“My great uncle took the Spanish government into exile”

From the often superb BBC WWII site:

As France fell my great uncle Ioannis (John) Colentzos was captain of a Greek freighter berthed in Bordeaux. He a did not wish to remain in the port as he was uncertain of what the outcome might be for his vessel once the Germans got there. Greece was not in the war at that time but he did not want to risk his ship or the lives of his crew. He decided to prepare his ship for sea and set sail. This was going to be difficult as he could not get a pilot and would have to go up the river under the cover of darkness; no mean feat. As he was conducting his preparations he was approached by a Spaniard who came on board and asked if he would take a small party of Spaniards with him to wherever he was going. My great uncle decided. He said he proposed to sail to Britain and he would take them with him. It transpired that the people he was carrying were the members of the exiled Spanish government. As a thank you the leader of the contingent, on their arrival at Milford Haven, presented him with his watch. The watch was inscribed with his name which was Negre who it transpired was the exiled prime minister. My cousin still has the watch it being passed down the male line of the familly.

Negrín did indeed leave from Bourdeaux/Burdeos, in something of a hurry and in no great need of publicity, which may explain the “Negre”.

Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *