A short biography of Pepita Inglès,who fought and died with the Durruti Column
Josefa (Pepita) Inglès was born in Cartagena in 1910. She had hardly any primary or secondary education and had to educate herself. She moved to Barcelona with her partner Mariano Sanchez. She took part in the street fighting there which beat back the Francoist coup on July 19th 1936.
Filled with revolutionary enthusiasm she joined the Durruti Column with Mariano and with other women like Palmira Jul and Azucena Haro and parted for the Aragon front on July 24th leaving her two children behind to be cared for by others.
She became a good friend of Pilar Balduque who worked as a typist at the Column HQ. Pilar remained in this post until the miltarisation of the militias in July 1937( despite this she returned to the front with the 119th Brigade of Domingo Belmonte until 1939).
When the Column was on the road to Pina the Francoists bombarded it. This led to some leaving the Column but it did not deter Pepita. She decided not to return to Barcelona despite the offer to the women milicianas to demobilise and return to the rear. She took part in the capture of Pina de Ebro, during which Mariano lost his life. She then joined the tanks sections of the Column. These armoured vehicles had been manufactured in the Barcelona workshops by CNT workers but despite looking formidable their armour was easily pierced by a Mauser bullet. She showed considerable sangfroid and determination in dealing with the hot and airless atmosphere inside these vehicles.
Pepita took part in the Perdiguera offensive and the combats in the mountains of Villafria and of Vaca. She took part in the battle for Quinto, which lasted from 19th November 1936 until August 1937. She also took part in the battle that led to the occupation of the hermitage of Santa Quiteria in the Sierra de Alcubierre.
Pepita Inglès died after advancing ahead of her comrades in an attack on the Francoists. She was deceived by a group of Francoist troops who made out that they were surrendering. She was captured and marched back towards enemy lines at bayonet point. Realising the horrible fate that awaited Pepita before her death, probable torture and rape, a fellow militiaman threw a bomb which resulted in the deaths of himself, those of the Francoist squad and Pepita herself.
Iturbe, Lola (1974). Women in the social struggle and in the Spanish Civil War
Marin Silvestre, Dolors. Pepita Inglès . Diccionari Biogràfic de Dones