Over the years Antonio Fajardo has kindly sent me information on Spaniards in British Service during WW2. As a culmination of over 25 years research, Antonio has managed to find the name of every Spaniard in the 50 Middle East Commando unit. He has kindly let me publish the list. In addition to the list itself, I have paraphrased various of Antonio’s comments to give some context.
When the 50th Middle East Commandos (Queens Royal Regiment) was formed in August 1940 in Egypt, there were 63 Spaniards in the ranks. They had all fought in the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War and had been recruited by the French Army in refugee camps located in the South of France during 1939. Subsequently they were sent to the Middle East as part of French Foreign Legion or 11eme Bataillon de Marche stationed in French mandated Syria and Lebanon. After the German occupation of France, these Spaniards boarded three lorries and made their way to Palestine and then Egypt to join the British Army and specifically the 50th Middle East Commandos.
Around half were taken POW in Crete. In late 1941 those who escaped were recruited to D Squadron of 1st Regiment SAS along with other ex 50th ME Commandos. Around mid-1943, eight of these Spaniards, including Redondo J, are listed as having been incorporated in to 361 Company Pioneer Corps.
There is a very good Spanish book called “Los Espanoles de Churchill” by Daniel Arasa, which covers most units in the British Army where Spaniards served.
The Spanish members of 50th Middle East Commandos, and their fate on 31 May 1941 in Crete, were:
|Date Joined||Number||Name||Crete 31-May-1941|
|23-Aug-1940||6100501||Alorcon Gomez C||POW|
|23-Aug-1940||6100513||Fraile Guerra T||POW|
|23-Aug-1940||6100514||Fernandez Caballero J||Escaped|
|23-Aug-1940||6100517||Galarreta Manzanos L||POW|
|23-Aug-1940||6100523||Leon J||Not in Crete (Hospital)|
|23-Aug-1940||6100525||Luque Tirado A||Not in Crete|
|23-Aug-1940||6100527||Mena J||Not in Crete|
|23-Aug-1940||6100532||Pinera (?) L||Escaped|
|23-Aug-1940||6100536||Santiago B||Not in Crete|
|23-Aug-1940||6100537||Tavio (?) E||Not in Crete (Cyprus)|
|23-Aug-1940||6100539||Trancho Bartolomeu Moises||Escaped|
|23-Aug-1940||6100541||Valero Gimenez A||Escaped|
|23-Aug-1940||6100542||Vargas Crespo A||Not in Crete (Hospital)|
|11-Sep-1940||6100544||Arcos L||Not in Crete (Hospital)|
|13-Oct-1940||6100552||Balerdi Justo||Not in Crete|
|13-Oct-1940||6100554||Cleto Sanchez (?)||POW|
|13-Oct-1940||6100555||Geronimo J||Reported Missing but Escaped|
|13-Oct-1940||6100562||Martinez Pereira Francisco||POW|
|13-Oct-1940||6100563||Rodriguez J||Not in Crete|