Monday 20 April 2009

Seen on my travels ... a Falange memorial

One of my long-term interests has been the Spanish Civil War. Many years ago I wrote a book about the conflict for wargamers – LA ULTIMA CRUZADA (The Last Crusade) – that was published by Caliver Books. Since then I have always been on the lookout for anything that relates to the war.

When I wrote the first edition of my book the Generalissimo had not been dead ten years, and Spain was still developing as a democracy. Since then a lot has changed, and information about the Civil War has become much easier to obtain. The past still has a diminishing influence on the present, but as the generation who fought in the Civil War has gradually died out, it seems that many Spanish people have come to terms with their past and are moving forward into a very different future.

It was therefore something of a surprise to see the following memorial on the outside wall of the cathedral in Vigo. It is a memorial to the fallen members of the Falange who came from Vigo.

I had supposed that all such memorials were long gone, but I was wrong. Whilst I was taking this photograph I was approached by a Spaniard who was at least as old as I am if not older, and he asked me in somewhat fractured English if I knew what I was photographing. When I said that I did, and that I was aware of who José Antonio de Primo de Rivera was and why ‘Presente!’ was at the bottom of the memorial, he explained that there was still a lot of strong pro-Falangist feeling in the area. He then bid me ‘Adios’ and went on his way.

Whether or not what he said is true or not I cannot say, but I must admit that I am still surprised to see such a memorial in such a prominent public place in today’s Spain.

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