We have previously highlighted the life of a CNT militant who settled in Middlesbrough, Teesside, North East England in an interview with Miguel Rico. Interview here…
Today we share the life of Vicente Blasco Carrillo who settled in Stockton on Tees, North East England after the war. The following obituary, written by Teesside Anarchists in 1994 is from ANARCHY ! Libertarian broadsheet for the North East. Issue 2. 1994.
Vicente Blasco Carrillo (1917-94)
Vicente Blasco Carrillo who died in North Tees Hospital on July 18, aged 77, was one of the last few of the once-numerous Spanish Anarchist emigration in Britain. Born in Barcelona, he was active in the anarchist movement in his youth, being a militant in the ‘Faro’ group of the FIJL (Iberian Libertarian Youth Federation). After the fascist military coup was defeated in Barcelona on July 19th 1936 by the armed working class, Blasco joined the militia of the anarcho-syndicalist union, the CNT, and fought at the Aragon front in the Durruti column.
When the militias were militarised – partly due to counter-revolutionary movements in the Republican camp, partly to give a better impression to the outside world – Blasco was sent by the CNT to the military academy in Barcelona, where he was made a lieutenant. (The CNT wanted to counter the influence of the Stalinists and fellow-travellers busy taking control of the Republic’s army.)
When the Republic was defeated in 1939 he joined the tide of refugees who escaped across the border to France. Like some of the others in refugee camps like Argeles-sur-Mer he joined the French Army (Foreign Legion) to escape the deplorable conditions. (The French socialist Popular Front government didn’t have much to learn from the nazis in this department.) – the French Army needed recruits because the Second World War was about to start.
When France fell to the Nazis, Blasco escaped from Lebanon, where he’d been posted, to Palestine. There he was among a group of seventy Civil War veterans (republicans, communists and anarchists) who having been recruited into the French army and having fled with their arms to British occupied Palestine on France’s fall, were now recruited into the British Army Commandos!. Captured during the British withdrawal from Crete, he was a prisoner-of-war in Germany for three and a half years.
After the war he settled in Stockton, working and bringing up a family. He never returned to Spain. With our comrade Juan, also a participant in the Spanish libertarian movement and the Revolution, and who later came to know Blasco in the Commandos, as a prisoner of war in Germany and after settling on Teesside, we salute an anti-fascist fighter. Now, as then, MUERTE AL FASCISMO!