Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa
July 16, 2024

The Auxiliary Navy of the Basque Country

Biographies of The Basque Auxiliary Navy


Alejo Bilbao Beltran de Gebara (Bermeo, 1903-1973) Alejo Bilbao was a captain in the Merchant Navy and a member of the PNV and STV political parties. He first served on vessels belonging to the Naviera Vascongada shipping company. In November 1936, he was appointed first officer of the armed Bou trawler Euzkal-Erria. He was made commander in December when it became the Bizkaya. He was at the helm during the battle with the Velasco (15-11-36), capture the Pluto and the Palos (20 and 23-12-36) and rescued the Yorkbrook in the battle of Machichaco (5-3-37). He also completed numerous escort and surveillance services and took part in the bombing of Bermeo, occupied by the Italians (1-5-37). On 3-6-57, he was appointed Political Commissar of the destroyer Císcar, which took part in the last operations around Bilbao. He retired in July to show his solidarity with the Basque crews disembarked form the vessel and returned as commander to the Bizkaya. When the Bou trawler was handed over to the Cantabrian Sea Naval Forces, he was disembarked and appointed commander of Gazteiz on 22-8-37. It was taken prisoner in Santoña with the whole crew on the 27th August. He remained in prison until 1943 and then return to work for the Naviera Vascongada shipping company until he retired. He died in Bermeo.

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