Jesús and Feliciana Martinez
Jesús and Feliciana Martinez were born in Spain in 1923 and 1930. They talk about being evacuated from the Spanish civil war in 1937 and how long it was before they saw their parents again.
Listen to Jesús and Feliciana (mp3, 649kb)
'My mother said that we were going to go to England. There was such a turmoil because there still was always full of soldiers and a lot of movement and then houses which had been bombed. And I mean my mother had a little chicken run, she had about twelve chickens, and one day a bomb came... and it killed all my mother’s chickens. But we had a lot of people who were dying or who were leaving to go to other parts of the Basque country, in the mountains, far away from the bombing you know, or they were going to France.
'And we were taken to Bilbao to be examined by English doctors, Dr Ellis. And two or three days later, I mean we didn’t know what was happening really, we knew we were coming to England... But my elder sister, the second sister, she didn’t want to leave my mother, and the other one was too young. So it was me and my brother, and that’s when we arrived in Southampton...
'There was no contact whatsoever. My parents had gone from the Basque country, they had gone to France, and from France they had gone to the other side of the Pyranees and they had gone to Catalonia. There was no contact whatsoever between us, for many years. Because you see, when the Spanish civil war ended, in 1939, which was in April, the Great War started in September 1939. So that put a barrier, you couldn’t communicate.'
'I had had no contact at all with my family, at all, until 1945. We were in Carshalton and I was called to the secretary’s room and I was told that my father had got in touch with the Red Cross and, you know, wondering where I was. My mother had since died. That was the first time that I learnt where my father was.'
Copyright Museum of London oral history collection