When I Was a Child In Ferrol, Spain (1953-65)

Author: Eduardo Freire Canosa
(University of Toronto Alumnus)
E-mail: eduardofreireferrol@gmail.com

Ferrol in 1954

Civilians pledging allegiance to the flag at Plaza de España (1954)

Cando chove e fai sol, anda o demo por Ferrol
When it rains and the sun shines, the devil wanders over Ferrol


The modern history of Ferrol begins in the year 1726 when King Philip the Fifth named the fishing village of Ferrol, Cartagena and Cadiz respective seat of three newly created administrative and operational jurisdictions for the Spanish Navy. The designation eventually transformed the obscure fishing village into a shipyard and a major naval base that attracted and employed many local people whose mother tongue was Galician and many Spaniards whose mother tongue was Castilian. The working language of the Spanish Navy is of course Castilian, and so to get ahead in Ferrol you had to speak Castilian fluently. Here originated a division of class along mother-language lines that remains fairly true to this day: the establishment of Ferrol spoke Castilian only, the working class spoke Castilian and Galician indistinctly. Dates of special significance to the working class such as March 10, 1972, when riot police opened fire on a demonstration of shipyard workers killing two, are remembered in Galician, but the day-to-day language of Ferrol is Castilian.

Since the royal decree of 1726 the economic future of Ferrol has in last instance been linked to the willingness of the central government in Madrid to continue funding the shipyard and to the procurement needs of the Spanish Navy to guarantee a medium-term workload. This dependence triggered a sequence of economic busts and booms for the city. Thus the nineteenth century began in Ferrol with a profound bust. Under twelve vessels were built between 1800-1850. Beginning in the year 1847 the policy of the Ministry of the Navy under Queen Isabel II (Elizabeth the Second) led to the resurgence of the shipyard, and Ferrolians welcomed the Queen enthusiastically in 1858. The next crisis came toward the end of the nineteenth century due to a slow start in the construction of ironclads. Between 1909-1937 the Spanish government ceded management of the shipyard to a private company owned mostly by British interests. A boom in employment and production ensued, the tonnage launched increased fivefold. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) reduced activity until constitution of Empresa Nacional Bazán in the year 1947.

Ferrol was the birthplace of General Francisco Franco. When I was a child the official name of the city was "El Ferrol del Caudillo" (Ferrol of the Leader) in reference to the general. Detractors revised it to "El Ferrol del Bocadillo" (Ferrol of the Sandwich). Franco was an enigmatic figure. Although the last thing to associate with his dictatorship is respect for the Galician language or national aspirations, I heard it said that shortly after the outset of the Spanish Civil War the general came to Ferrol and spoke in Galician to an audience of shipyard workers who reacted enthusiastically. Franco did indeed use the Galician language to converse with Antonio de Oliveira Salazar former Prime Minister of Portugal. Moreover at the conclusion of a gala dinner held in A Coruña on September 6, 1958, maestro Adolfo Anta Seoane asked the general permission to play the proscribed Galician anthem. To everyone's amazement, the dictator granted it and stood up, a gesture immediately seconded by everyone present. A similar event took place on August 25, 1975, the final year of his life. Finally Mário Soares former Prime Minister of Portugal affirmed that declassified American documents show that Franco refused to co-operate with the Americans in a planned invasion of Portugal after the Revolution of the Carnations by alluding to his Galician roots, "I am Galician," he said, "and I do not accept that Portugal not become what it wants to become."

I remember as a child not seeing the dictator even though he was on a raised platform surrounded by navy brass in their immaculate white uniforms. The occasion was a military parade along the service road that rings the shipyard. The parade over, my mother pointed him out to me repeatedly as we passed by, but hard as I looked I could not make him out. I guess it was because he was shorter than I supposed him to be.


Clicking on a number will take you to the corresponding chapter right away

  1.    The Shipyard

  2.    The Military

  3.    Religion In the Streets

  4.    The Codders

  5.    Glimpses of the Ferrol That Was

  6.    The Local News for the Year 1954

  7.    The Local News for the Year 1955

  8.    The Local News for the Year 1959

  9.    The Local News for the Year 1961

10.    The Local News for the Year 1963

11.    The Local News for the Year 1964

12.    The Local News for the Year 1965 Until My Departure

13.    Puppets In the Park

14.    The Comics

15.    The Movies

16.    The Radio

17.    Gorses And Flowers

18.    The High School

19.    The Beach

20.    Radio Sounds Library

21.    Further Reading: New Subjects, Several Categories, Three Languages

1. The Shipyard

Empresa Nacional Bazan shield

When I was a child my father worked as a draftsman in Empresa Nacional Bazán. The perimeter of the shipyard was guarded by a whitewashed wall four meters high. Various gates segregated the employees. Workers entered through this door. Employees like Dad entered via another facing Cantón de Molins, the downtown gardens. The top brass used two other entrances secured by naval infantrymen. One is called "Dry Dock Gate" and it has a clock tower located beside the Monument to the Fallen in Africa. The second one is closest to the harbour and occupies the apex of the small triangular offset where the Obelisk of Fame stands.

A narrow sidewalk made of tiny-square paving slabs borders the long white wall. The sidewalk is offset from the ring road by plots of grass with trees, lamp posts and rounded cement edging. I remember strolling back from the harbour some summer night as a child with family and friends. I could not resist the temptation of tripping and balancing on the rounded edging. Our pace was relaxed, the conversation of the adults animated, the air mild: a brief interlude of bliss.

Empresa Nacional Bazán took off in the month of October, 1947, and began construction at a furious pace. Nine destroyers were launched between 1951-61,

At the same time Bazan was graduating to the construction of bulk carriers and oil tankers.

Bazan Apprentices

Bazan Apprentices

Many Bazan workers were trained by the company. Their apprenticeship started at the age of ten to fifteen. According to the feature article in La Voz de Galicia of Sunday August 29, 1954, apprentices could specialize in one of Machining, Drafting or Accounting. They signed up for an intensive 3-year training period subdivided into six semester courses. The teaching staff numbered thirty-seven for the theoretical courses. Daily classes ran from 7:45 AM to 8:30 PM. The trainees enjoyed a 3-month summer holiday during which they attended cultural seminars, went on paid trips, visited other factories and did recreational camping.

Beside the technical curriculum the shipyard enrolled all apprentices in sports and athletics. Gym classes were organized and run by three professional teachers assisted by nine instructors (Dad was one for a while). The factory organized year-round tournaments of track and field, basketball, soccer, swimming and longboat regattas. The factory grounds had a soccer field and a running track plus an excellent gymnasium with shower facilities and a basketball court. There was a second soccer field outside the shipyard a short sprint away.

The curriculum included singing classes, whose better pupils were selected for the musical groups of the state union, Educación y Descanso (Education and Relaxation). This state union promoted culture, sports and built more than twenty-five holiday residences and chalet towns for workers across Spain.

All apprentices took the same subjects in first year: Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry and Mechanical Drawing I.

Specialization began in the second. Those specializing in Machining or in Drafting took some of these courses: Physics, Mechanics, Marine Boilers I, Tooling, Descriptive Geometry and Projection, Metallurgy, Plumbing, Mechanical Drawing II and Electricity I.

Third-year courses included: Engines, Alternative Engines, Motors, Turbines, Lathes, Technical Sketching, Blueprint Reading, Foundry and Molding, Modeling, Marine Boilers II, Shipbuilding, Mechanical Drawing III and Electricity II.

The apprentices were not only graded on their courses, note was also taken of "their moral condition and work attitude." Successful graduates became regular employees of the company. Unsuccessful ones were hired as general-purpose laborers or helpers.

When I was a child the apprentices boasted their own bugle-and-drum band. Its members dressed in faded blue workwear. Whenever they appeared at the close of a military parade or in a religious procession the public applauded them the most.

Arsenal Football Club, season 1958-59

Team Arsenal, 1958-59 season

Bazan sponsored its own soccer club between 1947 and 1981. The name of the club was Arsenal. The team played in the Third Division of the Spanish soccer league until the year 1965. Dad would take us to watch Arsenal play on Sunday afternoons at the old Manuel Rivera Stadium after a brief stop over at a candy shop near the venue. There was no artificial lighting so the games started as early as 3:30 PM when the days were short or as late as 6:00 PM when they were long. In the cloudy days of late fall and early winter it would be getting dark by the time the game finished. The scoreboard was a steel panel with boards numbered 0-9. The scorekeeper inserted and replaced the boards manually. The public was made up mostly of men and children. Tobacco smoke filled the air and there were the inevitable swear words from a few fans in the stands. Some would bring transistor radios along to keep track of First Division matches. The playing field would shed most of its grass and turn muddy in the rainy season. Nando the goalkeeper is the player I remember best. He would walk onto the pitch clasping a cap which he would finally wear if the sun was shining or would throw into his own net, baseball style, if the afternoon was overcast.

On September 19, 1954, Arsenal played a regular season match before visiting officers and sailors of the Dominican Navy. Spanish military and civil authorities were also in attendance. The match started at 5:00 PM and the final score was 4-0.

The 1954-55 season was Arsenal's best. On Sunday Jan. 9, 1955, the team defeated Lugo 7-2 at home and qualified for a round-robin, eight-team tourney of promotion to Second Division in which first place alone promoted. Arsenal got off to a great start, but on Sunday Feb. 13 the team travelled to Burgos without Nando; he stayed home mourning the death of a son. The substitute goalie received four goals and the team scored only two. The following Sunday the team with Nando back in the lineup faced Torrelavega at home. The local referee disallowed a legitimate Arsenal goal in the ninth minute. The visitor played defensively for the remainder of the match and were lucky to score on a counterattack in the last minute of play. These two consecutive losses took the wind out of the team's sails. On April 17 Arsenal trailing by seven points played a home game against first place Indauchu. The game started at 5:00 PM and despite windy conditions Arsenal won 2-0. Next Sunday, with only two games left, they played their final home game and beat second-place Langreano 4-2. The crowd in the stadium gave the players a "deafening ovation" as they saluted from midfield at the end of the match. They next travelled to Valladolid where they lost the last game of the tourney, a mere formality. Arsenal finished third in the standings with a 6-3-5 record.

Between the years 1960 and 1965 the city's professional team Ferrol and the shipyard's Arsenal were direct Third Division rivals. The last time I recall watching them play was on Sunday March 3, 1963, when after a brilliant performance and leading 1-0, Arsenal threw the game away with two deliberate own goals in the final few minutes of play. Rumour had it that the match had been fixed to give Ferrol a chance to promote to Second Division at the end of the regular season. If memory serves me right, we never went back to watch another soccer game.

Bazan Basketball Team

Bazan Basketball Team ca. 1953   Playing style: "fast counterattack along the wings"

Bazan also sponsored its own men's and women's basketball teams. The men's A Team was good enough to play in the Second Division, and some say that the shipyard refused a berth in the First for financial reasons. On Monday June 1, 1953, Bazan won the Regions Federation Cup in Valladolid by defeating Español de Valencia 43-30. The newspaper Mundo Deportivo praised the speed of the Bazan players and singled out Rusghise [sic] as their best player, who was also the coach and whose real name was Michael P. Rutzgis.

The 1954 season was arguably Team A's best. In February Bazan played a home friendly against the Spanish national team, the game started at 7:30 PM and ended 69-57. Between May 11-13 Bazan played in the round-robin inter-regional championship held in Valladolid against Águilas de Valladolid, Real Valladolid and Covadonga de Gijón. On Tuesday May 11 Bazan beat Covadonga de Gijón 44-28 with "manifest superiority." On Wednesday Bazan defeated Águilas de Valladolid 59-43. The decisive game was played at noon on Thursday "under a blazing sun" against Real Valladolid. In a "colossal feat" Bazan won 54-39. The outstanding Bazan players of the series were Pardo, Lobón and Polo. The championship advanced the team to the Generalissimo's Cup in Madrid where they would face San Adrián de Barcelona, Estudiantes de Madrid and Real Madrid.

On Thursday May 20, 1954, Bazan left Ferrol for Madrid on the TAF. On Sunday at 7:00 PM Bazan beat San Adrián de Barcelona 64-46. On Monday at 11:00 PM Bazan defeated Estudiantes de Madrid 74-63. On Tuesday at 11:00 PM Bazan succumbed to Real Madrid 37-67. "The superiority of Real Madrid was evident, they were always ahead on the scoreboard." On Wednesday May 26 the team returned from Madrid. "Players of juvenile and junior basketball teams [and] many fans gave the Ferrol sportsmen an affectionate and cordial welcome home" at a transfer railway station forty-one kilometers away from the city.

A short note in the newspaper La Voz de Galicia of June 9, 1954, summed up the extraordinary season thus, "Our unreserved applause for Ruzgis [sic] and those sportsmen he so skilfully trains."

The format of the Generalissimo's Cup for the year 1955, held in Barcelona, was altered—rigged, one could argue—to favour a final between Madrid and Barcelona teams. On Friday May 20 the quarter finals of the Madrid Group started with six teams, Real Madrid, Bazan, S.D. Astur, Estudiantes de Madrid, Español de Barcelona and Águilas de Valladolid, split in two groups so the two teams from Madrid did not have to face each other. Every team played two games. On Saturday Bazan defeated S.D. Astur 79-48. On Sunday Real Madrid defeated Bazan 66-43, knocking it out of the competition.

Bazan would soon be demoted to the second group of the Second Division of the National Basketball League, a division euphemistically tagged First Division B. The basketball teams of this group were Galician plus one Castilian Maristas Champagnat de Salamanca. Bazan was the champion of the group for the 1957-58 season. The following year Bazan defeated U.D. Lucense 106-65 in the final and were champions again.

The golden years passed away with the nineteen fifties. La Voz de Galicia of February 24, 1961, remarked in passing, "The potential of the Bazan team has dropped sharply in the last two seasons," and four days later, "Bazan is not even the shadow of the powerful team of yesteryear."

I remember going at dusk with Dad and my two brothers to watch a basketball game in the gymnasium, the year may have been 1959. We entered the shipyard via the Workers Gate. The stands were few, the fans loud. I do not remember who played or what the final score was, but the mood was subdued, even downcast at the end of the match.

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2. The Military

Military parade in Ferrol

Military parade, 1965

When I was a child Ferrol was full of soldiers and sailors doing their compulsory military service. The military installations of Ferrol occupied around 20% of the real estate available. There were a fair number of parades held every year on the road that girded the protective wall of the shipyard. I enjoyed watching them until I grew old enough to realize that the unverified stories of how tough military service was on most conscripts might apply to me soon. One such story held that army sergeants who had killed a recruit could be identified easily because they were forced to wear a black armband. Incongruously many a serviceman attended yearly reunion banquets to celebrate with other comrades-in-arms the "good old times" in the barracks.

At the start of every year Town Hall would publish the names of 20-year-old males slated for compulsory military service. Local newspapers published the list and the citizenry was asked to snitch on the whereabouts of no-shows. Those listed had until January 11 to report to the local draft office or be suspected of draft evasion. La Voz de Galicia of Saturday January 23, 1954, published a roster of 49 young men in Ferrol who had not complied with the draft notice. Some might have emigrated without the military having been notified.

A measure of the size of the Armed Forces stationed in Ferrol was the yearly victory parade celebrating the Nationalist victory over the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. The parade of the year 1954 comprised four companies of sailors from the fleet, two companies from the maritime department corps, two companies of naval infantry, two companies of regular infantry and one battery of the coast artillery corps. Note: The term "battery of artillery" may refer to a group of guns or to a formation of men equivalent to one company (End of Note). A company on parade had 14 rows of nine men plus four leading officers, i.e. 130 men. Therefore ten companies would equal 1,300 men. The troops in the parade of 1955 were three companies of sailors, a battalion of naval infantry, a company of regular infantry and a battery of the coast artillery corps. If the overall number of men was the same both years it would imply that a battalion equaled six companies, i.e. 6 × 130 men = 780 men. Both years the apprentices' marching band closed the parade, the crowds watching were "very numerous" and applauded the participants heartily. The parade of the year 1959 had two battalions from the maritime department corps, a battalion of sailors from the fleet, a battalion of regular infantry, a battery of the coast artillery corps and a set of 88/56 anti-aircraft guns.

Another measure of the size of the Armed Forces stationed in Ferrol was the number of troops lining the route of the yearly Corpus Christi procession. Children of every parish took part in this procession along with the "children of Empresa Nacional Bazán," Town Hall in full, army commanders, artillery cadets, navy commanders, fleet commanders and the engineers of the shipyard. Armed soldiers and sailors lined the route and took their cap or helmet off, set the right knee on the pavement and tilted their firearm as the monstrance carrying the Sacred Host passed by under canopy. At the conclusion of the procession the troops staged a parade along the ring road. The itinerary of the procession of the year 1954 was covered by four battalions, one Army and three Navy, i.e. 4 × 780 men = 3,120 men.

A measure of the size of the fleet berthed at Ferrol is given by two news items that appeared in La Voz de Galicia during the month of September, 1954. On the 6th four destroyers departed and on the 15th a battle group of two cruisers escorted by four destroyers, a minelayer, a minesweeper and a torpedo ship sailed away.

From 1952 to 1961 the naval base was home to the First and Fourth Divisions of the Fleet with a total of two cruisers, six destroyers and many escort vessels.

From 1961 to 1965 Ferrol was home to the Naval Group of the North, a bureaucratic renaming which left the operational importance of the naval base unchanged.

The number of foreign military visits to the city increased with time. In the year 1954 the city welcomed U.S. Navy commissions on March 3, April 21 and September 2, an Italian mission on April 22, the Portuguese Defence Minister on July 26, a Dominican Navy division on September 21 and the French frigate L'Aventure on November 13. In the year 1955 it welcomed two separate American commissions, the first one between March 1-4 with at least 10 engineers on the roster, the second one on August 10. In addition an Egyptian military mission arrived on October 15. The French "corvette" Le Boulonnais arrived at 9:00 A.M. on June 22 and lingered for a 5-day visit. On July 7 USS Lewis Hancock and USS McGowan entered port at 1:00 PM to a very cordial welcome. "Two Spanish ships saluted the new arrivals with salvoes." The pair came and went as they pleased for several weeks. They were followed by USS Daly and USS Smalley on September 26.


