top of page

All photos by ©Jennifer Wareham with thanks

1937 Spanish Civil War link with Caerleon

On Tuesday 10th July, in bright sunshine, a good crowd of people gatheredtogether in Cross Street in front of Pendragon House to watch the unveiling of a plaque. It was to commemorate the presence of the Basque child refugee who took shelter in Caerleon in 1937 from worn torn Guernica and it was in this very house.

The Deputy Mayor & Mayoress Cllr Phil Hourahine unveiled the plaque after an introduction given by Newport City Council Leader, Cllr. Debbie Wilcox, Cllr Gail Giles and Carmen Kilner, secretaryof the Association for UK Basque Children.

Ms Kilner spoke at length of the plight of the 8,000 children who came over, 80 years ago to the UK and how much it was appreciated that Caerleon, a tiny village offered such loving shelter for 30 children in Pendragon House. She spoke too of how links with descendants of those children are still being traced such as a daughter of one of Caerleon’s child refugees, now living in Canada, who was able to attend the unveiling.

Organiser, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for Education and Skills, Cllr Gail Giles, thanked everyone who was involved in this very special occasion and those who contributed towards the new plaque commemorating this remarkable episode in Caerleon’s history.

“We can be proud of the welcome these children were given by the people of

 Caerleon, and further afield.

I would especially like to pay tribute to Maria Fernandez, the warden who made sure they received a high standard of care and education during their

time here.”

A choir of children from the Caerleon Schools sang songs both in the Basque and Welsh language and it was poignant that they reflected the very ages of those Basque children who came.

Funding for the plaque was made available by Newport City Council and Caerleon Civic Society.

After the unveiling, hospitality was generously given by Curros

bottom of page