The end of guerrilla activity



Bernabé López Calle, known as ‘Comandante Abril’ and Pablo Pérez Hidalgo, ‘Manolo el Rubio’, were the leaders of the Fermín Galán Guerrilla Group. The former was an activist with the CNT anarchist union and the latter from the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). Some of the members were socialists, and others republicans.

This group came to an end with a killing in Algatocín (Málaga). The Guardia Civil colluded with the owners of a large house in which the guerrillas often used to eat. Officers hid in the roof and shot them at point-blank range as they dined. The isolation of their lifestyle, the actions of the Guardia Civil, the reprisals against their families, the betrayals and the lack of outside assistance put an end to guerrilla activity in Andalucía. Many combatants died during the fight and others succumbed to the long night of Francoism, but they all tried to bring back to Spain the light of social justice and freedom which the Republic had also brought to the Campo de Gibraltar.

 
 

The first group of guerrilla fighters to be consolidated in the mountains of Cádiz and Ronda was that of Pablo Pérez Hidalgo, who was also known as ‘Manolo el Rubio’, or ‘Rubio de Bobadilla’, although the name that Pablo and his companions gave to this first section was ‘the Stalingrad group’.  The next ones to be formed, in chronological order, were those of the Morenos of Cortes and Bernabé López Calle, who was also known as ‘Comandante Abril’.  

Pablo Pérez Hidalgo, with his colleague ‘El Asturiano’, was the first to focus his efforts on trying to bring together the fugitives who were acting in small groups in the Ronda mountains. In late 1939 and early 1940 he succeeded in uniting quite a large number, mainly communist militants who had fled and were operating in the mountains around Ronda and Estepona.  Pablo Pérez Hidalgo had been born in Bobadilla en 1911. He joined the Communist Party in 1931 and during his guerrilla activity he became the chief of staff of the Fermín Galán Antifascist Group, which was founded in February 1949. He stopped fighting on 18th December 1950, left his companions and hid in a cottage owned by his girlfriend Ana in the Genalguacil area, where he remained hidden until 23rd November 1976. After hiding away for 27 years, he gave himself up to the authorities and regained his freedom. He died on 4th December 1992.

 

The group formed by the Morenos of Cortes was perhaps the most unusual, because it was the only one with women members and it had close links with the Campo de Gibraltar, because some of the members had lived there for a long time. This group was led by three brothers, Diego, Julián and Francisco Moreno Barragán. They were active in the mountains between 1939 and 1951, the year in which Julián was shot in Sevilla. His two brothers had been killed earlier in confrontations with the Guardia Civil.  

 

Bernabé López Calle was born in 1899 in Montejaque (Málaga), to a poor and hardworking family.  When he was 22 he was called to do his military service and in 1921 he was sent to join the Morocco campaign, where he stood out for his bravery and daring. When he was 26, and married, he joined the Guardia Civil and worked in Barcelona and Sevilla. In March 1931 he was sent to Antequera, a month after the Second Republic had been declared. What happened on 18th July 1936 took him by surprise, and on that day, according to his brother Máximo, he decided to join the CNT and leave the Guardia Civil to fight on the side of the people. When Málaga fell into the hands of the rebels, the combat forces redeployed to Almería, where the militia of Pedro López, Bernabé’s brother, formed the 61st Infantry brigade and Bernabé was commissioned to lead it. When the war was over Bernabé was arrested, and released on 11th March 1942. He was placed on probation and returned to the village in which he had been born, Montejaque, and worked as a foreman on road construction. In 1943, when he became aware that he was going to be arrested again, he decided to leave and join the guerrilla action.  

On 2nd August 1945 he was appointed the head of guerrilla fighters in the Campo de Gibraltar, Cádiz and Málaga provinces, where he was already known as ‘Comandante Abril’. In February 1949 he was named Chief of Staff of the Fermín Galán Antifascist Group, which included men from the CNT and PCE. On 30th December 1949 he died in a confrontation with the Guardia Civil, at the Garganta del Jurado in the municipality of Medina Sidonia, after having been betrayed by his colleague Francisco Fernández Cornejo, who was known as ‘Largo Mayo’.

 

Links to find out more about the anti-Franco guerrilla movement:

- http://eprints.ucm.es/13421/1/T33187.pdf 
- http://www.garciabravo.com/cuadernos-de-la-guerrilla-antifascista-1.html 
- https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/5169197.pdf 
- https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernab%C3%A9_L%C3%B3pez_Calle 
- www.redroja.net/docs/La_guerrilla_antifranquista.doc


Bernabé López Calle, known as ‘Comandante Abril’, and Pablo Pérez Hidalgo, ‘Manolo el Rubio’, were the leaders of the Fermín Galán Guerrilla Group. The former was a militant with the CNT anarchist union, and the latter from the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). Some of the members were socialists, and others republicans.

The end of this group came with a killing in Algatocín (Málaga). The Guardia Civil colluded with the owners of a large house in which the guerrillas used to eat. They hid in the ceiling and shot them at point-blank range as they dined. The isolation of their lifestyle, the action by the Guardia Civil, the reprisals against their families, the betrayals and lack of outside help put an end to guerrilla activity in Andalucía. Many combatants died during the fight and others succumbed to the long night of Francoism, but they all tried to bring back to Spain the light of social justice and freedom which the Republic had also brought to the Campo de Gibraltar.