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3. Religion In the Streets

Holy Week procession

Holy Week procession, nineteen fifties

Religion played a central role in the Ferrol of my childhood. Street-level displays of religiosity ranged from simple affairs like the blessing of a new store, or the taking of the Blessed Sacrament under canopy to sick parishioners, to the pageantry of Holy Week and the Corpus Christi procession of late spring.

Every pillar of Ferrol society had its patron saint, a date observed with a Mass and a fraternity meal. Bazan had two patron saints: St. Joseph (March 19) and Our Lady of Carmel (July 16) who was also the Navy's. On July 16, 1954, all shops in Ferrol closed except for bars and cafeterias. The Mass held at the co-cathedral was attended among others by the captain general of the maritime department, the military governor of the base and the mayor. The chorale of the shipyard sang during the service and a company of naval infantry waited outdoors. The public was "very numerous." On the eve of St. Joseph, 1955, the shipyard rewarded the oldest and most reliable worker with an important sum of money: the beneficiary was a shop sheet-metal worker.

Every branch of the military stationed in Ferrol had its patron saint. The patron saint of the regular infantry was the Immaculate Conception (December 8). On this day of 1954 a solemn Mass was held in the co-cathedral at 11:00 AM. The Mass was presided by the captain general of the maritime department, the military governor of the base, the mayor, the admiral of the fleet and the rear admiral of the arsenal. The Association of Ladies of the Immaculate Conception also had their place of honour. Many other local officials were present, army and navy officers and commanders and "a very numerous public." A company of regular infantry made up the guard of honour. A military parade followed the Mass. Garrisons served their troops a special meal. The following day a Requiem Mass was celebrated at 11:00 AM for the eternal rest of all dead infantrymen. The patron saint of the artillery corps was St. Barbara (December 4). On this day of 1955 the pattern was repeated: solemn Mass in the co-cathedral at 11:00 AM, a battery of coast artillery as honour guard, and the next day a Requiem Mass at 11:00 AM for the eternal rest of all dead artillerymen.

Every major organization and trade had its patron saint. The patron saint of the School of Commercial Agents was Our Lady of Hope (December 18). On Saturday December 19, 1954, the School attended a solemn Mass in the co-cathedral at 11:00 AM. At noon a new center was inaugurated and blessed, the invited guests toasted with a glass of Spanish wine. A midday meal followed in a downtown restaurant. On Monday December 21 a Requiem Mass was held at 11:00 AM for the eternal rest of all dead commercial agents. The following year the celebration which fell on a Sunday acquired "extraordinary splendour." The solemn Mass in the co-cathedral was presided by the president of the School, the captain general of the maritime department, the deputy mayor, a corvette captain, the local leadership of the fascist Falange Española and the president of the port authority for public works. Again the public was "very numerous." The Requiem Mass was held at 11:00 AM on Monday. Note: Requiem Masses for all dead members of a profession were fairly common, e.g. on the Day of the Book, 1954, a Mass was held in the co-cathedral for "all dead Spanish writers" (End of Note). The patron saint of watchmakers and jewellers was St. Eloy (December 1). On this day of 1955 they had Mass in the co-cathedral at 12:00 noon for all dead watchmakers and jewellers. Town Hall feted the living professionals with a "fraternity meal" in one of its chambers at 2:00 PM. There was also an evening party with dinner and dancing. The patron saint of Radio Ferrol was the archangel St. Gabriel (March 24 until the year 1969). And on it went.

Doing a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was also an obligation for many workers. On Sunday August 29, 1954, a delegation of a thousand shipyard workers and employees made Bazan's official pilgrimage by train. Between 350 and 400 apprentices had set out on foot three days earlier, "equipped with all the required provisions including camping gear." The official delegation was headed by the chairman of the shipyard; he made the "offering to the apostle." On September 26 of that same year Town Hall made its official pilgrimage: "around 1,500 Ferrolians gained the Jubilee of Holy Year last Sunday," reported the newspaper on the Tuesday. The citizens travelled on chartered buses, the police rode motorcycles.

The year 1954 was particularly fervorous. On Easter Sunday a "solemn act of Easter communion" took place at the Hospital of Charity escorted by a platoon of naval infantry with regimental flag, squad of fusiliers and marching band. The patients were served an extraordinary meal. On Sunday May 9 a throng brought the Virgen de Chamorro icon in procession from its hermitage on a high place three kilometers away. Thousands of citizens accompanied the statuette "on her triumphal entry to Ferrol." There was Mass at the Home of the Apprentices with full attendance. The icon stayed in the city for one week, conveyed from parish to parish. On the afternoon of the 12th it was carried to the co-cathedral amid "crowds, emotion, devotion and fervour" and there it remained until the journey back to the high place on the 15th. At 7:30 PM that same day another icon was brought from a church six kilometers away. Previously Town Hall had urged everyone to festoon their balconies. The arrival of the second icon was an "apotheosis"; the statuette was greeted by crowds, the military and Town Hall. On June 16, 1,000 carrier pigeons were released at Plaza de Armas as the Corpus Christi procession reached the square. On Sunday August 15 a Catholic association of nighttime worshipers celebrated "its golden wedding anniversary." Many members of the association came by train from other parts of Spain to take part. There was Mass at the co-cathedral, a procession, an official reception at Town Hall and a complimentary cruise around the bay (a cruise in the year 2012). Even a spokesman for the "Generalissimo" sent a telegram of congratulations. Another grand occasion was the "Day of the Hispanic Race" (October 12). A solemn Mass was held at the co-cathedral "to consecrate the city of Ferrol to the Immaculate Heart of Mary," and the newspaper reported that "the naves overflowed with people."

The pageantry of Holy Week was the highlight of every year; the first record of a Ferrolian procession dates from the year 1616. Palm Sunday had the cheeriest processions, palm-carrying children and no pointed hoods. The Christ of Navigators procession on Holy Wednesday is the oldest. There were no pointed hoods and its circuit hardly left the circumscription of what used to be the fishermen's quarter. This was not an "official" procession, yet one of the more deeply felt. On April 6, 1955, its marching sequence was a band of bugles and drums followed by a pole cross and two pole candlesticks, rows of male and female devotees, among them "many navy oficers and commanders," fishermen and sailors, a float with the image of the Christ borne on the shoulders of navymen, an escort of navymen, parish clergy and last a naval infantry band of bugles and drums. A "large number" of the faithful was present. Behind the float walked the mayor, a navy commander and a retired vice admiral. Through traffic was diverted to the ring road from noon on Holy Thursday until Saturday. Holy Friday had the greatest number of processions, "Holy Burial" was the gloomiest. The last one set out at 11:00 PM and went by the Galician nickname, Os Caladiños (The Dear Quiet Ones). I remember watching it with my parents and brothers once. On April 8, 1955, its marching sequence was headed by the brotherhoods of Jesus the Nazarene and of St. John the Evangelist (red hoods and capes, white robes) then a first float with the image of St. John the Evangelist, followed by the brotherhoods of Our Lady of Mercy (green hoods and capes, white robes) and Holy Burial (black hoods and capes, black robes with golden embroidery) then a second float with the throne image of Our Lady of Sorrows, parish council and secular authorities, brotherhoods of Our Lady of Sorrows, Sacred Supper, Christ of Mercy and Our Lady of Piety. The presidents of the various brotherhoods walked together at the close. This was the only procession without a military band (hence its nickname).

The Corpus Christi procession was the second highlight of the religious year. Traditionally children did their first communion in a late morning Mass that day. The procession set off at 6:00 PM from the co-cathedral. On June 9, 1955, it made temporary stops at makeshift altars put up on behalf of the civil government, Town Hall, Falange Española, Navy and the shipyard. The newspaper of May 28, 1959, gave the location of the altars: the Army's at the military government building, the altar of Town Hall at Plaza de Armas, the altar of Falange Española at Plaza de Amboage, the Navy's at Navy Command Headquarters and Bazan's at the esplanade in front of the co-cathedral. Bazan's choir performed in the co-cathedral and at Town Hall square. A "traditional blessing of the sea" was performed at the Paseo de Herrera lookout. The newspaper recorded that "the gonfalon of the Most Blessed was carried by the state prosecutor accompanied by the principal of the high school and by the chairman of Bazan."

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4. The Codders

Harbour of Ferrol

The Harbour in the Year 1950

Acknowledgement: Mr. Anxo Grandal d'Anglade pointed out the correct locations of the P.Y.S.B.E. building (where his father worked as a draftsman) and of the Fish Exchange via e-mail sent to me on Friday June 14, 2019. He also kindly invited me to download photographs from his Google Album on Ferrol, which I have done (e.g. the Bazan women's basketball team, a new hyperlink of Chapter 1, "The Shipyard").

It was probably the year 1957. Dad and I were down at the harbour and in our stroll we chanced across a pair of codders side by side, the dockside vessel moored to a bollard. "These ones go to Newfoundland." Newfoundland. The placename conjured up images of thick fog, driving rain, snow and ice, endless gales and heroic walnut-sized boats braving monstruous waves. I could but look on the vessels admiringly.

P.Y.S.B.E. Company financed the cod fishing enterprise. The acronym stood for Pesquerías Y Secaderos de Bacalao de España, a Basque business with headquarters in Pasajes that had a second base and factory in Ferrol. The company owned a couple of buildings in the harbour, the "ice factory" (foreground of the above photograph) and a two-storey building. The names of some P.Y.S.B.E. ships that used the port were Euskalherria, Galerna, Hispania, Mistral, Tifón and Tramontana. Most dated from the nineteen twenties. In January of 1955 Bazan took on the maintenance and repair of four.

There was a second codder company named P.E.B.S.A. with headquarters in A Coruña. Their ships bore the name of female saints, and so together with the Portuguese codders that followed the same tradition, they were known to Newfoundlanders as "Santa's Ships": Santa Amalia, Santa Elvira, Santa Inés and Santa Rita among others. For their part Ferrolian fishermen dubbed St. John's Signal Hill, "Chamorro." The twelve P.E.B.S.A. boats dated from the nineteen forties and fifties, most were built by the rival shipyard Astano, five kilometers away from Ferrol by road. The last one slid down the slipway at 4:30 PM on March 25, 1959. Its name was Santa Regina and the newspaper dubbed it "a magnificent codder."

All sources agree that a codder's life was very tough.

Whoever has sailed in the area of the Grand Banks will know that the temperature is usually below freezing during the winter and that the area is well known for the fierceness of its storms, which coming one after the other, afford no respite to the crews and make seafaring in these waters difficult. I had the experience of working on deck deep in the month of November at Port-Cartier and I can guarantee you that I finished the job virtually frozen. And this happened on a modern boat with excellent heating and with the deck fifteen meters above sea level. Now let my readers imagine the small steamboats of nearly a hundred years ago plying the heavy seas—smooth seas, they called them—with scant heating and with the crew labouring on deck having little protection against the temperature, stationed hardly a meter above sea level, skinning and cleaning the cod fish (a chore that caused eczema and skin irritation) and being periodically exposed to deck-clearing waves for which only a small contraption was provided...to hang on to. Working without rest until prostration set in...without a water closet, with permanent humidity and temperatures below freezing. Add to this the absence of doctors or medicines, the lack of privacy or hygiene, exhaustion and the neurosis caused by the working conditions and one will grasp the way of life of these courageous and hardy mariners.


May 26, 1955: Sinking of the Tifón

The sinking of the Tifón. May, 1955

On June 1, 1955, the newspaper reported tersely that the codder "Tifón" had sunk off Newfoundland and that the entire crew had survived. Ochoa explains that Portuguese ship Invicta rammed the Tifón accidentally and sank it within eleven minutes. Most of the crew was picked up by the trawler Álvaro Martins Homem. Ochoa states that the "Tifón" had its hold full and that providentially the accident occurred in relatively tranquil seas, for about an hour later another storm blew in and the rescue would not have been possible then. The Portuguese references give the date of the mishap as May 26.

Ochoa, Peio Urrutia. "El Gran Banco de Terranova: mareas, mitos y miserias" Itsas Memoria. Revista de Estudios Marítimos del País Vasco, 4, pp. 595-618. 2003: Untzi Museoa Donostia


Codder's Friend: L'Aventure

French frigate L'Aventure

P.Y.S.B.E. paid homage to the French crew of L'Aventure in the year 1961. The frigate provided mailing services and meteorological data, warned about the location of ice floes, transported the sick and injured and maintained constant radio communication with the fishing boats.

L'Aventure's captain Blanchard remarked in his book "L'Aventure Et Ses Terres-Neuvas" (1952: Edition France Empire) that "the French and Portuguese mariners get along quite well and render each other mutual services," that the French mistrust the Spaniards and that "relations between Canadian and foreign fishermen are not cordial."

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5. Glimpses of the Ferrol That Was

Plaza de España

Plaza de España before my departure

The streets of Ferrol compose a perpendicular grid with its main axis (Calle Real) aligned northeast-southwest and partitioned by three squares, outermost Plaza de España, central Plaza de Armas where the city hall is located, and harbour-nearest Plaza de Amboage. The first one is now a pedestrian zone. The trees of the Town Hall square were cut down and the pavement is cracked in spots. Plaza de Amboage is the least altered.

This short train ride from Ferrol to the hamlet of Neda was also filmed before my departure.

In the mid-fifties Town Hall created a small artificial beach on the seafront beside the harbour. A snack bar accessible by a raised boardwalk was installed and the beach was ironically named Copacabana.

The Harbour in the Year 1958

Harbour in the year 1958

Courtesy of  Cristóbal Ramírez Gómez (this webpage)

Old Postcards And Year

  1. Plaza de Armas (1959)

  2. Mouth of the Firth of Ferrol (1960)

  3. View of Ferrol from the hermitage of Chamorro (1960)

  4. Ducks in the pond at the municipal park (1960)

  5. Post and Telegraph Office (1960)

  6. The Ring Road (1961). Shipyard is on the left, Cantón de Molins is on the right

  7. Swans in the pond at the municipal park (1961)

  8. Port of Ferrol (1961)

  9. Grand Hotel of Tourism (1962)

  10. Typical Ferrolian family in Cantón de Molins (1963)

  11. The beach of A Frouxeira (Valdoviño) (1964)

  12. Fishermen's dock (1964)

  13. Ornamental fountain in the municipal park (1964)

  14. Peek behind the whitewashed wall (1964)

  15. Plaza de Armas (1964-65)

  16. Plaza de España (1965)

  17. Two-storey ice factory (1965)

  18. Another peek behind the whitewashed wall (1965)

Mostly Old Photographs

  1. Plaza de Amboage

  2. Barbershop "El Fénix" where I used to get my hair cut (near Cantón de Molins)

  3. Another view of the port of Ferrol (ca. 1958)

  4. Plaza de España (ca. 1961). Notice the sparse traffic

  5. A recent photo of the Firth of Ferrol

Not So Pretty: A Working Class Suburb

  1. Year 1962

  2. Year 1963

  3. Year 1963

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6. The Local News for the Year 1954

The source for the information contained in this chapter is the partial archive of the newspaper La Voz de Galicia found in the local library. Some of the information garnered has proven useful elsewhere (e.g. the training of the shipyard's apprentices). Only the years 1954, 1955, 1959 and 1961 were archived between 1953-65. Although every page of the newspapers was interesting I focused mainly on the half-page section titled Ferrol Al Dia (Ferrol Update).

The newspapers had a little information about the previous year 1953. That year Spain signed a religious agreement with the Holy See and a defence pact with the United States of America. Franco stated in his New Year's address that the previous year 1953 had been "one of the most outstanding and fecund of our History" despite the "great drought." The number of births registered in Ferrol during 1953 was 709 boys and 721 girls. I was one of the boys. The municipal library had 25,532 readers, 28,721 books had been read and 6,536 books had been delivered to private households.

The following table contains newsdata for the year 1954 based on a sample of 236 newspapers. In addition to the absence of a Monday newspaper some seventy pages of the "Ferrol Al Dia" column were torn off deliberately by a previous user. This mischief impacted the months of October and November most.

The first field of every line below specifies the item. The second field is the number of cases reported. The third is the estimated number of cases for the year, obtained by multiplying the second field by 1.55 (i.e. 365 ÷ 236) and rounding off.

The census of June 5, 1954, gave 70,280 duly registered and 9,145 unregistered inhabitants of Ferrol for a total population of 79,425.

Statistical Table


  9. E.S.L. Teacher position offered by Navy Command Headquarters.
16. Fox hunt in the countryside.
21. Town Hall will penalize the affixing of commercial posters to building facades.
28. 28-year-old man throws himself in front of a moving tram and pulls himself out of harm's way at the last moment.
30. All itinerant photographers in possession of Leica cameras must report to the police station.
31. Compulsory diphtheria vaccination for all children between nine months and fourteen years old. Note: I got the needle (End of Note).


Snowfall in Ferrol, 1957

Snowfall in Ferrol, Year 1957

  2. Snowfall, probably under an inch.
  9. Woman fined for selling loaves of bread below the government-fixed price (rationing in effect).

Municipal ambulance starts to operate.
10. Angry editorial flogs the public telephone conference center. "The conferences meant for booth 5 were heard in booth 27, booth 27's in booth 28, booth 28's in booth 3 and every conference was audible in booth 6."
13. U.S.A. Food Aid packages were distributed among the needy at the municipal welfare office.
14. Power shutdown scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30 AM to carry out repairs in the grid.
18. Editorial warns about "organized begging" on the main street.
19. Pool of eight shipyard workers scores 14/14 on the state-run sports lottery and earns 267,586 Pesetas.
28. Town Hall sends a telegram congratulating the dictator for receiving the Grand Collar of the Supreme Order of Christ.

