The story of the Basque Children - an overview
In April 1937 the ancient and historical town of Guernica was bombed by Hitler's air force, in support of the rebel General Franco as part of the Spanish Civil War. As food shortages worsened and the bombing intensified, the Basque government decided to evacuate children from the area. A total of 25,000 were evacuated to France, Belgium, Soviet Union Switzerland, Mexico and Denmark.
The British government, in a strict interpretation of the non-intervention agreement it held, eventually agreed to receive 4,000 Basque children provided they could be cared for without any government funding. Members of the public, churches and businesses were amongst those that rose to the challenge.
The children initially arrived at Southampton on 23 May 1937 and were sent to 'colonies' across the country, including Wherstead Park in Suffolk, where they stayed until February 1938 before being relocated to Wickham Market.
Images credited to BCA '37 UK - The Association for the UK Basque Children.