Great Britain took in almost 4,000 of those boys and girls.  The reports on the tragedies befalling the Basque still loyal to democracy which were written by journalists like George L. Steer, or the commitment shown by so many, as written by the likes of Leah Manning, opened the doors of the UK to them.

Among the reports we’ve brought to you about them are those of the Basque children who were taken in in Wales, which we’ve covered often).  They were taken to Caerlion, the true home of King Arthur.  Those Basque children “in King Arthur’s Court” played soccer, something that is still remembered even today.

Un anuncio que promociona el partido de Basque Boys contra Caerau Boys (Crédito: Archivos de Richard Burton, Universidad de Swansea)
An ad promoting the soccer match between the Basque Boys and Caerau Boys (Credit: Archives of Richard Burton, University of Swansea)

As shown in the Welsh daily Nation Cymru, which just dedicated an amazing article to those children, and the amazing soccer career some of them had.  The article is based on the compilation work of our dearly admired The Association for the UK Basque Children (which we have also discussed many times here on the blog, highlighting their amazing work).

The article itself is also written by an old friend of the blog, Welsh journalist Christopher Evans.

We can’t help but get emotional every time we read about these topics, the tragedy those children had to live, what their parents must have gone through, and what our country, divided, had to survive.  This conflict, unfortunately, is still not over, as the years of dictatorship and “politically excused” violence prove, as well as the fact that our nation is still divided among two administrative entities.

This article is one of those that is definitely worth reading, in order to better understand our history.  These inter-stories, these micro-stories, are what bring History alive: it’s about the stories people actually lived.

We’ll leave you with the article that inspired this blog entry, along with another from 2021 that had been left behind, in the same paper, by the same journalist.  Too often, there are far more stories to tell than we have time for.  But we hold on to them in the hopes we’ll be able to use them, like now.

Thanks to the Welsh for taking in those boys and girls, and to Nation Cymru, and to Christopher Evans, for remembering them and helping us to better understand our own history.

Nation Cymru – 14/8/2022 – Wales

Made in Wales: From Basque Boy to Spanish goalkeeping star

A recent three-day event in Caerleon commemorated the 85th anniversary of the arrival of the Basque children refugees in Wales. Organised by the Basque Children of ’37 Association, there was a specific focus on the importance of football to the niños vascos (Basque children).

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Nation Cymru – 21/11/2021 – Wales

How a Basque refugee football team overcame tragedy to take Wales by storm

The Basque Boys y la entrada del partido (Crédito: The Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University)
The Basque Boys y la entrada del partido (Crédito: The Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University)

If you tolerate this your children will be next… In 1998, Welsh music legends Manic Street Preachers achieved their first number one single with a song inspired by the Spanish Civil War.

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Header photo: The Basque Boys: Enrique Garatea, third right, back row (Credit:The Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University and Gaizka Garamendi of the Basque Children of ’37 Association)

 


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