Stranger hugs a man to pick his pocket and pilfer 300 Pesetas.

Another man finds a wallet on the street and turns it over to the police.


Ramón Otero Pedrayo

Ramón Otero Pedrayo

Viviendas del Ejercito

Year 1954 Army condominium

13. Prof. Otero Pedrayo gave a public lecture at a guild headquarters. The talk started at 8:00 PM and carried the title, "Sentiment and Conscience of the Immortal in Galician Poetry." The organizers installed a "potent set of loudspeakers to ensure perfect audibility." The lounges were "filled to capacity with a select audience." Large delegations from Santiago de Compostela and Lugo attended. The speaker displayed "great brilliance." At the conclusion Pedrayo was "greatly applauded and complimented."

The following is a summary of his talk,

Among peoples of the West with Celtic roots—or at least with a Celtic determinant—the concept of life is never positivist in the sense of temporal limitation. Owing to the force of imagination enhanced by the teachings of the Gospel they believe in immortality. Their philosophy is "saudade" (homesickness). And other abstractions. Let us not forget the idealism of Bishop Berkeley.

The lyrical poetry of Galicia may seem fractured in its literary forms to outsiders, but it abode firm and steady with the people since the beginning. Belief in [the authenticity of the sepulchre of] St. James and in the pilgrimage [to Santiago de Compostela] is possible only with a clear conscience of immortality.

In the great Galician poetry of the nineteenth century Pastor Díaz appears as the genuine Romantic who foresees his relief in the immortal.

The sense of the immortal in Rosalía and in Pondal is apprehended and manifests itself through affliction, through suffering in Rosalía and with a clear conscience of the ethnic in Pondal.

In the other poets, in the very interpretation of the landscape and of the people, one perceives at every turn the attraction of and confidence in immortality, which the delay sometimes makes painful. The poetry can be understood as an argument against the limitation of death.

14. Power shutdown scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 AM.

Trees shading a road were chopped down by unknown felons.
16. Four men fined for singing in the street after midnight.
17. Improvement work on the Batallones soccer field has started.
18. Editorial denounces that the ducks in the pond of the municipal park are not being fed and that the water is dirty.

Oil tanker "Almirante F. Moreno" leaves port on its maiden voyage.
26. Inauguration of a condominium (above right) for officers and commanders of the army at Plaza de España. The building has fifty-six flats. Each flat consists of five bedrooms, an office room, dining room, living room, kitchen and bathrooms. Present at the inauguration was Mohammed ben Mizzian ben Kassen the captain general of the eighth military region.
30. 30-year-old mechanic arrested for stealing copper and tin from the shipyard by impersonating a crew member of oil tanker "Almirante F. Moreno."
31. 12-year-old girl drowned when a plank of this railway bridge gave way.


José Gonzalez Collado

José Gonzalez Collado

  1. 10-year-old child was run over by a truck. Died on April 3. A "very numerous" crowd accompanied the casket to the graveyard. His school teacher asked the newspaper to publicize the dire need for a traffic signal near the school. This was the second traffic accident there in a year.
  2. Editorial decries the vandalism of street lamps. Adults and children are guilty of smashing light bulbs with stones. As a result between 300 and 400 lamp bulbs need replacing every month.
  4. Ten-day exhibition of paintings by local artist González Collado (self-portrait above) in the casino. On April 7 the newspaper reported that a "very numerous public" keeps visiting the exhibit and that many paintings have been sold.
  6. Enthusiastic welcome for two members of the fascist División Azul returned from a Soviet concentration camp on April 2nd along with two hundred and eighty-four fellow inmates. The two were greeted at the train station by the mayor, aldermen, town and county figures of Falange Española, its Women's Branch and its Youth Front, and by a "very numerous public." There was a street parade, a Mass and an official reception in Town Hall.
  8. Editorial denounces the deplorable state of public washrooms. There is no maintenance, obscene graffiti abounds and the facilities are filthy.

Naval infantry brass band gives a public concert in the gardens of Navy Command Headquarters at 6:00 PM.
19. Around 11:45 AM this morning a "very luminous object bigger than a 5 Peseta coin" (3.2 cm diameter) crossed the sky in a southeast-northwest direction leaving a contrail plus a very intense smell to gunpowder.
20. Two butchers fined for selling meat on a holiday.
21. Israeli vessel Atlit in port for repairs.
24. New trams have gone into service.
25. Legal prices for loaves of bread are: 1 kg loaf, 5 Pesetas ♣ ½ kg loaf, 2.60 Pesetas ♣ 100 gram loaf, 0.60 Pesetas.

Two basketball games in the gymnasium involving four local teams at 11:00 AM and 12:00 noon.
29. High school student finds wallet, father turns it over to the police.
30. Various Professional Activities Union (state-run) convenes a meeting in the Old Town Hall tomorrow at 12:15 PM for all draftsmen and geometricians. Note: Dad went, I guess (End of Note).


José Iturbi Báguena

José Iturbi Báguena

  2. Charity performance in Teatro Jofre scheduled for May 7. Proceedings will go toward the purchase of textbooks for deprived students.
  3. Water main shutoff scheduled from 9:00 to 11:30 AM.
  9. Fiestas de Ferrol committees will visit every house asking for funds, the name of donors and the amount given will be made public.

Women's basketball in the gymnasium at 11:00 AM and 12:00 noon.
14. 2-year-old baby bitten by "a reptile."
15. Bread delivery boy ran away with the cash, 650 Pesetas. Arrested.
16. More women's basketball at the gymnasium, 11:00 AM and 12:00 noon.
18. Town Hall serves notice that over the next three days a military commission will inspect all horses, mules and asses taken to the fair near the Central Market Esplanade.
19. Piano concerto given by José Iturbi in Teatro Jofre. Starting time 8:00 PM.
23. Friendly soccer match Ferrol vs Tura Hennef at 5:00 PM. Final score: Ferrol 4, Tura-Hennef 1. "Clear superiority of the home team" although it is also noted that "the German players were tired after their long trip."
25. Items in police custody at the Lost/Found office: a wallet, a Brazilian passport, keys, a pair of children's shoes, some cash.
28. Artillery Corps Language Diploma recipients: 5 for the English language, 1 for French, 1 for French and English.
30. Editorial pours scorn on housewives' "frequent" complaint about household pests ("mice, cockroaches, ants, etc.").
31. Launch of oil tanker "Almirante Manuel Vierna" at 2:30 PM. Numerous officials were present, among them the Minister for the Navy, the widow of Admiral Vierna, the naval base admiral, the bishop and the captain general of the eighth military region.

18-year-old girl injured by an exploding firecracker flung at her deliberately.


  6. Town Hall will check the weights and balances used by shopkeepers from tomorrow until the 12th.
  7. Cruiser "Canarias" returned at 8:15 AM from a voyage to Equatorial Guinea.
11. Fox donated to the municipal park. Note: Years later I saw the animal horribly mistreated. Park employees (presumably) caged the fox in a cement wall niche, the poor animal had just enough room to stand on its hind legs and attempt to leap over a metal fence indefinitely (End of Note).
13. Galician chess champion José Alonso Leira returns from a "brilliant" performance in Switzerland and Italy. Of four games he played, he won two and drew two.
14. Compulsory smallpox vaccination for all children between six months and seven years old. Note: I got the needle again (End of Note).
21. Around 6:00 PM a 28-year-old woman (Josefina Regueira Romero) stabbed a 57-year-old man to death at Plaza de España. He was an artillery corporal (Arturo López Rodríguez). See also May 12, 1955.
23. An 8-year-old boy failed to clear one of the many bonfires lit on St. John's Eve. Lightly charred.
29. Two peacocks destined for the municipal park.


José Alonso Leira

José Alonso Leira

  1. Tribute to José Alonso Leira, chess champion of Galicia for ten consecutive years.
  6. 16-year-old boy seriously injured trying to board a moving tram.
  7. Local police releases the statistical briefing for the first semester: 690 traffic offences, 75 fines for letting a dog outdoors without a muzzle, 465 reports of milk adulteration by milkmaids or of unclean milk containers, 97 reports of garbage dumping on the street at night, 198 fines for singing or for raucous behaviour at night.
11. Regatta trial from La Cabana to Ferrol, a distance of 1,600 meters.
16. A man punches a female renter and throws her furniture onto the street. Arrested.
20. Fortuitous find of "a pearl of excellent quality" in a clam. The pearl measured 5 millimeters diameter.
23. Two physical assaults: on a 36-year-old bricklayer and on a 30-year-old widow.

Official summer holidays in Empresa Nacional Bazán start tomorrow Saturday and run until Sunday August 8.
26. Official visit by the Portuguese Defence Minister. He came accompanied by the Spanish Minister for the Army. "Plaza de España crowded." A regular infantry company formed the guard of honour. He toured the city's military base, was toasted at Town Hall, had lunch at Navy Command Headquarters with music provided by the naval infantry brass band, toured the naval base of A Graña across the bay and went to the municipal park where the chorale Toxos E Froles gave a recital in his honour. He left "deeply touched" by the reception.
27. Official visit by twenty-five members of Mocidade Portuguesa.

Town Hall urges everyone to use water sparingly.
30. More regattas in the bay.
31. Blessing of a drugstore and of a ballroom next door.

Snipe class regatta qualification round for the upcoming international competition in Lisbon.


Royal Netherlands Navy minesweeper Hr.Ms. Putten

Hr.Ms. Putten

  2. "A very numerous public" watched an afternoon aeromodelling show in the Town Hall square organized by the Youth Front. "Hierarchies and authorities" were also present.
10. 13-year-old girl was run over by a car.

61-year-old man bitten by a dog.
13. Local policeman bitten by a dog.
15. Three men were involved in a street brawl. Their ages: 42, 28 and 45.
22. Power shutdown scheduled from 9:00 to 11:00 AM to carry out repairs in the grid.
24. Summertime charity raffle stand in the downtown gardens was inaugurated and blessed this evening by the bishop of Palencia.
28. Fiestas de Ferrol commence.

One-year-old baby girl bitten by a dog.

Motorcycle collided with a truck.
31. Royal Netherlands Navy minesweeper Putten (above) put into Ferrol to disembark a sick sailor, his name was Joan Jemssen, he was suffering from appendicitis and got operated on at the Navy Hospital.

Newspaper congratulates María Rosa Frade Martínez for having obtained a university scholarship, she is the daughter of a shipyard employee.

318 homes will be built by the state workers union.

Prize winning numbers at the summertime charity raffle stand: #15094 wins a complete bedroom set, #5993 wins a motoscooter, #1109 wins a gold watch, #5798 wins a washing machine, #22013 wins a sewing machine and #12960 wins a radio.


  1. Skeet competition. First prize: 25,000 Pesetas. Consolation prize: 5,000 Pesetas.

Bus and tram collision. No one hurt.
  3. 6-year-old girl falls from a fig tree.

Twenty sailboats took part in the second qualification round of snipe class regattas.
  4. Basketball game at 7:00 PM.

Two bicycles stolen.

Four boxing matches at the municipal stadium.
  5. Second Golden Trophy Concepción Arenal disputed between soccer clubs Atlético de Madrid and Valencia in the municipal stadium at 4:30 PM. Rainy afternoon. Stadium half full. Final score: Valencia 5, Atlético de Madrid 4.
  6. Four destroyers left port.
  7. Another local policeman bitten by a dog (see August 13).

Raincoat stolen.
12. Steamboat "Archancha" arrived with a cargo of lumber from Equatorial Guinea.
15. The following warships departed: two cruisers, four destroyers, a minelayer, a minesweeper and a torpedo ship.
19. Division of the Dominican Navy arrives to Ferrol. The visiting military brass band gave a concert in the downtown gardens at 7:30 PM.
21. The chorale Toxos E Froles gave a farewell performance for the Dominican Navy on the departure wharf at 7:00 PM.


  5. 23-year-old carpenter was run over by a horse-drawn cart.
12. Motorcycle meet in Plaza de España at 1:00 PM. "Several thousand spectators."
13. Editorial denounces rampant "militant hooliganism." Many public lighting bulbs are smashed with slingshots. "There is no regard shown for anything that is a token of civic values or civilization...they muddy up a statue or the facade of a new building...they brag about being drunk singing obscene songs."
15. Bazan team travels to Cádiz to take part in the national swimming competition.
16. Rotating blackouts scheduled from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM in all neighbourhoods. Store showcase windows may use only one light bulb with a maximum power of 100 W.
26. Editorial insists that secondary roads must be improved.

Rough seas delay the arrival of HMS Gladan and HMS Falken.


  4. Rough seas delay the arrival of French frigate L'Aventure until the 13th.
16. The frigate is being visited by "many" Ferrolians. French consul M. Chaulet has invited the crew and local officials to a joint luncheon.
17. L'Aventure departed at 8:30 AM.

Three helicopters flew over Ferrol yesterday causing a bit of a stir.
18. Public campaign underway to purchase a washing machine for the Destitute Seniors Home.

Gender-rated pay scale prescribed by the Ministry of Labour for the cleaning staff of the tram company. Men: 9.90 Pesetas/hour. Women: 1.65 Pesetas/hour.
20. Funeral Mass in the co-cathedral for the founder of Falange Española. Declared day of national mourning.
27. Catfight in Plaza de España between milkmaids.
29. Two Bazan workers died and one was seriously injured around 6:30 PM when two cranes collided, derailed and fell on top of a group of workers sheltering from a heavy thundershower. "The news caused deep consternation throughout the city." Ferry boats out on the bay during the storm had great difficulty staying afloat. "The sea displayed a horrific aspect and the number of lightning bolts that struck the surrounding areas was enormous." As a result of the storm two fishermen drowned in the bay, their corpses washed ashore on December 9.
30. The two workers killed yesterday were buried at 12:00 noon. "A crowd of workmates and friends" made up the cortege.


  1. Bus skidded on wet pavement and overturned, three passengers hurt.

78-year-old woman hurt trying to board the tram.

15-year-old construction worker (general helper) hurts himself in fall from scaffolding.
  2. Town Hall hires Empresa Nacional Bazán to improve the water supply network.
  4. Town Hall decrees mandatory veterinary inspections before the private slaughter of domestic pigs.
  8. Street procession of the Immaculate Conception at 4:00 PM. The image will be carried by pupils and former pupils of Daughters of Christ the King School.

Firefighters draft a large pool of stagnant rainwater near the municipal stadium.
17. All sellers of charcoal and firewood are required to carry a state union membership card.

Butcher arrested for selling meat in poor condition.

7-year-old boy was run over by a taxi.
19. Charity soccer match at 4:00 PM pits "Lawyers and Newspapermen" versus Navy Sailors. Ticket prices as follows. Covered seating stand: 10 Pesetas. Others: 5 Pesetas. Children and military personnel: 2 Pesetas.
22. Daily affluence of "a very numerous public" to the nativity scenes in two churches. The artistry on display is commended highly.

Four 1,000-Peseta scholarships are on offer to study at the high school.

Reward is offered to hunters who kill the following "pests": fox, European wildcat, marten, ferret, common genet and red kite.
28. Archbishop of Coimbra in Northern Portugal arrived for a visit.

Basketball, table tennis and chess tournaments are on during the holiday break.
29. Paving work has started in Plaza de España.
30. Ferrol's firefighters went to help put out a big blaze fifty-five kilometers away in the city of A Coruña.
31. 18-year-old teenager was assaulted with a pocket knife.

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7. The Local News for the Year 1955

The source for the information contained in this chapter is the partial archive of the newspaper La Voz de Galicia found in the local library. Some of the information garnered has been included elsewhere. I have focused mostly on a half-page section entitled, Ferrol Al Dia (Ferrol Update). The archive does not have Monday newspapers, presumably the presses did not run that day.

The newspapers contained a little information about the previous year 1954. The electrical energy consumption for the whole of Spain rose by a meager 500 Kwh "due to drought." The severe housing shortage persisted with "few dwellings available and very expensive rents." The solutions most often employed were "subletting and the living together of a newly married couple with one set of parents."


  5. All 20-year-old Spaniards must solicit inscription in the recruitment lists of the Navy. Failure to comply will bring fines of up to 1,000 Pesetas. The age for full military discharge is forty-five years.
  6. An anonymous individual wins half a million Pesetas with a 14/14 sports lottery.

Traditional harbour swimming contest at 1:00 PM. Distance: 300 meters. Prizes donated by P.Y.S.B.E. and by the Port Public Works Authority among others.
  8. Oil tanker "Almirante Manuel Vierna" left port on its maiden voyage (launched May 31, 1954).
12. Town Hall will verify compliance with a 1954 law requiring school attendance for all children six to twelve years old.
20. Two Italian and two Dutch vessels seek refuge in the harbour from the stormy weather.
23. A share of the Spanish lottery jackpot lands in Ferrol, worth 600,000 Pesetas.

Everyone is asked to donate money to the premier soccer club of the city, Ferrol. Generous public response, more than 20,000 Pesetas was collected by the first of February.
28. The families of the two fishermen drowned in the bay on November 29 are handed a subsidy of 3,000 Pesetas each.


Spanish cruiser Méndez Núñez

Spanish cruiser "Méndez Núñez"

  3. Two cruisers, two destroyers and a torpedo ship left port at 10:20 AM. Two to three miles offshore a steam pipe ruptured in the cruiser "Méndez Núñez" and the subsequent explosion killed three sailors and injured two boiler officers, one of whom died ashore. The incident was not given coverage on the state newsreel.
  4. A cortege of thousands accompanied the burial of the four navymen killed yesterday.
  6. The condition of the surviving boiler officer improves.

The same flotilla of the 3rd less the damaged cruiser sailed away in the afternoon.
  8. Costa Rican oil tanker "Darnel" entered port after suffering the explosion of a boiler, 4 crew dead.
18. Donations are still needed to purchase a washing machine for the Destitute Seniors Home (drive started November 18, 1954).

The collection for Ferrol soccer club surpasses 30,000 Pesetas (drive started January 23).

