Friday, 5 June 2015

Prisoner Pedro Cuadrado & the Spanish War

ADLINGTON Library has an exhibition running until June 12 entitled  ‘Heath Charnock's Green Men’ telling the story of the Spanish anti-fascist prisoners of war at the Hall o' th' Hill Camp.

On Friday June 5, at 7pm, there will be a talk by Dr Richard Cleminson who is a reader in Hispanic Studies at the University of Leeds.
One of the contributors to the exhibition is Lisa Croft who lives in Westhoughton. Her grandmother was a local journalist and wrote articles about the men and had a local artist do sketches to illustrate the stories.
Pedro Cuadrado died in 2010 aged 88.
His life story was recorded and stored at the Imperial War Museum for future generations to learn more about what happened to him and other Spanish men.
As a teenager, living in Barcelona, he was conscripted into the Republican Army fighting General Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
The father-of-three, grandfather and great-grandfather was among the survivors when a truck carrying soldiers was bombed at the battle of Ebro.
His story was the kind read about in books or seen in films.
As Franco's grip tightened he fled across the Pyrenees to France with thousands of others and in France was placed in a refugee camp. But as the Germans invaded at the start of World War Two he fled towards Switzerland, was caught and made a prisoner of war. During his time in the camps this amazingly talented man learned to speak five languages.
He was put to work helping the Nazis build an underground factory near Paris. An attempt to escape failed and he was recaptured.
As the Allies gained ground in the war he found his future in the hands of the Americans and they passed him and his fellow Spaniards over to the British who shipped their prisoners to England.
Pedro found himself interred in the camp near Adlington and two years later became a spokesman for his comrades arguing for their release. The men were freed and Pedro settled in Bolton.
He worked for a textile company in Manchester and married Pauline.  They had children Elena, Carlos and Adrienne.   Pedro became known for his singing in the Casablanca Tavern in the town each evening. He loved introducing people to the Spanish culture and this soon led to him setting up his own bar, Pedro's Taverna.
This bar became a meeting place for everyone from soap stars and footballers to ordinary local folk.
He was famous for his chilli con carne and sangria.  Although he gave up running the taverna in the 1990s he still lived above the premises and his home remained a meeting place for his many friends until his death.
In one of our photographs you can see the Spanish anti-fascist prisoners standing at the entrance of the Hall o' th' Hill camp.
The authorities allowed them to erect a board so that they would not be confused by the local population with German POWs.
To find out more about this fascinating piece of history pop along to see the exhibition or book a seat for the talk by ringing 0300 123 6703 or email

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