John Vistuer sent through some photos of his grandfather, Augusto Perez Miranda, a Spaniard who fought for the allies during World War II. He started his military career in the Spanish Guardia Civil in North Africa. Then he fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Being on the losing side, he found himself in the French Foreign Legion at the start of the World War II, but ended up in the No. 1 (Spanish) Company of the Pioneer Corps of the British Army. All words are John’s.
Grand Father’s UK Army Service Record in Spanish Company
- Full name was : Augusto Perez Miranda
- Born: 28 Apr 1907 La Concha, Santander, Spain
- Died: 07 Jun 1983 St Georges Hospital, Tooting, London
- Married: Carmen Duro Salamero
- Brothers (2): Juan Perez Miranda; Alberto Perez Miranda
The photos are of my Grandad. He’s marked by an X in many. You’ll see a couple from the French Foreign Legion and also from Guardia Civil.
My Grandfather served in the Guardia Civil in North Africa, Melilla. Franco started in North Africa and the Civil War kicked off. Subsequently Franco used his forces in Spain.
My Grandfather moved his family to Barcelona and deserted the Guardia Civil and fought against Franco. My mother/his daughter recalls visiting him on the front line with her mother with food. Whilst they were talking my mum was playing with a pineapple looking thing, grandad looked over and shouted to my mum…she was playing with a grenade. There are other stories of the poverty and ferocity of people steeling food from a Red Cross food store fighting for food.
They stayed in Barcelona for a few years whilst a bulk of the fight went on and only near the end flying to UK with help from relation. I have generations of family in Barcelona and Mallorca, and it was my mother’s uncle in Mallorca that paid to fly his family to the UK. The UK was shipping new Spanish arrivals to South America but stopped by the time his family arrived. Appalling times hence my mother’s uncle did not know but when he did he paid for tickets to fly them to UK.
My Grandfather stayed on in Barcelona to fight. Later he crossed the Pyrenees and as is well documented ended up in the French Foreign Legion (two photos are of Tunisia) and getting posted to Norway. However they were cut off and the British rescued them and brought them back to UK.
That was the beginning of his time in the Pioneer Corp [No. 1 (Spanish) Company of the Pioneer Corps], and of course back with his family – hopefully you can pick him out from the photos – his portrait is dated 1946.
I’ve attached my Grandfather Service Record from the UK Army.
I hope you can track more records and correlate him to his Company and other photos records of him in the UK.
The lady is my nan, “Nanny”. Wonderful woman, made of steel. She was a formidable woman in desperate times. Another story when she came to England with her Children they were looked after by the Spanish Committee I think it was called and were helped to rent a large house in Alleyn Park Road in Dulwich from a Jewish gentleman. My Grandad worked as a Door Porter for a Hotel in London in the 70s and retired shortly after. My Nan was very under nourished and was I recall suffering from malnutrition following the years in Spain in Barcelona.