Oil tanker "Darnel" left port in the morning.


Snowfall in Ferrol, 1956

Snowfall in Ferrol, Year 1956

  8. Snow falls in the city. Minimum temperature recorded: -2°C.
  9. Town Hall decrees that chimneys must be swept clean or the landlord will be fined.
10. "Coldest day of the winter thus far." Snowflurries. Temperatures hovered around the freezing point all day long and the surrounding hills are covered with snow. "This is the coldest winter in recent memory."
13. Solemn Te Deum at 12:30 PM in the co-cathedral to commemorate the Day of the Pope and the sixteenth year of his tenure.
20. Civil Government bans public dancing from March 27 to April 8.
23. Paving work on Plaza de España has finished (begun on December 29, 1954).
24. Launch of oil tanker "Puertollano" at 3:45 PM.


  3. Palm Sunday. Via Crucis with the Stations of the Cross distributed around Plaza de Armas.


  1. In women's basketball Bazan defeated Herculinas 41 to 4. Bazan was "much superior...brilliant undefeated champion."
  3. The new municipal library opens to a full house. Located on the second floor of Town Hall, right wing, it has 100 seating spaces. Reading hours are 5:00-9:00 PM.

Rotating blackouts are scheduled from 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon.
  6. Work on the artificial beach has begun. Editorial urges continuation.

Final phase of the refurbishing work on the Batallones soccer field (begun on March 17, 1954). Editorial recommends letting the grass grow undisturbed one year.
12. Closing arguments stage in the trial of Josefina Regueira Romero at the Palace of Justice in A Coruña over the stabbing incident of June 21, 1954. It was proven that the 28-year-old (married) woman had been sexually harassed by Arturo López Rodríguez. She complained to the man's superiors but they did nothing. The corporal then proceeded to slander her publicly, even in front of her husband. At this point the woman pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed the corporal six times. An army captain witnessed the incident and intervened, whereupon she lost consciousness. The prosecutor asks for a 21-year jail term. The defence asks for a discharge or a minimum sentence. "A very numerous public" followed the proceedings. "Many in the public gallery had come from Ferrol."
14. Josefina Regueira Romero is sentenced to nine years in prison and the payment of 75,000 Pesetas to the heirs of Arturo López Rodríguez.
22. About a hundred children put on a musical show at the municipal park under the direction of Manuel Pérez de Arévalo (see month of November) and two others.
  • Act I. Soldier of Naples from the Spanish operetta "La Canción del Olvido"
  • Act II. Flamenco dance
  • Act III. Ficticious choir of altar boys recounts their mischiefs in song
  • Act IV. Funny Galician story
  • Act V. Muiñeira danced by two couples of "precious, small Galician girls"
  • Act VI. Fourteen child couples parade to the music of Choir of Parasols from the Spanish operetta "Luisa Fernanda." Encore
"All the spectators comment that they do not remember such a lovely fiesta." The event was organized by Acción Católica.


Spanish submarine G-7

Spanish submarine G-7, originally German U-573

27. "Brilliant athletic exhibition" by Bazan apprentices at the stadium to mark the end of courses. A track and field competition was followed by a gymnastics show performed by "hundreds of apprentices perfectly arrayed." Afterward the athletes paraded downtown preceded by a bugle-and-drum band.
28. Five submarines arrived at the base: D-2, D-3, G-7 (above) General Mola and General Sanjurjo.
30. Navy Soccer Tournament final at 6:30 PM. Thousands were expected to watch. The match finished scoreless.


American destroyer USS McGowan

American destroyer USS McGowan

  7. Whale meat is back on sale, at 12 Pesetas/kilogram.

Arrival of USS Lewis Hancock and USS McGowan (above). The U.S. Marines strolled through the city. The warships offered guided tours to Ferrolians between 1:00 and 5:00 PM on the 10th.
  9. The local group of Sección Femenina will represent Spain alongside another group in a folklore meet held in Nice and Pescara (Italy). Many countries will participate: Yugoslavia, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, from Africa, etc.
13. U.S. Marines beat Bazan 43-39 in a friendly basketball game.

The official summer holidays of Empresa Nacional Bazán will extend from 12:45 PM on Friday July 15 to Sunday July 31 (cf. July 23, 1954).
19. There will be more hours of nighttime lighting in the downtown gardens.
22. Arrival of French corvette "Le Boulonnais" in the early morning. There was an official reception and the French sailors toured the shipyard.

Crippled Liberian vessel "Rolla" was towed into harbour around 11:00 AM.
23. Debut of travelling circus "Las Américas."

Heavy thunderstorm in the afternoon with hailstones the size of "matchboxes" or "sugar cubes."
24. Public tours of Le Boulonnais are on between 2:00 and 5:00 PM.

Heavy afternoon thunderstorm with hail.
26. Le Boulonnais sailed away at 8:00 AM approximately.
27. Heavy thunderstorms continue. Today the hailstones were the size of "walnuts, billiard balls and tennis balls." An eyewitness reported seeing "several birds brought down by the hail."
31. The Group of Choirs and Dances of Sección Femenina returned tonight from the international meet having earned second prize. The Ferrolian group received a standing ovation in Nice and was offered several work contracts. The troupe also did tourism in Montpellier, Monte Carlo, Monaco and Cannes. A member of the party gambled in Montecarlo and won 5,000 French francs. The girls readily admitted that Yugoslavia had won first prize deservedly.


Marquis de Amboage

Marquis de Amboage

  3. Summertime charity raffle stand in the downtown gardens was inaugurated by the admiral with other officials present and was blessed by the parish priest (cf. August 24, 1954).
12. Snipe class regattas in the bay.

Distribution of U.S.A. Food Aid packages of milk and butter to needy families.
13. The Group of Choirs and Dances of Sección Femenina heads to Portugal.
17. Editorial remonstrates that the railway station is antiquated and that a new one is needed urgently.
20. Resounding success of the Group of Choirs and Dances in Portugal.

Men's and women's friendly basketball matches at the municipal park between Bazan and University of Heidelberg.
23. Debut of the puppet show of Maese Villarejo at 6:00 and 11:00 PM in the municipal park.
26. Forest fires in the vicinity of Ferrol burn an estimated 50,000 trees.
30. Article praises Bazan pivot Manuel Pardo Abad. Pardo "stands out for his long stride and scoring ability." He was twice selected to play for the national team. His passion for the sport coincided with the arrival of Rutgis [sic] to Ferrol. "Last January he was picked to play in the Spanish five against a U.S. Air Force team based in England. The Spanish side won two of the three games played." In Pardo's opinion Bazan ranks fourth or fifth in Spain.

Artificial lighting test for Manuel Rivera Stadium has failed. There is not enough power available and the project has been dropped.
31. Requiem Mass for the Marquis of Amboage (above) in the co-cathedral at 11:00 AM. This Mass marks the end of Fiestas de Ferrol.

Field hockey match at 8:00 PM pitted two teams of Bazan apprentices. Final score: Blue Shirts 6, Red Shirts 5.

Friendly basketball game between Bazan and the Portuguese champion Vasco de Gama at 9:00 PM. Persistent rain. Final score: Bazan 41, Vasco de Gama 27.

Pardo turned down offers from basketball teams in Madrid and in Barcelona, opting to stick with Bazan.


American destroyer USS Daly

American destroyer USS Daly

  7. Yesterday American documentaries were shown in Capitol Cinema at 4:00 PM courtesy of the "Propaganda Service of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid." Full house. The public left "pleased." There will be a repeat showing today at 4:00 PM.
10. 17-year-old son burns down parents' house.

Electricity comes to the last hamlets of the municipality.

Collection tables for the yearly levy in benefit of the fascist Youth Front will be set up outside the stadium. By a law signed in 1940 everyone needs to show the emblem purchased with the levy to attend any public spectacle including soccer games.
17. Two Bazan workers were killed about 11:00 AM when they were struck by "the braking lever of an overhead cable."
21. About 7:00 PM the Bazan bus careened off the road. "The vehicle ended in the brambles, leaning on two wheels." Ropes and chains were used to lift the vehicle upright. No one was hurt in the accident.
23. Ten scholarships were awarded to low-income students by the high school.
26. American destroyers USS Daly (above) and USS Smalley arrived at 10:00 AM.
29. A 30-year-old electrician died from injuries sustained in a workplace accident on the morning of the 28th


Miguel González Garcés

Miguel González Garcés

  5. Tomorrow Thursday all high school students must attend the ceremonies marking the start of the 1955-56 school year. There will be a "Mass of the Holy Spirit" in Santa Lucía Church at 10:30 AM. Note: I never heard of this church (End of Note). At 12:00 noon a solemn academic act will be held with the presentation of awards to last year's outstanding students. Classes start on Friday the 7th.
  8. Doctor of Philosophy and Literature Miguel González Garcés (above) will give a public lecture at 8:00 PM. The title of the colloquium is "Musings about the poetry of our time."

Bazan wins a third basketball trophy in Lugo. Large crowd.
  9. Police arrest a 37-year-old man charged with murdering his 41-year-old wife in Montevideo (Uruguay). He had returned to Spain aboard the Highland Chieftain.
15. Arrival of an Egyptian military mission this morning.

Encomium of the movie Carosello Napoletano


Manuel Pérez de Arévalo

Manuel Pérez de Arévalo

Ida Haendel

Ida Haendel

  6. Lightning struck a house about 4:30 AM, entered through a broken window, fried the electrical wiring and destroyed the washroom. The family of five living inside was unhurt.
11. Artillery captain, ballistics expert, chemist, composer and poet Manuel Pérez de Arévalo (above left) will give a recital at 8:00 PM in Teatro Jofre. The proceedings will go to the processional brotherhoods of Holy Week. Note: De Arévalo also taught Mathematics. I did not get to study under him but he enrolled me in the choir of the high school a few months before my departure; he was an enthusiastic, self-confident man, knowledgeable and with a benevolent streak uncommon in the military (End of Note).
15. "Extraordinary event": Polish violinist Ida Haendel (above right) will perform tonight at Teatro Jofre. She had turned down all previous offers to come to Ferrol. She will be accompanied at the piano by Carmen Díez Martín.

Town Hall renames its square "Plaza del Almirante Francisco Moreno marqués de Alborán." Note: The new name did not stick (End of Note).
20. Nineteenth anniversary of the death of José Antonio Primo de Rivera the founder of fascist Falange Española. A funeral Mass was held in the co-cathedral yesterday Saturday with the following dignitaries in attendance: the captain general of the maritime department, the military governor-general of the city, the mayor, the rear admiral of the fleet, the rear admiral of the naval base, commanders and officers of the army and navy, members of Falange and "a very numerous public." There followed the Mass a wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the Cross of the Fallen affixed to an exterior wall of the church. Top officials laid laurel wreaths on behalf of Navy Command Headquarters, the military government of the city, Town Hall, Falange and affiliate organizations, the First Division of the Fleet, the munitions workshop and depot and on behalf of Empresa Nacional Bazán. During the act a regular infantry band played the traditional German Army lament, Ich Hatt' Einen Kameraden. This was followed by a recital of the Oración Por los Caídos (Prayer For the Fallen) and the singing of the Falangist anthem, "Cara Al Sol" (With the Sun On My Face). In the evening the co-cathedral hosted a Rosary prayer service on behalf of Primo de Rivera.
21. Street procession of the "Little Princess" religious icon from the chapel of Daughters of Mary School. Note: Mom studied at this school (End of Note). The video shows the "Little Princess" on min. 12:28-32 and what a procession looked like on min. 12:28-13:20. "The procession went along the main streets, hundreds of women took part."

The highly praised art exhibit of Carlos Villaamil Pérez continues on the second floor of Town Hall from 7:30 to 10:00 PM.
28. Literary chat entitled "The Imaginary Countries" by Álvaro Cunqueiro in the casino at 8:00 PM. The act was presided by the military governor and by the chief of staff of the maritime department. "A numerous and select audience filled the lounge." At the conclusion of his delivery the speaker received "enthusiastic" applause. An editorial five days later described the event thus,
Álvaro Cunqueiro, poet, writer, newspaperman, wanderer fond of all the byways of History, Galician even in the manner of looking, rich in imagination and in humanity, has known how to inject into the mind of all his listeners the inimitable magic of a hundred ravishing lies, skipping from the golden lands of the France of the Popes of Avignon to the misty ones of Ireland and Normandy; from the fabled shores of America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the serene age of ancient heroes who live out in the Odyssey and in the tales of the Orient an endless, existential dream.


  3. Eight local basketball teams square off in the gymnasium today at 6:00 and 7:00 PM and tomorrow Sunday at 11:00 AM and 12:00 noon.
  8. Artist Carlos Villaamil Pérez sold 20 paintings during his recent exhibit (November 21).

Official prices for bread set by the Comisaría de Abastecimientos y Transportes (Commissariat of Provisions and Transportation) are: 1 kg loaf, 5.20 Pesetas ♣ ½ kg loaf, 2.75 Pesetas (cf. April 25, 1954). Note: The 100 gram loaf was not listed (End of Note).
11. 49-year-old female beggar suffered a heart attack at the Central Market.
17. Oil tanker "Puertollano" has successfully completed its sea trials.

Charity soccer match pits "Lawyers and Newspapermen" versus Navy Sailors. Proceedings went to soup kitchens. Gross: 7,608 Pesetas (cf. December 19, 1954).
18. Following tradition the chorale Toxos E Froles gave performances in the Destitute Seniors Home, the Hospital of Charity, the municipal school for orphans and the Anti-Tuberculosis Sanatorium.
20. The nativity scene of the Venerable Orden Tercera de San Francisco opens to the public. Rills of real water, light display, "many figurines of extraordinary perfection." Free admission. Visiting hours are 5:00-7:00 and 8:00-9:00 PM (cf. December 22, 1954).
23. Special Christmas Eve dinners will be served in the Soup Kitchen Restaurant and at the orphans school. Local officials will host them.

Charity Music Festival organized by the shipyard enjoyed "extraordinary success." All the participants received a lengthy ovation. Proceeds will go to needy workers.
28. Special three-course meals were served to patients in the Hospital of Charity and to patrons of the Night Shelter over the weekend.
  • Christmas Eve Dinner: Galician broth. Cod Biscay style. Pork loin steak with french fries. For dessert there was sweet wine, almond hardcakes and fruit

  • Christmas Day: Soup. Paella a la valenciana. Roast chicken. Same dessert as yesterday
29. Rival shipyard Astano launched the coaster "Lalasia" of 2,200 tons this afternoon. Launch seventy-eight will take place tomorrow.
31. Visiting hours to the nativity scene of the Venerable Orden Tercera de San Francisco are extended by popular demand "so that no Ferrolian child will be left without taking his letter to the Three Wise Men."

Back To Index

8. The Local News for the Year 1959

The source for the news in this chapter is the partial archive of the newspaper La Voz de Galicia found in the local library. Some information has been employed elsewhere (e.g. the trajectory of the shipyard's basketball team). Although other pages occasionally provide useful information I focused mainly on what by now had become the one-page section Ferrol Al Dia (Ferrol Update).


Colombian destroyer ARC 7 de Agosto

Colombian destroyer ARC "7 de Agosto"

  1. Colombian Navy destroyer ARC 7 de Agosto entered port in mid-morning to refuel. The Colombian sailors strolled through the city. The warship departed the next day.
  3. Four men were attacked with knives in two separate incidents.

Four local teams play basketball in the gymnasium of the shipyard at 5:00 and 6:00 PM.
  6. Afternoon swimming contest in the cold waters of the harbour (cf. January 6, 1955). Sixteen swimmers took part, the top four finishers belonged to Bazan. The fastest time was 5 min. 2 sec.
15. Around 4:30 AM fire broke out in a 3-storey house and completely burned it down. All thirty-six tenants got out safely, but they lost their belongings. The municipal fire truck malfunctioned on site. Thanks to the fire trucks of Bazan and Navy the blaze was quenched before the flames could spread to adjacent buildings. Damage was estimated at 500,000 Pesetas. Town Hall provided alternate living quarters for the families affected. A public drive to raise funds for the dispossessed yielded 85,382 Pesetas by February 20. Note: The newspaper did not clarify whether the sum included the 30,000 Pesetas donated by Town Hall and the 16,000 Pesetas donated by the civil government (End of Note).
16. 65-year-old woman falls out of a moving tram on a curve, bumps her head hard on the pavement and died an hour later.
21. Editorial deplores the "hardly edifying spectacle offered by bunches of kids riding the top of trams."
22. Parking brakes fail, car races down the street and runs over two women, killing one.
25. Editorial renews call for the construction of a modern railway station (August 17, 1955).
31. Two basketball games on the high school grounds at 6:00 PM.


French corvette Le Bordelais

French corvette "Le Bordelais"

  1. At 10:00 AM Basque pelota game between Instituto and Academia Rapariz at the high school.

Cross-country race starting from the stadium at 10:30 AM. Juniors Distance: 3,000 meters. Juveniles: 1,000 meters.

Basketball score unimaginable in the days of coach Rutzgis: Estudiantes de Vigo 49, Bazan 36. Pardo was the outstanding player.
  3. Editorial informs that the natural work of the tides shrinks the artificial beach known as Copacabana (cf. May 6, 1955) and notes that children are the main beachgoers.
26. At 5:30 PM inauguration and blessing of a new neighbourhood built by Bazan for its workers.

Ongoing high school basketball championship.
28. Arrival of four French corvettes at 9:00 AM: Commandant Amyot d'Inville, Commandant de Pimodan, Le Boulonnais and Le Bordelais (above) with a total of 538 sailors and 22 officers.


