Juan Antonio Martínez Baranda

Juan Antonio Martínez Baranda

Sadly my uncle Juan Antonio passed away on the 4th of January 2016 following a short illness. He is sadly missed by his wife Doris, children Hazel, Peter, and Michael, and his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Juan Antonio came to England on the Habana aged 8 years with his older brother Enrique (my dad) aged 12, and his younger brother Tomas aged 7. They all suffered on the journey but Tomas was sent to the infirmary with suspected impetigo though dad always said he banged himself on the bunks to which they had been allocated. From the camp Juan Antonio and Tomas went to one colony and Enrique to another. It must have been very hard for the two youngest and for my dad who had been told to look after his brothers.

My grandmother, Eloisa, their mum stayed in Spain with their youngest brother Poligno, and were evacuated to Barcelona before ending back in Bilbao. My grandfather, Tomas, fought in the war as did their older brother Jose Luis. Tomas was killed in the fighting, Jose Luis survived.

Enrique, Juan Antonio and Tomas did not return to Spain after the war ended and were reunited with their mother and youngest brother in the late 40s and their oldest brother in the late 50s when they come to England to be reunited and for a better life than was possible in the Basque Country of Franco's Spain. Sadly Poligno died of pneumonia, the illness which caused Juan Antonio's death, in the 1950s and had not married or had children. Juan Antonio and his three brothers all married and had children who have had children who have in turn had children. So the family of the niños vascos grows through the generations.

The picture is an early one of Juan Antonio as a healthy and optimistic young man.

Simon Martinez

See also in The Guardian.