Inglès, Pepita (1910-1937)

Pictured: some members of the Durruti column

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.

Nick Heath

Sources:

Article in French on the militias with mention of Pepita:
cras31.info/IMG/pdf/alarecherchedesfilsdelanuit.pdf
Biography of Pepita at:
http://www.dbd.cat/index.php?option=com_biografies&view=biografia&id=5002

Iturbe, Lola (1974). Women in the social struggle and in the Spanish Civil War

Marin Silvestre, Dolors. Pepita Inglès . Diccionari Biogràfic de Dones
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepita_Ingl%C3%A9s

Comments

Steven.
May 13 2017 18:25

A duplicate biography of this person was written, so I will include the text here and delete duplicate, so that eventually the two versions can be merged:

Quote:
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.

Nick Heath

Sources:

Iturbe, Lola (1974). Women in the social struggle and in the Spanish Civil War
Marin Silvestre, Dolors. Pepita Inglès . Diccionari Biogràfic de Dones
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepita_Ingl%C3%A9s

Battlescarred
May 15 2017 11:33

I've now updated the article with the additional info added, so gio ahead with deletion o duplicate, i you haven't already.