  1. The French warships offered guided tours to the public between 4:30 and 6:30 PM.

Friendly soccer match between a selection of local players and a team of French Marines. Final score: Locals 7, French Marines 0. "The score could have been more lopsided."
  2. Series of official acts welcoming the French warships. Reception at 12:00 noon in Town Hall, a glass of Spanish wine was served. The following Spanish dignitaries were present: the captain general of the maritime department, the fleet commander, the military governor of the city, the mayor, the local leader of the fascist Movimiento Nacional and the state prosecutor. The following French dignitaries were present: the commander of the French flotilla, the consul general in Bilbao, the naval attaché of the embassy in Madrid and the consul in Ferrol. The Spanish commander of the fleet hosted a full lunch aboard the flagship Canarias in honour of the French. In reciprocity the commander of the French flotilla hosted a tea party in local navy premises.
  3. The French flotilla departed at 10:00 AM.
10. Some hooligans threw a park bench into the ornamental fountain of the downtown gardens yesterday evening.
12. Creation of a children's processional brotherhood for Holy Week linked to Carmen Church. Members will be six to fourteen years old. Debut is set for Palm Sunday (March 22).
15. Power shutdown will affect the entire city this morning. It is necessary to carry out repairs in the grid.

British oil tanker "Cantex-Singapore" is in dry dock for a hull cleaning.

Transatlantic passenger ship Montserrat docks at rival shipyard Astano for maintenance and repairs.
17. At 11:30 AM the children of primary schools and the first and second grades of secondary will present a "spiritual and material" gift to the bishop in the co-cathedral for the construction of a seminary.
18. Thousands of Ferrolians filled Town Hall square this evening to watch the singing contest known as "Rondallas a las Pepitas" (Serenading the Josephines). Añoranzas de Esteiro confronted "Trova del Alba." The jury declared a draw and the prize of 5,000 Pesetas was split. There was a parade the following day. "Añoranzas de Esteiro" visited the Destitute Seniors Home, the Anti-Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the Navy and Charity hospitals and the municipal school for orphans.
21. The high school's Natural Sciences teacher Manuel Pérez de Arévalo (see November 1955) gave a talk entitled "The Cosmos, Stage of Life" in a guild of the city of A Coruña. The act was presided by the captain general.

This is an extract of his talk,

The speaker began by comparing the act of creation to a work of art, like a painting or a musical composition. He stressed the importance of the viewer's frame of reference, whether from inside the atom, where there is no light, whether from the molecule, where light arrives in bursts, or from a macroscopic frame of reference. To appreciate a musical composition a "fourth dimension" is necessary: memory or time. The speaker then reviewed the geocentric cosmologies of Hipparchus and Ptolemy, superseded by the heliocentric cosmology of Copernicus, complemented by today's perception that outer space is an assembly of super galaxies. "But regardless," he said, "man as man will never be able to compass the cosmos because he will never be able to break free from three-dimensional space and own the fourth dimension of Minkowski. He will achieve it only when he dies." Arévalo then described the instruments that allow man to alter his viewing frame of reference, from the sights of a graphometer to the radio telescope, and he spotlighted the 21 centimeter [spectral line] predicted by van de Hulst. He next considered the appearance of man on Earth and evaluated the probability that there may be humans on other planets. The speaker demonstrated that said possibility is nil "based on the units of biocronio." Note: Did the reporter transcribe erroneously and the speaker in fact said, "based on the atomic structure of chromium?" (End of Note). The dissertation was followed by a Q & A session. Arévalo answered every question "with elegance and with extraordinary documentation" and garnered prolonged applause at the conclusion of the act.
24. Sacred music concert by Bazan's choir in Teatro Jofre at 8:00 PM.
25. Town Hall bans downtown traffic from 1:00 PM until midnight on Holy Friday. Official cars and cars driven by officials are exempt.
27. "Very rainy weather" forced the cancellation of two processions, Holy Burial and Os Caladiños.
28. There are two processions today (Holy Saturday). The "Procession of Charity and Silence" sets out at 8:00 PM and keeps the tradition of carrying a treasure chest containing donations to the Hospital of Charity (the amount was 7,129 Pesetas). Note: The tradition was started in the year 1956 and in the year 2018 the amount donated was 4,421 Euros (End of Note).
29. Two-storey house collapses, the occupants were evacuated before the cave-in.
31. The number of households leasing a telephone line is eight hundred.


Abelardo Miguel López Leira

Abelardo Miguel López Leira

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester

  1. The following letter addressed to the "Elder Brother of the Holy Hospital of Charity" together with a donation of 24 Pesetas was found inside the treasure chest carried in the Procession of Charity and Silence on March 28 (Holy Saturday).
Dear Sir,

I am a poor woman, destitute almost. Although I did not make use of the Shelter, which takes in so many needy people, I did have to go to the Holy Hospital of Charity several times, to its medical Staff and most of all to the dedicated, holy labour of the Servants of Jesus to whom I owe my health and my life as do so many other persons who have had to avail themselves of their services.

Therefore I am doing nothing extraordinary by putting all my savings, nearly everything I own, in the treasure chest of Our Lady of Anguish: twenty-four Pesetas destined for as holy and beneficent an institution as the Hospital of Charity is.

If all the able people of the city gave not even all they have, as I do, but an equal amount [to mine] then aid and care could be extended to so many ill, destitute people as there are in Ferrol and county. Let note be taken that curing the sick is one of the principal works of charity.

I can not—nor should I—state my name. Excuse, sir, my anonymity and I entreat God that the Procession of Charity and Silence be celebrated forever with ever increasing spiritual and material fruits.

Note: Might the letter's author have been the female beggar mentioned on December 11, 1955? (End of Note).

  2. The art exhibit of Abelardo Miguel López Leira (above left) opens in Town Hall at 7:30 PM.

Hooligans damage several wooden park benches in the downtown gardens.
10. The strong wind downed a tree in Angustias Gardens.
11. There will be a showing of three documentaries supplied by the U.S. Embassy in the lounges of A.F.F.A. (Aficionados Ferrolanos a la Fotografía Artística) at 8:00 PM (cf. September 7, 1955).
16. In an ongoing series of seminars hosted by the high school Enrique Lafuente Ferrari will give a conference at 8:00 PM entitled, "On the Crisis of Modern Painting." In the event Lafuente's airplane could not land at Santiago Airport due to a "rainstorm and extraordinary windstorm." The conference was given on Friday 17. The act was presided over by the captain general of the maritime department, the military governor, the deputy mayor, the local leader of the fascist Movimiento Nacional and the principal.
18. Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (above right) will deliver a talk in the high school at 7:45 PM entitled, "The Novel and Its Objectivity." This will be followed by Lafuente's second presentation, "Direction and Problems of Contemporary Art."
24. The name of my oldest brother appears in the newspaper as one of nineteen students rewarded for their grades in preparatory school.
30. Official approval has been granted for a landfill project that will expand the shipyard grounds by 39,000 square meters.

Chorale Toxos E Froles organizes a Portuguese-Galician Festival. Rendilheiras da Praça de Vila do Conde were the invited guest performers. The night was "a great success."


  1. In an ongoing series of seminars held in the high school Dámaso Alonso will give a seminar at 8:00 PM entitled, "Spain and Poetry."
10. International friendly basketball game: Bazan 56, Unión Española Deportiva de Valparaíso 63. The Chilean team led throughout. The game had to be played in the gymnasium because of rain, the park had been the intended venue.
14. Editorial cautions that vandalism is increasing and proposes launching an "anti-hoodlum" campaign.
19. Editorial informs that the road to Valdoviño is "an endless succession of potholes" and blames the bad quality of the asphalt.
20. Shutoff of the city's water main is scheduled from 10:00 AM onward.

Stoker non-commissioned officer dies in an accident aboard a destroyer.
23. Inauguration of the furniture shop "Muebles El Hogar" with the blessing of a prelate. A full-page advertisement the next day boasted that the store had twenty windows and its showroom area covered 400 square meters.

Traditional meal for the poor served to more than 1,000 Ferrolians on the grounds of a local garrison,
  • Menu: Olivier salad, paella, bread, wine, meat pies and dessert
26. 3-year-old baby seriously injured after falling off a balcony.

48-year-old man seriously injured after falling out of a tram.


12. Turkish freighter Kjrfehjr in port.
20. Inauguration of a restaurant in the park. A ½ page advertisement a week later stated that the restaurant was open continuously from 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM and that it could be reserved for banquets, weddings and baptisms. It described the park as a "marvel."
23. Premiere of circus "Atlas" at 11:00 PM in Plaza de Sevilla. A ½ page advertisement promised "seals from the Pole, Arizona Indians, chimpanzees, motorists, Chinese troupes, wise dogs." One of its star attractions was a pair of clowns known as Hermanos Tonetti.


  1. De Los Vieneses Circus sets up in Plaza de Sevilla. Shows at 7:30 and 11:00 PM.

Passengers complain about overcrowding in the train that arrives to Ferrol at 9:30 PM.
  8. Hottest day thus far. Maximum temperature: 36°C.
14. 3-year-old baby girl was run over by a motorcycle.
15. A poem entitled "Alborada Ferrolana" (Ferrolian Morning Song) by Jesús González Lorenzo tabs Ferrol a working city that awakes to the sound of a madly blaring siren (the shipyard's). The city's "guardian angels are the dockside cranes." The winding lines of workers come on the trails riding their bicycles and "smoking their own yawns." The other characters of the dawn are "the female fishmongers, the stuttering newspaper vendor, the solitary sailor with his bayonet, the dear old lady heading to early Mass, the night watchman who returns home, the sound of a bugle."

Editorial cautions that the city "still faces numerous problems" and bemoans the absence of trade colleges or of a bus station and the dismal state of the roads. Moreover the beach of Copacabana needs broadening and trees need to be planted close to beaches.

Summertime charity raffle stand has been inaugurated by local dignitaries and blessed by the bishop (cf. August 3, 1955).
16. Our Lady of Carmel, patron saint of the Navy. Troops will be served extraordinary meals and there will be sporting events at the various garrisons. At 11:00 AM solemn pontifical Mass in the "military temple" of San Francisco Church presided by the Minister for the Navy and officiated by the bishop. A procession followed the end of the Mass. The Minister for the Navy, the captain general of the maritime department, the military governor of the city, the mayor, the admiral, rear admirals and other top commanders took part. Other officials that joined the procession were the local leader of the fascist Movimiento Nacional, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of the shipyard, the police commissary and various representatives of the Revenue Ministry, Civil Guard, Customs, Post and Telegraph Office and other institutions. The route of the procession was secured by two companies of naval infantry and two companies of armed sailors. These troops paraded after the procession. Night parties were held at 10:30 PM in the gardens of Navy Command Headquarters for commanders and officers, at the municipal park for non-commissioned officers and in the downtown gardens for everybody else.
17. Requiem Mass for all dead navymen in San Francisco Church at 11:00 AM.
18. A dance will be held at 9:00 PM in the premises of the Tennis Club to honour the Navy. Army personnel are encouraged to attend.
19. Snipe class regattas start today at 6:00 PM.

Open-air staging of the operetta Doña Francisquita at 11:00 PM in the park.
20. Puppet show at 5:00 PM in the park.

Operetta Bohemios at 11:00 PM.
21. Last day of operettas. Gigantes y Cabezudos and La Boda de Luís Alonso.
22. Night party at 11:00 PM in the harbour followed by "nautical fireworks" which were "a resounding success."
28. The effects of drought are becoming evident.


Nuria Torray

Nuria Torray

  1. Extraordinary Portuguese-Galician Festival at 7:30 PM in the park (cf. April 30). Two Galician folk groups plus the Portuguese folk group Pescadores das Caxinas e Poça da Barca de Vila do Conde took part. The Portuguese performers were "genuinely colossal" and the thousands of Ferrolians who watched the spectacle tributed "very hearty applause." The Portuguese "also performed repeatedly in cafeterias, bars, streets and squares."
  5. Ferrol will host the 17th National Basketball Tournament, premier division.
  6. Fire in the hills surrounding Ferrol consumes "thousands of trees."
  7. Town Hall serves notice that until further notice the supply of water to households will be curtailed severely and will operate during these times: 7:00 to 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and 8:00 to 11:00 PM.

Fire on hill A Graña west of the city.
  8. The fire to the west flares up again in mid-morning.
11. Fire northwest of Ferrol on hill Chamorro.

Stage play "Irma La Dulce" starring Nuria Torray (above) in Teatro Jofre. Two shows: 8:00 and 11:15 PM. One day only.
14. San Julián Church raised to co-cathedral status by Pope John XXIII. At 8:00 AM the bugle-and-drum bands of the artillery corps, regular infantry and Bazan paraded about the city. Every church bell rang out at 12:00 noon. Town Hall sponsored a mid-day meal for "about one hundred poor people,"
  • Menu: paella a la valenciana, sardine pie, wine. Dessert: pastries
"Some of the poor wept as they voiced their gratitude to Town Hall." Te Deum Mass at 8:00 PM in the co-cathedral officiated by the bishop. Street procession of lay and religious dignitaries. Fireworks in Town Hall square. Concert by Toxos E Froles and by the naval infantry brass band.
23. Basketball final in the park: Bazan 60, Agromán de Madrid 46 (August 5). Pardo was the top scorer for Bazan.
25. Town Hall notifies the citizenry about further restrictions in the water supply. Five-hour service per day: 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM and 9:00 to 11:00 PM.
26. Further reduction of hours is necessary to ensure that water reaches the upper floors. Accordingly half the city will have running water from noon to 1:30 PM and the other half from 1:30 to 3:00 PM.
27. 11-year-old boy hanging from the backside of a tram falls off. Slightly injured.
31. Fireworks at Plaza de Amboage. The eight structures torched were: The two enchanted stars   ♠   The great celestial sphere   ♠   The great Egyptian windmill   ♠   Pharaoh and the snakes   ♠   The great Maltese Cross   ♠   The two automatons   ♠   The great pond of Venus   ♠   The Alhambra of Granada. This last contrivance consisted of "more than six thousand flares" and two "rotating suns." "The grand finale lasted several minutes."


  6. At 4:00 PM swimming race across the bay. Distance: 2,400 meters. Nearly fifty swimmers took part, among them five Corunnese women. Multiple starts, the female swimmers went first. Women's best finish: 29 min. 45 sec. Men's best finish: 20 min. 25 sec.
10. Heavy shower at 4:45 PM.
11. Rain. "We believe the onset of the rain was never as desired as on this occasion."
27. Town Hall serves notice that the effects of the drought persist. Water will be shut off between 4:00 and 8:00 PM and from 11:30 PM to 8:00 AM overnight.


  7. Town Hall advises that the acute water shortage continues. Water will run only four hours a day, between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
11. More than 4,000 Ferrolians went to Lugo to take part in the celebration of San Froilán the patron saint of that city. Town Hall, Chamber of Commerce, School of Commercial Agents, local press and Radio Ferrol led a caravan of 43 buses, 122 cars and 507 motorcycles. "The line of vehicles was more than six kilometers long." Lugo's Town Hall welcomed Ferrol's in gala uniforms and "a glass of Spanish wine was served." The cavalcade was welcomed with gunpowder shells, cheers and applause. Ferrol's mayor stated that the official visit "defined the intimate union between the cities."
14. Forty students from a rural school arrived in Ferrol at 11:00 AM accompanied by their teacher and some relatives. The trip was sponsored by "Ferrolian schoolchildren who prefer to remain anonymous and who heard the visitors express the desire to visit Ferrol over a Madrid radio broadcast." Official reception in Town Hall. Programmed visits to Radio Ferrol and to the shipyard. Lunch in the park where they received gifts from local businesses. Afternoon cruise around the bay. They returned home in the early evening.
18. Soccer match between eternal rivals Ferrol and A Coruña. Final score: Ferrol 2, Deportivo 5.
25. Yearly levy in benefit of the fascist Youth Front (cf. September 10, 1955). Compulsory for the general public, owners of cafeterias, bars, restaurants, pubs, movie houses, theaters, dance halls and any premises where a public spectacle is offered.
27. Editorial headline: "The rains have arrived."
29. Editorial again takes up the subject of children hanging from the backside of trams (January 21).


  9. Official state approval granted for the construction of a new railway station (January 25). The initial budget is 28,000,000 Pesetas.
11. Heavy rain.
13. Movie and seminar on the Islamic woman at Discípulas de Jesús School at 9:00 PM. "All young women are invited."
24. Official state approval granted for the holding of an annual industrial exhibition fair. Projected premiere: July 10-30, 1962.
28. Local basketball tournament involves sixteen juvenile teams. All games are to be played in the gymnasium. Games start at 3:30 PM this afternoon and continue tomorrow from 9:30 AM.
30. Powerful gale causes "a lot of damage." "Hundreds of roof tiles and window panes fell to the streets...there was considerable damage in parks and gardens...a cedar was uprooted in Plaza de Amboage...power outages were very frequent throughout the day...tram, electrical power and telephone service was curtailed...there were delays in road and railway traffic."


  3. Public lighting is still out in some places.
  4. Note criticizes the long-term closure of the public washrooms beneath the gazebo of the downtown gardens.
  7. Turkish cargo ship Kihirsehir in harbour for repairs.
10. British freighter "Liverpool" in harbour for repairs.
12. Local police find an abandoned batch of cod in the street.
17. The musical associations of Bazan put on a Christmas charity show at Teatro Jofre. Full house. "The concert was an apotheosis of success." Three pieces sung were: Asturian lullaby No Llores, Né   ♥   Galician farewell Un Adiós a Mariquiña   ♥   Sephardic love song Durme, Durme.
23. 76-year-old woman tried to commit suicide in the harbour but was thwarted by dockside workers.

Heavy rain causes flooding and landslides in outlying areas. "Veritable torrents of rain fell around 3:08 AM."
27. The heavy rains continue.

Back To Index

9. The Local News for the Year 1961

The source for the information contained in this chapter was the newspaper La Voz de Galicia archived by the local library. The newspaper devoted a page and a half to Ferrolian news in 1961. This increase was due to advertising, to interviews and to greater coverage of county news.

Some annual events are omitted because they have been covered previously and the details varied little from year to year.

The extracted image of the "Point Lacre" (February) was tinted sepia to improve definition.

