A short biography of Spanish anarchist Pepita Inglès, who fought and died with the Durruti Column.
Pepita Inglès was born around 1910 in Cartagena, Spain. She had little time at school, going out to work at an early age. However she managed to complete her education through self-study.
She moved to Barcelona with her partner Mariano Sanchez,She was involved in the street fighting in Barcelona on July 19th, 1936. With her partner, with whom she had had two children, she joined the Durruti Column on July 24th, along with others like Emilienne Morin, Palmira Jul, and Azucena Haro. They let their two chilren behind to be cared or 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 militarisation of the militias )despite this she returned to the front with the 119th Brigade pf Domingo Belmonte until 1939).
The Column was strafed by fascist planes on the road to Pina, and several militia women, appalled by the harshness of the war, returned to Barcelona. Pepita was not deterred and stayed with the Column. She lost her partner during the first attacks on Pina. She now joined the tank corps of the Column, driving the cobbled together armoured vehicles made in the workshops of Barcelona. As Lola Iturbe remarked when writing about Pepita, the armour of the tanks could be pierced by a Mauser bullet, and one had to have considerable will-power to drive one of these vehicles, whose interiors were boiling hot and asphyxiating.
She took part in the battles of Perdiguera, Villafria and Monts de Vaca. She subsequently fought in the attempt to capture Quinto on 19th November 1936.
A few weeks later she was involved in the attack on the hermitage of Santa Quiteria, which was a strategic point at the summit of the sierra of Alcubierre. Advancing in front of the main body of the Column, she was suddenly confronted by a group of Francoist soldiers who shouted out that they wished to change sides. This was a ruse and Pepita was captured and hustled towards the enemy lines at the point of bayonets. Some of her comrades, realizing that torture and a horrible death would be Pepita’s fate now advanced quickly. One of them detonated a bomb. When the smoke cleared, he himself, the fascist soldiers and Pepita were all dead.
Article in French on the militias with mention of Pepita:
Biography of Pepita at:
Iturbe, Lola (1974). Women in the social struggle and in the Spanish Civil War
Marin Silvestre, Dolors. Pepita Inglès . Diccionari Biogràfic de Dones