An outstanding item of local news for the year 1960 was the start of the construction of the working-class suburb of Caranza.

The following table shows the volume and type of inbound traffic registered at the entrance to the city on Monday August 14, 1961. Curiously the newspaper printed an erroneous total of 7,550 vehicles (a typo probably in the number of bicycles). The sample spanned seventeen hours. Bearing in mind that Ferrol had 75,000 inhabitants (December 7) the numbers put forth the underdeveloped status of Spain.

Volume and Type of Inbound Traffic registered at Plaza de España

(From 7:00 AM to 12:00 midnight on Monday August 14, 1961)
Animal-traction vehicles


The ships that never were

The Sea Coach Transatlantic Lines project

  1. The wall of a house collapses and narrowly misses crushing an 8-year-old girl.
  3. Public drive to collect cigarettes and packets for the tenants of the Destitute Seniors Home.

Editorial frets that sewers are often clogged.
  5. A sailor of the cruiser Almirante Cervera attempts suicide by jumping off a rampart to the pavement below. He sustained "very serious injuries."
  7. Editorial repines over the "terrible state of the roads leading into the city."
26. Bazan Chairman goes on a tour American and Canadian shipyards, he returned February 16.
31. Hyman Benjamin Cantor the president of Sea Coach Transatlantic Lines came to Spain to explore the possibility of Bazan building two superliner passenger vessels designed by Vladimir Yourkevitch. Each vessel would displace 90,000 metric tons, measure 1,152 feet in length, 134 feet in beam and carry 6,000 passengers plus 1,350 crew. Cantor estimated a building time of two years and the creation of 22,000 jobs. Refused U.S. Government financing, Sea Coach Transatlantic Lines turned to Deutsche Werft Shipyards of Hamburg, Germany, and Bazan of Ferrol. The sticking point was the requirement of 85% mortgage financing by a national government. Although the shipyard expressed a willingness to do the job, the central government in Madrid turned down the offer. The two superliners were never built, they were to have been christened, "Peace" and "Good Will."


Andros Fortune in Corcubión

"Andros Fortune" in Corcubión

Point Lacre in Ferrol

"Point Lacre" in Ferrol

  7. Minor chimney fire.
19. Power shutdown scheduled between 8:30 and 9:30 [AM presumably].
23. Inauguration and blessing of the "best cafeteria in town." A glass of Spanish wine was served.
24. Registration of goldfinches at the stadium for a birdsong contest next spring.
27. Liberian oil tanker "Point Lacre" (above right) rammed the stern section of Canadian oil tanker "Andros Fortune" (above left) off Cape Finisterre. The collision was "very violent...in a lot of fog and very rough seas." Five "Andros Fortune" crew died or went missing, twenty-two others were taken to Ferrol by the destroyer Ariete: 12 Greeks, 8 Canadians, 1 Briton and 1 unspecified nationality. The Canadian vessel was towed to the Firth of Corcubión for emergency repairs and salvage of its cargo of 25,000 tonnes of fuel oil. The Liberian tanker limped into Ferrol under its own steam. Note: I remember seeing its rusty, mangled bow (End of Note).


Rear Admiral Andre Jubelin

Rear Admiral André Jubelin

  1. Ornamental cypresses have been planted on the waterfront gardens.
  4. Town Hall assures the citizenry that the water supply problem will be resolved by the summer of 1963.

Town Hall counts 13 kilometers of unpaved city streets.
  5. Damaged Liberian oil tanker "Point Lacre" departs for Holland
  8. "Andros Fortune" crew depart Ferrol by road to start their return trip to Canada.
  9. Rear Admiral André Jubelin of France (above) arrived at 12:00 noon on an official visit. The usual formalities were observed (e.g. July 26, 1954).

Damaged Canadian oil tanker "Andros Fortune" is towed away to Hamburg, Germany.
11. Gleeful editorial announces that a lot of road improvement work is in the offing.
15. Brief news item deplores the lingering use of steel-rim wheels on animal-traction vehicles.
17. Town Hall has made the installation of artificial lighting on the waterfront a top priority.

Construction of a conveyor belt for iron ore will begin "soon" in the harbour.
18. Around 15,000 Ferrolians watched the traditional Rondallas a las Pepitas contest on Town Hall square (see March 18, 1959).
19. "Thousands of Ferrolians" visited the Destitute Seniors Home. Today is that institution's patron saint day, St. Joseph. Local businesses donated many small gifts and Bazan apprentices donated tobacco and candy. An extraordinary mid-day meal was served,
  • Menu: hors d'oeuvres, soup, paella, Chinese eggs, ham, sweet and table wines. Dessert: custard pie, pastries, oranges, bananas, pop and Pepsi-Cola
In addition every male senior received a cigarette pack plus a cigar, and every female senior candy and chocolates. The meal was presided by the captain general of the maritime department, a vice admiral, the deputy mayor and other officials.
30. 80-year-old man dies after being gored by a bull outside the city limits.

Thirty bedside tables were donated to the Destitute Seniors Home.
31. The minutes of the last Town Hall council meeting suggest that the trams will be replaced with buses shortly.


NRP Pero Escobar

NRP "Pero Escobar"

  2. Today Sunday is St. Francis of Paola the patron saint of draftsmen. Accordingly there was a solemn Mass at 12:00 noon in the co-cathedral.
  9. Portuguese frigate "Pero Escobar" (above) arrived for a visit at 11:00 AM. The usual formalities were observed. "The presence of the Pero Escobar crew in our streets was received with shows of affection and affinity." The frigate departed on the 11th at 11:00 PM.
15. Launch of oil tanker "Bilbao".
21. Ohio Oil Company technicians scout the bay for the possible emplacement of an oil refinery.
22. Local police give their statistical briefing for the first three months of the year: 829 traffic offences, 88 breaches of municipal law, 56 confirmed cases of milk adulteration or of unclean milk containers, 39 instances of disorderly conduct including drunkenness, 25 traffic accidents, 17 cases of panhandling, 12 assaults, 6 minor fires, 6 dog-related incidents, 1 theft (cf. July 7, 1954).
28. Newspaper reminds its readers that the first Ferrolian town hall convened on this date in the year 1788.


USS Mattabesset

USS Mattabesset

  1. "Big crowd" watched a comic game of soccer at the stadium between a team of "Fat Ones" and a team of "Skinny Ones." Donated gross of 2,641 Pesetas went to the Destitute Seniors Home. Final score: Fat Ones 5, Skinny Ones 4. Note: I remember that half times were shortened considerably, the goalkeeper of the Fat Ones climbed to the crossbar and sat there awhile and near the end somebody dressed in a gorilla costume ran out onto the pitch from our side of the stands (End of Note).
  2. Bazan soccer club wins the national tournament of Educación y Descanso for the second consecutive year.
  4. French minesweeper Aries arrived at 10:00 AM on an unofficial visit. Still "several military and civilian representatives went aboard." The vessel departed on the 6th.
10. Major improvement work continues on the municipal park. Birdhouse installed, fountain and pond refurbished, multi-purpose court expanded and covered with terraces.
14. Birdsong contest at 10:00 AM in the stadium (February 24). First prize in the goldfinch category went to five-year-old native "Harmonious."
15. Captain general of the maritime department travels to Brest with his family on the invitation of André Jubelin (March 9).
17. Seminar entitled "Exposition and critique of Marxism" at 7:45 PM in the high school.

New cranes for the harbour.
23. Port of call for gasoline tanker USS Mattabesset (above) on its return leg from Italy to the United States.


Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca

  1. Summertime charity raffle stand in the downtown gardens was inaugurated and blessed by the bishop at 12:00 noon (cf. July 15, 1959). The number of raffle tickets printed is 600,000 and they sell for 1 Peseta each. There will be a draw of super prizes every three days. There are 1,260 surprise prizes on hold which include bicycles, stoves, two hundred cans of olive oil, blankets, radios, etc. The total number of prizes on offer is forty-two thousand. "If all the raffle tickets were sold, Cáritas would collect some 185,000 Pesetas for its Christian work." The raffle stand will open each day from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM and from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.

Latest census figures: 71,259 duly registered and 4,312 unregistered inhabitants for a total Ferrolian population of 75,571. There were 17,998 dwellings and twenty-nine tourist lodgings.
  2. Several high school students volunteer to repair the shack of a sick senior.
  7. Official visit of U.S. Rear Admiral [Clifford Steele] Cooper to the Naval Fuel Storage Annex of A Graña.
18. Young man had his watch and clothes stolen while he went swimming in Copacabana.
20. Showers are installed and working in Copacabana.
21. High school entrance examination at 8:30 AM for the pupils of "Sagrado Corazón" elementary school. Note: I passed the exam (End of Note).
22. Local hunters carry out an authorized cull of crows in the municipal park during the afternoon; the birds frequent the grove of eucalyptus there.
24. "Thousands of Ferrolians" watched the lighting of a mammoth bonfire beyond these "grassy boulevards" just after midnight. A second bonfire was lit five days later.
25. Ghanaian freighter "Bensu-River" is in harbour for repairs.

The same dog bites three people on the right leg in separate incidents.

"Several thousand Ferrolians" went to Valdoviño on buses run by that town hall, the passengers were delighted with the service.
27. Editorial censures the free run that dogs have of the city.

A 39-year-old man suffers serious injuries after falling off a fig tree (cf. September 3, 1954).
28. Two municipal transport buses have arrived and two more are expected on Saturday. Buses will replace the trams on Monday July 3.
29. Gran Compañía del Teatro Eslava de Madrid will stage the play "Yerma" by Federico García Lorca (above) at Renacimiento Theatre. Two performances at 8:00 and 11:00 PM. One day only (flyer).
30. Editorial labels the dogs' free rein in the city "a canine plague" and urges Town Hall to adopt coercive measures.


  1. Town Hall decrees that dogs may not be out in the street without a leash and a muzzle. Unrestrained dogs will be impounded and the owner fined.

Editorial exults over the dwindling number of steel-rim wheels on animal-traction vehicles (March 15).
  2. Last day of tram service.

However, according to the caption beneath this photograph, the last day of tram service was July 3rd. The historic photograph shows the last tram at the end of its final ride about to veer right and head into the garage. Local time was 2:30 PM. The garage was located some four kilometers out of town.

  4. Three new garbage trucks will start operating soon.
  8. First T.V. aerial installed.

Construction of the Navy condominium begins.
12. The cull in the park has killed "more than one hundred crows" (June 22).
15. Newspaper's drive and readers' donations have funded the purchase of a wheelchair for a 14-year-old crippled boy.
16. Summertime charity raffle stand closed at 8:00 PM after all 600,000 tickets were sold (June 1).

Editorial urges municipal workers to stop experimenting with the luminous fountain in Plaza de España.
22. Three teams from Instituto Ibys of Madrid undertake a rat extermination project in the city. Households and businesses that wish to co-operate should register with the health bureau in Town Hall.

On Sunday August 6 the newspaper reported that official institutions had joined the pest control drive. These included Bazan and the coastal artillery garrison. The operation lasted until August 13. Ibys technicians estimated that "more than 50,000 rodents" were killed.

23. Transfer of American command at the Naval Fuel Storage Annex of A Graña. Capt. Harrison G. Packard defers to Capt. Robert J. Davilbies. Note: It was rumoured that the hill had been hollowed out to make room for gigantic fuel storage tanks, huge warehouses, vast arms depots and "who knows what else" (End of Note).


  3. Water main shutoff between 4:00 and 8:00 PM everyday until further notice.
  5. Solemn inauguration of the Second National Fair of the Sea at 12:00 noon. The fair welcomed more than 70,000 visitors in the first two opening days and ran until September 9 when it was officially closed by Franco.
  7. Equestrian meet at the stadium. One show jumping event was labelled "Pepsi-Cola." Note: Placing bets was part of the fun (End of Note).
  8. 22-year-old mother drowns herself and her two babies, a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month girl. The news "caused great consternation in the city."

50-year-old man is seriously injured after falling out of a bus (cf. January 16 and May 26, 1959).
11. Another 22-year-old married woman attempted suicide in the harbour, but was restrained twice.
18. Drivers complain that gasoline is hard to find.
24. Outdoor theatre in the park this evening. Gran Compañía del Teatro Eslava de Madrid presents Un tranvía llamado Deseo by Tennessee Williams. 8:30 PM.
25. More open-air theatre at 8:30 PM.
27. Tap water will run only from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM everyday until further notice.
28. Today's maximum temperature was 35°C (cf. July 8, 1959).
30. Rival shipyard Astano will build an oil tanker for Argentina and three freighters for Norway.


Victorino López González

Victorino López González

  2. Editorial note urges more dumping of sand on Copacabana (February 3, 1959).
  7. Several cafeterias begin installing television sets.
  8. Brawl lands three men in the emergency clinic, their ages 28, 33 and 56 (cf. August 15, 1954).
20. The state will invest 400,000,000 Pesetas in the urbanization of Caranza, a working-class suburb.
21. The quorum for holding night classes in the high school has been met. A Bazan electrician said in an interview that his workday ends normally at 6:15 PM, that night classes start at 6:45 PM and run to ten o'clock. Workers pay a registration fee of 175 Pesetas per academic year, half the normal amount. He poured praise on the principal (above) and on the teaching staff for "their dedication and evident zeal to protect disadvantaged students...they have made our cause theirs."
23. "The generosity of Ferrolians...and the protection afforded by the mayor" have brought about the reconstruction of an old house felled by a storm in the winter of 1959 (see November 30, 1959). Two destitute sisters, one of whom was bedridden, were left homeless. The new house under construction is comfortable and has two floors.

"Hundreds of old magazines are being donated daily" to the Destitute Seniors Home.
25. First day of preparatory grade classes.


  1. Half-page advertisement commemorates the inauguration of the six-storey Simeón building, corner Town Hall square. The deputy mayor, civilian and military dignitaries and representatives of banking, the press and radio attended the opening ceremony and the bishop's blessing. A glass of Spanish wine was served. A clothing retail store occupies the first two floors.
  8. Power shutdown scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 AM to carry out repairs in the grid.
16. High school classes start.
28. Italian corvette Aquila arrived this morning and departed on Monday. Though the visit was unofficial the usual formalities were observed and there was a "festival in the municipal park" at 11:00 PM to fete the Italians.
31. Water losses abound in "numerous points of the city, doubtlessly caused by ruptured pipes."

Credit union celebrates "Universal Savings Day" by holding a draw among its customers. The first prize, a Vespa scooter, went to ticket number #92394. Second prize: dining room set. Third prize: sewing machine. There were thirty-nine other prizes.

Three simultaneous art exhibits in the city: Group of Seven, Luis Calvo and Antolín López Porta. Porta donated one of his paintings to the Destitute Seniors Home. The patrons of Toxos E Froles toasted Porta on Sunday November 19 for "his resounding success."


Marques de Comillas

Liner "Marqués de Comillas" on fire

  1. 5-year-old boy is killed after falling off a tractor-pulled trailer and being struck by the drawbar.

More than 1,400 cars made the short trip to Catabois Cemetery to deposit flowers on relatives' tombs, an All Hallows' Day tradition. The number of visitors totalled 23,000 approximately.

Third Division soccer: Ferrol 10, Santiago 0.
  6. Transatlantic "Marqués de Comillas" (above) burst into flames at the Astano shipyard. The fire was detected at 3:00 AM. The damage was estimated to be 100,000,000 Pesetas.
  7. Fleet oiler USS Waccamaw lays anchor at the naval station of A Graña until the 11th.
  8. Police arrest the author of "numerous robberies committed in the city during the months of September and October."
19. Many streets have "perfect" artificial lighting (example) but others do not, making nighttime transit almost impossible.
21. Street procession of the "Little Princess" religious icon of Daughters of Mary School. Approximately seven hundred schoolgirls with white collar and white veil walked in two rows, the smallest children in the middle. The current pupils were followed by rows of "many" former pupils. The naval infantry band brought up the rear (cf. November 21, 1955).
23. Editorial questions the need for shutting off the water main at night.
25. A band of minstrels from the University of Santiago de Compostela arrived at 5:30 PM, paraded downtown and was officially welcomed by Town Hall. The band gave a recital in Renacimiento Theatre at 12:00 noon the next day.
26. 17-year-old Bazan apprentice falls from an oil tanker in dry dock and is seriously injured.
28. Hans von Benda conducts the Berlin Chamber Orchestra tonight at 8:00 PM in Teatro Jofre.
29. The number of television sets in the city has risen to nearly two hundred (July 8).

"Deficient" washrooms in the meat section of the Central Market.


1961 Christmas postage stamp
  2. Sold-out shows of Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at Capitol Cinema. The Spanish title accorded the film was "La Colina del Adiós" (Good-Bye Hill).
  3. Thirteen high school students volunteer to sell raffle tickets during the Christmas campaign for the needy.
  4. "Very strong gale." A fishing sailboat out in the bay capsized, the crew was rescued.
  7. Official census puts the population of Ferrol at 74,799 (cf. June 1). The population of nearby municipalities follows in brackets: Fene (9,291) Mugardos (6,976) Valdoviño (8,154).
  8. Great expectation surrounds this afternoon's soccer match between Arsenal and Ferrol. "Ferrol needs desperately to win if it wishes to keep alive its chances of promoting to Second Division." Game time is 3:45 PM. There was a big crowd on hand and Ferrol scored two minutes before time to win 2-1.
12. Two hooligans were fined 100 Pesetas for misbehaving at Madrid-París Cinema.
14. Inauguration of a supermarket for the exclusive use of Navy personnel and their families.
17. The yearly levy in benefit of fascist organizations Frente de Juventudes (Youth Front) and Auxilio Social comes due today (cf. September 10, 1955; October 25, 1959).
20. Official Christmas tree (species pinus pinaster) has been put up at Town Hall square.

Back To Index

10. The Local News for the Year 1963

The source for the information contained in this chapter is the excellent online archive of ABC. The newspaper is based in Madrid.

The volume of news about Ferrol for the year 1963 covered by ABC was greater than I supposed, underlining the importance of the shipyard, the naval base and the city. Still this chapter is necessarily much shorter than any of the preceding four.

The date of news items below is the date of the dispatch, usually the day previous to publication. For example the article about the inauguration of the railway station appeared in ABC Madrid on Tuesday February 12, two days after the reporter sent the item in.


26. Under a campaign to reduce retail prices following the lowering of state tariffs, the mayor of Valladolid has held talks with commercial agents of important Corunnese and Ferrolian companies to acquire large stocks of Grade-A frozen fish which would be sold to consumers at half the regular prices.


New railway station

New railway station

10. The Minister of Public Works arrived by train to inaugurate the new railway station. He came accompanied by the director-general of the Spanish railways, the director-general of Hydraulic Works and the director-general of Ports plus other representatives. He was greeted at the station by the mayor, the captain-general of the maritime department, the captain-general of the eighth military region and other high officials. After the blessing ceremony performed by the bishop, the official party headed to City Hall where a glass of Spanish wine was served. The group lunched at the Grand Hotel of Tourism. At coffee time the mayor praised the minister and presented him with the small gift of a silver Galician granary. The party drove to the new Forcadas Reservoir in the afternoon. This dam will finally guarantee the city's water supply. The minister attended Sunday Mass at 7:30 PM and went to a private dinner hosted by the captain-general of the maritime department afterward. He left the city on Monday.
21. Official delivery of anti-submarine destroyers Meteoro and Rayo which have been refitted with modern guns and with detection systems ceded by the U.S. Navy.


22. A flotilla of four French minesweepers arrived from Brest under the command of Capt. Groutard: Bir-Hakeim, Bernéval, Garigliano and Colmar. The units are engaged in joint naval exercises with local minesweepers until the 26th.
29. The corpses of four sailors from the wreck of a fishing boat washed ashore at the mouth of the firth and on the beach of Doniños. The cause of the shipwreck is unknown and the remaining crew is missing.


  3. 28-year-old labourer dies after being flung off this railway bridge by a passing express train then getting run over by a truck on the road below.
22. The Minister for the Navy presided the official delivery of anti-submarine destroyer Oquendo. Following the act the official party visited the munitions workshop and depot. City Hall and "local entities" offered the minister lunch at the Grand Hotel of Tourism. He will pay a special visit to the shipyard tomorrow.
26. The alcoholic beverages elaborated with methyl alcohol by three Galician companies continue causing victims. So far thirteen people have died across Spain. The canning industry has also been affected through its large-scale purchase of adulterated vinegar. Town Hall has confirmed the presence of products elaborated with methyl alcohol in the city.


  2. Work is proceeding at a feverish pace to get the Exhibition Feria de Muestras del Noroeste de España ready to open in July on the "magnificent compound" of 50,000 square meters property of a consortium made up of City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce.


11. Around seventy persons felt indisposed after eating canned tuna in bad condition during the traditional meal for the poor (May 23, 1959). Note: Probably related to the news item of April 26 (End of Note).

A few days ago City Hall ceded land for the construction of a Girls' High School. The estimated cost of construction is 20,000,000 Pesetas. Note: The new high school opened in the year 1967 (End of Note).


1963 Exhibition poster

1963 Exhibition poster

10. I Feria de Muestras del Noroeste de España (First Exhibition of the Northwest of Spain) opens. The fair has more than three hundred stands "magnificently equipped." It will close on the 30th.
12. I Feria de Muestras del Noroeste de España occupies the same compound as did the Feria Nacional del Mar (National Fair of the Sea) two years ago (August 5, 1961). Exhibit areas of interest include electrical energy, mining, hydrocarbons, steel products, metallurgy, nitrogen fertilizers, textiles, fuels and lubricants, chemicals, motors and machinery. There are two outstanding pavilions, the National Institute of Industry and the Navy's.
18. Spanish apprentices won three gold medals, six silver and eight bronze at the Twelfth International Apprentice Competition held in Dublin. Arsenio Sánchez López of Ferrol won the gold medal in sheet metalworking. Note: The July 21 newspaper added that Ireland had finished first with eighteen medals (End of Note).


17. Instituto Nacional de Industria has been authorized to construct a (new) dry dock in Ferrol. The project is estimated to be finished in four years' time. The dock will measure 312 × 42 square meters, big enough to accommodate ships of up to 110,000 tonnes. The news caused great elation in the city. Note: The dry dock with slight modifications was finished in the year 1973 (End of Note).


  9. Franco made an official visit to Ferrol amid public demonstrations of "loyalty and respect". The dictator inaugurated the new local bishopric headquarters. Following a brief concert of sacred music, the bishop and the Justice Minister spoke. The minister said that the Church and the fatherland were conjoint and that "one can not love the Church without loving Spain." The official party then went to the hermitage of Chamorro where the bishop said Mass. The dictator and his wife left the city at 8:15 PM.




  5. The roof of the Navy School of Mechanics caught on fire. Municipal, Bazan and Navy firefighters battled the blaze for two hours. Damage was extensive, two sleeping quarters for sailors were "totally destroyed." No one was injured. Apparently a short circuit sparked the fire.
18. The naval attaché of the French embassy in Madrid told the press that warships from Ferrol will carry out joint naval exercises in the Atlantic with warships from Brest next month as part of a deepening relationship between the navies. "Eighty-four French warships visited Spanish ports last year and the number this year is expected to be near one hundred," he said.
19. Rival shipyard Astano launched the 35,000-tonne freighter "Artemisión" (above) destined for a Greek shipping company. The new ship was built in record time. It is the largest of its class in Spain and makes launch number 166 for the shipyard.


Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Dundas

Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Dundas

27. Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Dundas under the command of Capt. Taylor arrived from Gibraltar and "will remain in these waters" until Saturday the 30th. The usual reception formalities were observed.


Castillo Montjuich

Castillo Montjuich, lost at sea

  9. A factory for making slippers went up in flames amid "great explosions and fireballs which spread alarm in the neighbourhood. These explosions and fireballs were caused by a stock of inflammable materials." Municipal and Bazan firefighters put out the blaze with great effort. The losses are estimated at 2,000,000 Pesetas.
27. The Ministry of the Navy has ordered the urgent put out to sea from Ferrol of a cruiser and two frigates to search for missing freighter "Castillo Montjuich" (above). The freighter left Boston on December 5 loaded with 9,000 tons of corn and is six days late arriving. The U.S. Navy is collaborating in the search. "We will not send airplanes out until (all) the ports have been contacted by radio or checked by American vessels," an American spokesman said. The U.S. Coast Guard has alerted the search & rescue centers of Iceland, Plymouth, Azores and Ramstein (Germany). The last communication from "Castillo Montjuich" was dated December 14 when it reported its location to be four hundred miles north-west of the Azores. Frigates "Legazpi" and "Pinzón" departed at 6:15 AM. Cruiser "Canarias" left at 5:05 PM. The "Castillo Montjuich" has a crew of thirty-seven. Note: The missing freighter was never found (End of Note).

Back To Index

11. The Local News for the Year 1964

The source for the information contained in this chapter is the excellent online archive of ABC. The newspaper is based in Madrid.

The date of every news item below is the date of the dispatch where available, usually the day before publication. For example the article about the launch of the freighter "Alar" appeared in ABC Madrid on Sunday February 16, one day after the reporter sent the note in.

The extracted image for July was tinted sepia to improve definition.


  2. The state bulletin publishes the decree to create a school of naval engineering technicians in Ferrol.
14. The 24-year-old first assistant engineer of frigate "Legazpi" died in a traffic accident when his motorcycle collided with a bicycle one kilometer away from the city. The bicyclist suffered light injuries only.
30. The Girls' Institute is now operating in a wing of the Boys' Institute "with unprecedented success" because Ferrolian girls have enrolled "in great numbers" filling the classrooms with joy.


  1. Official prices for a one-night stay at the Grand Hotel of Tourism are: 185 Pesetas for a standard double room, 110 Pesetas for a single room with bathroom and 65 Pesetas for a single room without bathroom.
15. The Ministry of the Navy auctioned off the old cruiser "Mendez Núñez" at 10:00 AM on February 12 for 14,115,492 Pesetas. The ship, destined for scrap, was launched by the Ferrolian shipyard in the year 1923. It flew the Republican flag during the Spanish Civil War but saw little action. It was decommissioned in the year 1959.

Rival shipyard Astano launches the 7,000-tonne freighter "Alar" contracted by a Norwegian shipping company.
22. In a letter to the director of the newspaper's Saturday supplement, a Ferrolian communicates his find of a seagull with a "Russian-language" aluminum tag tied to its foot. The tag read as follows,

C O O Б Щ И   Б Ю P O   K O Л Б Ц   M O S K W A   E 6 6 0 2 0 7

The seagull had a broken wing and "has already died." Note: MOSKWA is the Polish word for Moscow (End of Note).


  3. The city's firefighters went to help put out a big blaze ninety-six kilometers away in Santiago de Compostela (cf. December 30, 1954).
10. The car driven by a 38-year-old veterinarian plunges into Xubia River near Ferrol. The driver was seriously injured. Two other occupants apparently drowned. The accident was blamed on the bad estate of the road due to snow (!)
25. The door of a car driven by an American couple leaving Ferrol opened accidentally and the vehicle left a trail of 1,000-Peseta bank notes on the road. Then the briefcase holding the rest of the money fell out as well. A Spanish driver and his wife collected the bills and the briefcase, went to the police and gave them their home address in case a rightful claimant should turn up. It so happened that the police telephoned the Grand Hotel of Tourism as the two Americans returned to inquire whether they had left their briefcase behind. The American couple headed to the address of the Spanish couple and recovered their money and the briefcase.
26. The director-general of Primary Education on a recent visit to the city stated that "Ferrol is one of the five or six appalling examples of primary education in Spain." More schools and adequate installations are needed.


Three Ferrolian boys in 1964

Ferrolian boys ahoy!

  8. 32-year-old motorcyclist runs over a 29-year-old man and his 24-year-old wife. The couple suffered serious injuries.
22. Two shipyard workers at rival shipyard Astano perished when their scaffold plunged some twenty meters down to the cargo-bay floor of freighter "Artemisión" (October 19, 1963). The two were 24 and 61 years old, both were single. Taken quickly to hospital they died moments after arrival.
24. Astano registers a second fatal accident for the same cause aboard the "Artemisión." A 22-year-old worker plunged twenty meters and died moments before admission to hospital.
28. Four boys aged 14, 14, 12 and 10 seized a rowboat in the harbour and rowed away. Alerted boats and a coastguard vessel searched and found the rowboat adrift near the mouth of the firth with shoes, socks and underwear on board. The four boys were feared drowned, but they turned up on the beach of Mera, three and a half miles away.


  5. The state bulletin publishes a decree that assigns to the maritime department of "El Ferrol del Caudillo" jurisdiction from the Bay of Biscay to the northern frontier with Portugal.
10. A 4-year-old boy was run over by a cart as he was leaving school and died.
11. Naval and military attachés of the embassies of the Dominican Republic, Peru, Argentina, West Germany, Venezuela, Portugal, U.S.A., Taiwan, Italy, England, France, Belgium and Brazil have arrived on a visit and will tour the naval installations. Note: The article referred to Taiwan as "China" (End of Note).
13. A woman was run over by a truck and died.
20. Tall ship Juan Sebastián Elcano will go to Lisbon on the 27th and take part in the Lisbon to Miami challenge.
30. A captain of the artillery corps died when his motorcycle collided with a truck on a rural road.


Traffic accident

June 10

10. A truck leaves the road, knocks down a power pole and kills a 64-year-old man on the sidewalk.
12. A wave toppled a 41-year-old casual fisherman in the beach of Pantín. His friends were unable to help him and he drowned.
13. A car runs over and kills a 65-year-old woman on a country road.

The sea knocked over a 48-year-old casual fisherman at the mouth of the firth. His companion could not rescue him and he drowned.
30. The surf swept another 48-year-old casual fisherman away in the beach of Siqueiros. "His wife started to scream" and several men nearby jumped into the water and brought him out safe and unharmed. However, a short time later, a new wave swept him away without remedy and he drowned.


Ship's central section towed from Ferrol to Seville

July 3

  3. A deep-sea tugboat has towed the mid-section of future freighter "Santa Pola" from Ferrol to Seville, a voyage of eight days. The towed structure is 80 meters long and 22.5 meters wide and carries in its bays slices of the forecastle. Empresa Nacional Bazán built the vessel's forecastle and mid-section. The Seville shipyard built the aft section and will put the pieces together. This is the first time that Spanish shipyards collaborate on a project. The haulage was completed about 2:00 AM. The "Santa Pola" is destined for a British company based in Bermuda.

The Second Exhibition of the Northwest of Spain will open on the 10th. The participating shipyards accounted for 73% of the overall tonnage launched in Spain during the year 1963, Ferrol's shipyards accounted for 17%.
13. The Minister of Industry spent two hours visiting the Second Exhibition of the Northwest of Spain accompanied by the director-general of naval industries, the captain-general of the eighth military region, the civil governor, the military governor, the captain-general of the maritime department, several admirals, one of whom is commander of the fleet, the bishop and other top officials. A "battery of artillery" rendered honours at the gate. Luncheon at the Grand Hotel of Tourism. The official party toured the shipyard in the afternoon.
21. A motorcyclist suffered "very serious" injuries when he collided with a truck on a country road. His wife who rode on the back seat was lightly injured.

A 32-year-old businessman drowned in the beach of Meirás apparently due to hydrocusion (interrupted digestion). He leaves behind a wife and two infant daughters.
30. The Minister of Information and Tourism closed the Second Exhibition of the Northwest of Spain. He extolled the fair as a testimony of the "Great Spain" resurging thanks to the Leader and to the last "twenty-five years of peace."


  8. Police search for the driver of a badly parked car and find him dead in his hotel room. He was thirty-eight years old.
  9. A motorcyclist died in a traffic accident at a crossroads.
18. 2-year-old girl was struck and killed by a motorcycle on the road to Valdoviño.
21. 17-year-old worker died electrocuted when he touched an overhead power cable.
25. Around 10:00 AM a Navy watchman sounded the alarm that a forest fire had broken out on hill Doniños. Navy personnel, Civil Guard and numerous residents of the area worked for several hours to extinguish it. Many eucalyptus and pine trees were burned. The cause of the fire is unknown.
26. At 6:40 AM a 20-year-old youth was struck and killed by a train on a bridge seven kilometers away (March 31, 1954). The cause of the accident is unknown.


  8. Carmen Polo de Franco arrived at 6:10 PM accompanied by the wives of the ministers of the Navy, Army, Governance, Public Works and Industry. The mayor and his wife presented the dictator's wife with a bouquet. The whole party then headed to the hermitage of Chamorro. The First Lady departed at 8:20 PM. "Her presence on the Ferrolian streets was greeted with loud applause."
11. Ferrol's district judge and magistrate publicizes an ongoing procedure to declare a certain man dead who, having emigrated to Argentina in the year 1952, has not been heard from since.
14. Franco made a private visit to the house of his birth; his wife was already there. News of the visit spread quickly and "a big crowd gathered in front of the house, awaited his exit and acclaimed him enthusiastically."

Panamanian deep-sea tugboat "Cintra" brought the hull of a 10,000-tonne ship for scrapping.
23. A naval task force made up of cruiser "Almirante Cervera," three minesweepers, two frigates, two minelayers and an anti-submarine destroyer left port for maneuvers in the Bay of Biscay.


D-631 Casabianca

French destroyer Casabianca

14. A French naval task force has arrived. The naval group consists of destroyers Casabianca, Le Breton, Le Basque and Le Champenois, gasoline tanker La Saone and submarines Requin and Marsouin. Captain Chawmeil [sic] is the flotilla commander. Four Spanish warships and a gasoline tanker will join the French task force in a naval exercise code-named "Finisterre III." The naval maneuvers start tomorrow and will last from eight to ten days.
23. The Ministry of Public Works solicits bids for the construction of forty social housing units. Construction must be finished in eighteen months.
28. Prince Juan Carlos and his wife made a brief visit to Navy Command Headquarters. The royal couple was greeted by the captain-general, the top commander of the fleet, the military governor, the mayor and "other hierarchies." Numerous persons came to pay their respects. A private dinner was held in the official dining room of the palace. A coffee party followed in the salons which was attended by "numerous representatives of the Navy," the chairman of the shipyard, the former mayor of the city and "other civilian and military representatives." The prince and his wife left the city about midnight.


USS Spiegel Grove

Landing dock USS Spiegel Grove

11. Landing dock USS Spiegel Grove commanded by Capt. Dupzic and the tank landing USS York County commanded by Capt. Lenahan arrived in port today after taking part in the recent naval maneuvers off southern Spain. Both American commanders made and received the visits of protocol. The crew of the landing dock numbers 69 officers, 478 sailors and 552 Marines. Note: Way too crowded, these crew numbers more likely summed both ships (End of Note). The two ships will stay until the 16th. Meanwhile three U.S. Navy transport ships anchored in the harbour since the 4th departed at noon.
20. 5-year-old boy was struck and killed by a motorcycle.

A sailor was seriously injured in a motorcycle versus car collision.
22. 45-year-old man was killed in a bicycle versus bus collision.


Oil tanker Ministro Eugenio A Blanco

Oil tanker "Ministro Eugenio A. Blanco"

  4. 65-year-old man was struck and killed by a car.
  5. 38-year-old motorcyclist runs over a 58-year-old pedestrian downtown. Both men suffered serious injuries.
18. Empresa Nacional Bazán launched the 26,000-tonne oil tanker "Ministro Eugenio A. Blanco" (above) in a "very solemn" ceremony. The descent on the slipway took "exactly thirty-five seconds." The vessel was festooned with Spanish and Argentinian flags. The oil tanker is destined for the Argentinian state-run company, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales.
27. Ferrol is one of the top five Spanish harbours unloading timber from Equatorial Guinea.

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12. The Local News for the Year 1965 Until My Departure

The source for the information contained in this chapter is the excellent online archive of ABC. The newspaper is based in Madrid.

The date of every news item below is the date of the dispatch where available, usually the day before publication.

The extracted images for January and March were tinted sepia in an effort to improve definition.


Listing Liberian vessel

January 5

  1. A naval infantry captain, his daughter and another passenger are seriously injured in a car versus truck collision.
  2. 20-year-old man was struck and killed by a bus downtown.
  5. 7,500-tonne Liberian vessel "Catherine Savona" (above) was towed listing into port after experiencing "important breakdowns" two hundred miles off Cape Finisterre.
10. 8-year-old boy was struck and killed by a railway bus on a bridge (April 3, 1963).
15. Two women are seriously injured in a car versus truck collision.
19. 4-year-old girl was struck and killed by a bus.
23. In the Pen-Pals section of the Saturday supplement magazine, a 15-year-old Ferrolian boy solicits correspondence with "North American girls 15-20 years old to practise English."
27. The Naval Group of the North departed on maneuvers. The task force consists of a destroyer, two frigates, two minelayers and six minesweepers.


  6. 9-year-old boy was struck by a car on a pier and sustained "very serious injuries."
  9. 55-year-old man was struck and killed by a bus on a peripheral road.
19. 47-year-old woman was struck by a car and sustained "very serious injuries."
23. 71-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on a peripheral road.

A mission of the Ecuadorian Navy arrived today to discuss the purchase of several speed boats and one destroyer.


Landing exercise Norte-I

March 24

  1. Thirty-one passengers were injured when a local bus that covers the route Ferrol to San Jorge went off the road on a sharp curve and plunged fifty meters down the slope. The bus flipped over several times during the drop. A 37-year-old passenger was taken seriously injured to hospital.
  3. The Ministry of Tourism and Information has extended 12,000,000 Pesetas on credit to Town Hall for the building of a hotel.

The Minister for the Navy has cancelled a projected "technological lay-off" of employees at Empresa Nacional Bazán.

Town Hall plans to pave "many streets" thanks to a credit of 5,000,000 Pesetas granted by the Ministry of Governance (March 4, 1961).
23. 7-year-old boy was struck and killed by a truck on an outlying road.

39-year-old man died after falling off his motorcycle on the main road leading out of the city.
24. The Operational Amphibious Corps staged a landing exercise near Ferrol (above). Some eight hundred naval infantrymen took part. The landing exercise was watched by many Army and Navy officers.
25. Refitted fast-frigate Intrépido was officially delivered to the Navy. The frigate's hardware was updated by virtue of the mutual defence pact signed with the United States (cf. February 21, 1963). The ceremony included the unveiling of a brass plaque donated by the U.S. Navy commemorating the "bonds of friendship" between the navies.


  8. The director-general of secondary education and a representative of the Ministry of National Education inaugurated the girls' wing of the high-school. The two bureaucrats were greeted by both principals and by local officials. The party toured the girls' section and the director-general evinced keen interest in the Physics and Chemistry laboratories. The group then headed to the auditorium. The principal of the boys' section gave a lengthy speech recounting in great detail the history of the high school and suggesting structural improvements. The girls' section has been in operation since October of last year. Note: Ferrolian girls had no access to public secondary education until then (End of Note).
  9. The corpse of English "nautical student" Christopher Frank appeared floating in the water. He perished last March 14 when his boat capsized, a Spanish sailor died in that mishap as well.
10. The 68-year-old handicapped owner of a postage-stamp-and-tobacco shop was beaten by a young man as he was closing for the day. The assailant ran off with 12,000 Pesetas.
20. 24-year-old rider is seriously injured after falling off his motorcycle on an outlying road.
22. A Ferrolian earns second place in the national air-gun shooting competition held in Madrid with a score of 192/200.
23. Ferrol soccer club offers 500,000 Pesetas to its roster if the team advances to the second division of the Spanish League.
25. 34-year-old worker is seriously injured after falling from a roof while installing a T.V. aerial.


  4. 34-year-old electrician died on the waterfront when his motorcycle rammed into a tree for unknown reasons.
13. The rider and the backseat passenger were seriously injured in a motorcycle versus car collision.
23. 32-year-old motorcyclist dies after running over and seriously injuring a 20-year-old pedestrian.
25. The First Marine Industry Fair and Third Exhibition of the Northwest will be held July 15-30. The fairgrounds cover an area of 47,000 square meters and will house more than eight hundred stands (cf. July 10, 1963).
26. Ferrol beats U.D. Salamanca 3-2 after two tie games and moves to the next round of the tournament for promotion to the second division of the Spanish soccer league.

29-year-old man was stabbed in a bar. The aggressor ran away but was detained by police "moments" after.
27. 52-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on an outlying road.


  1. Fire started in the attic of a house this afternoon and spread down to the second floor. Municipal firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze after two hours. The attic was completely charred, the second floor sustained "great damage."
  6. 35-year-old navy brigadier slams his car against a parked truck and dies instantly.

Final score this afternoon: Ferrol 0, Rayo Vallecano 1. Last Sunday the team lost 3-0 in Madrid. Ferrol is eliminated and must remain in the third division of the Spanish soccer league for another season.
10. 16-year-old teenager is struck and killed by a car on the main road leading out of the city.
17. 59-year-old driver backs his truck on the road to the castle of San Felipe, the vehicle slides off the road, drops three meters down the hillside and ends up hanging from some pine trees. The driver was "seriously injured," his 42-year-old cabin companion was unhurt.


Official catalog of the fair

Official catalog of the Marine Industry Fair

  1. The national railway network announces the operation of a new daily express between Ferrol and Madrid starting July 5. The train will depart Ferrol at 6:15 PM and arrive in Madrid at 10:45 AM the following day.
  3. The First Marine Industry Fair (May 25) will span the following themes: metals, non-metals, the science and technology of shipbuilding, hull maintenance and repair, decoration and furniture, marine propulsion, furnishings, special equipment, auxiliary industries, secondary industries. The Third Exhibition of the Northwest will cover the following areas: farming products and machinery, food, drink, textile industries, clothing, fashion, sewing accessories and related machinery, perfumes, cosmetics, home improvement and appliances, china, shoes, construction, heating, electrical supplies, toys, sports, smoking accessories, laminates, corks and their manufacturing, plastics, chemical industries and laboratories, automobiles and transportation, hardware, machine tools, general machinery, motors, stationery, photography and moviemaking, optical instruments, arts and crafts. This exhibition had six hundred exhibitors and received 200,000 visits in the year 1964.

45-year-old man was "seriously injured" in a bicycle versus car collision.
  6. In women's basketball Ferrol finished thirteenth in the Second National Club Medina Games.
  8. British survey ship H.M.S. Owen is anchored in the harbour. "The ship is mapping the ocean floor adjoining the Spanish coast."
15. The First Marine Industry Fair and Third Exhibition of the Northwest opened today. The opening ceremony held in the auditorium was presided by the captain-general of the maritime department, the captain-general of the eighth military region, the mayor, the director-general of national commerce, the commissar of fairs and exhibitions, the bishop, the military governor and other top officials. "Numerous personalities and businesses of the city, Galicia and various localities of Spain" attended the inauguration. The president of the executive committee, the mayor and the director-general of national commerce spoke in succession. After their speeches the bishop blessed the fairgrounds, the official party toured the compound and a luncheon was held in the Grand Hotel of Tourism.
16. 22-year-old man from Madrid was arrested for repeated theft in a hotel.
17. A commission from Standard Oil and Esso International is in town to conclude details for the speedier construction of a 72,000-tonne oil tanker.
20. 34-year-old man falls off his bicycle and sustains "very serious injuries."
24. The final rounds of the Spanish Yawl Championship started at 7:00 PM in the bay. The event was watched by a "very numerous" public. The navy team of Ferrol finished first of six in the premier category: a 2,000-meters regatta with four rowers and three stakes. The prizes were handed out later on the grounds of the Third Exhibition of the Northwest.
29. Franco arrived at 6:30 PM, toured the bay, visited the First Marine Industry Fair and prayed at the hermitage of Chamorro.
30. The First Marine Industry Fair and Third Exhibition of the Northwest closed at 9:00 PM. The president of the executive committee offered a glass of Spanish wine to all the exhibitors in the cafeteria. The value of all commercial transactions struck during the fair surpassed 100,000,000 Pesetas.


Admiral Maurice Amman

Admiral Maurice Amman

  3. 3-year-old child was swept off by a wave and drowned in the beach of Covas. Several swimmers rescued and carried her back to dry land where they tried artificial respiration but could not revive her.
  4. The body of a 44-year-old electrician appeared floating in the water at the entrance to the bay.
  6. 4-year-old girl was run over by a train at the railway crossing of A Gándara (min. 3:35-3:38 of the "train ride from Ferrol to Neda" video).
  7. Admiral Maurice Amman (above) the prefect of the French maritime department of Brest visited the base this morning accompanied by the captain-general and the chief of staff. The chairman and vice-chairman of Bazan took the official party on a tour of the shipyard. Later the admiral enjoyed a trip through the county by car. He lunched at Navy Command Headquarters.

A patrol of six helicopters from the naval base of Rota will stay in the city two days.
10. 12-year-old boy was struck and killed by a bus.

44-year-old fisherman fell off his rowboat and drowned in the beach of Seselle.
11. The Central Dairy Cooperative will produce pasteurized milk for the city.
12. A van loaded with pines fell down a ravine on the road to another beach. The 26-year-old driver sustained "very serious" injuries, his 33-year-old passenger died instantly.
13. The dictator's wife arrived at 6:45 PM accompanied by two counts and a lady. She made a two-hour visit to her husband's birthplace and to the hermitage of Chamorro. "Ferrolians aware of her visit proferred spontaneous tokens of affection and respect" (cf. September 8, 1964).
17. A truck entered a one-way street illegally and collided with a car. The five occupants of the car were seriously injured. The truck driver, unhurt, was arrested.
24. 6-year-old boy was crossing the road when he was struck and killed by a car.

The First Lady made another short visit to Ferrol.
29. Ferrol played Portuguese First Division Vitória Sport Clube in the final of the yearly Concepción Arenal Soccer Trophy. "Numerous public" and fair although windy weather. Djalma scored for the Portuguese team in the fifteenth minute of play. Costoya tied the match in the fortieth and the first half ended in a draw. Costoya scored again with a hard shot in the tenth minute of the second half and in the twenty-eighth Goyenechea chipped the ball in. Final score: Ferrol 3, Vitória 1. The consul-general of Portugal presented the trophy to Vilar captain of the Ferrolian team. "The victory was deserved."
31. 15-year-old bicyclist sustained "very serious injuries" in a bicycle versus car collision.


Photograph by Alberto Martí

Source: Os Adeuses. Photographs of Galician emigration by Alberto Martí
Mediateca: Consello da Cultura Galega

  5. Departed Ferrol in the early afternoon by railway bus on the first leg of a 30-hour-long trip to Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast.
  7. In Barcelona boarded SS Leonardo Da Vinci with destination the port of Halifax (Canada).
14. Arrival to the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Emigration Ballads

Translation from Galician to English of 4 Classic Emigration Ballads

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13. Puppets In the Park

Bruja Curuja

The Witch (ca. 1960)

Today Almost Like Yesterday


Gorgorito (ca. 1960)

Source: Gil Villanueva, Guillermo. Los Títeres de Maese Villarejo. Madrid: Cudipal, 2003. Print

The first ever performance of Maese Villarejo in Ferrol took place on Tuesday August 23, 1955. Villarejo's puppet show was a highlight of the summer holidays for many children. The main characters that I remember were Gorgorito (Squeaky Voice) La Bruja Curuja (unofficial name of the witch) and Rosalinda (Gorgorito's girlfriend). The book explains that Gorgorito is a "7-year-old boy" lone-ranger type and that Rosalinda was first a brunette. The Rosalinda I recall was blonde.

With the back cloth depicting a gloomy forest, there was Gorgorito facing the audience and asking perplexed, "What's the matter, what are you saying?" "SPIDER!!!" (a huge black one was dropping haltingly upper right). Gorgorito, cudgel slung over his shoulder, looks behind him, but the spider has (been) pulled back up out of sight. "Don't be afraid," Gorgorito tells the children, "there are no spiders here." "SPIDER!!!" (descending gingerly again). A darting glance backwards, spider is gone. Gorgorito turns to his small friends again, "Even if there were spiders I have the cudgel with me." "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" (the spider has plumped down on Gorgorito).

The real name of Maese Villarejo was Juan Antonio Díaz Gómez de la Serna (b. 1922, d. 1986). Born in Madrid, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War found him in San Sebastián, city that fell to the Nationalists within two months. He started doing puppetry in the campsites of Frente de Juventudes (Youth Front) where he created a character named Flecha Juanín which later became Gorgorito. The puppet show became profitable in the nineteen fifties. From October to April he and his wife worked the theaters of Madrid, their repertoire included puppets for adults. From April to October they took the children's show on the road. They spent three months of 1956 doing a television show in the South American country of Colombia and in 1971 they contributed to the Spanish movie, "Varietés."

Here is how Maese Villarejo defined Gorgorito,

I believe that he is my alter ego. He is the character I always dreamt with, a bit Tarzan and a bit Quixote. When I was a child I wanted to be like Tarzan, that's why I gave Gorgorito his parabá, parabá, parabá call which is in reality a parody of the ululating yell of the king of the apes. Like Don Quixote, Gorgorito is something of a knight errant. He roams about, always attempting to right wrongs, aiding the weak and defending justice.

As my parents and I passed by the back of the puppet stage well ahead of showtime one afternoon, a tall, slim man with a cigarette in his mouth exited the small cabin. A park hand loitering about asked the man, "So, is everything ready?" The other replied skilfully, nodding back toward the cabin, "Naw, they're still in there getting everything done." And I quit thinking that I had just seen the man behind the curtain, Maese Villarejo himself.

Listen-to-this icon The Closing Song

Té, Chocolate y Café (Tea, Chocolate and Coffee)

Té, chocolate y café (Coro: Té, té, té)
Té, chocolate y café (Coro: Té, té, té)

En luchas y batallas con brujas y ladrones
A todos siempre venzo con golpes de mi estaca.

Té, chocolate y café (Coro: Té, té, té)
Té, chocolate y café (Coro: Té, té, té)

El cuento se ha acabado, los buenos han vencido,
Si a todos ha gustado gritad fuerte conmigo:

Té, chocolate y café (Coro: Té, té, té)
Té, chocolate y... (Coro: Caaafééééééé)

Tea, chocolate and coffee (Chorus: Tea! Tea! Tea!)
Tea, chocolate and coffee (Chorus: Tea! Tea! Tea!)

In fights and battles with witches and scoundrels
I beat them always with blows of my cudgel.

Tea, chocolate and coffee (Chorus: Tea! Tea! Tea!)
Tea, chocolate and coffee (Chorus: Tea! Tea! Tea!)

The story has ended, the good ones have won,
If everyone has liked it shout outloud with me:

Tea, chocolate and coffee (Chorus: Tea! Tea! Tea!)
Tea, chocolate and... (Chorus: Coooffeeeeeee!!!)

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14. The Comics

El Cachorro

Revenge On the Spanish Main

The superhero comics of my childhood fictionalized several epochs of Spain's history. The comics reflected the nostalgia of a decadent empire conscious that its "glorious past of conquest" would never repeat, conscious that its military training and equipment had become obsolete and that the tide of national liberation movements achieving independence for the colonies of stronger European powers forebode the end of its very last colonies located on the African continent.

The most popular superhero was El Capitán Trueno (Captain Thunder). Vikings and Moors were his foes. The numbers I read fictionalized the 800-year-long struggle between Christians and Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula. The swashbuckler was accompanied by a burly man named Goliath and by a teenager named "Crispín." Hostilities alternated with apparent truces and temporary alliances: in one number Captain Thunder sojourned at a Moorish palace.

The second most popular superhero was El Jabato (The Shoat). The comic imagined the epoch when Spain was a Roman colony. The only print that I remember had the superhero marooned on a craggy island strewn with human skeletons and infested with giant crabs.

My favourite superhero was the last one of the lot: El Cachorro (The Cub). The numbers I read fantasized clashes between English corsairs and Spaniards on the Caribbean Sea. The Cub and his crew scoured the Spanish Main boarding and blowing up every pirate ship they encountered. This comic was my pick when I was a child because the reading material of primary schoolchildren portrayed England in a very bad light as a long-standing enemy of Spain. The byword "pérfida Albión" (double-crossing Albion) circulated widely in the society at large while an undertow of bitterness suffused primers and history books whenever they broached episodes of war between the two countries. The Spanish Armada was not defeated by the superior skill of English sailors—the books and the adults asserted—but by Atlantic gales. Sir Francis Drake was not a bona fide admiral—they jeered—but a vulgar brigand. Every buccaneer was a craven agent of double-crossing Albion sent to plunder Spanish convoys of gold and silver, but timorous of direct confrontation with men o' war. The sanctioned version of history also maintained that Protestant England was with the assistance of a renegade Spanish friar responsible for a widely publicized, infamous libel of Catholic Spain which the authorities and textbooks dubbed "La Leyenda Negra" (The Black Legend). The Black Legend described the Spanish conquest of America as a barbarous undertaking, virtually amounting to genocide of the aboriginal peoples, and it tabbed the domestic workings of the Holy Inquisition as an exercise in exceptional cruelty. Authority figures and textbooks remonstrated that the Black Legend was a fabrication and a dastardly exaggeration, fruit of English envy of the Spanish Empire. According to the same sources the blame for Nelson's victory at Trafalgar lay with the French admiral in charge of the joint French-Spanish fleet. The glory of Trafalgar lay with the Spanish commander who laid aside his misgivings, adhered to strict military discipline and assumed the unsound battle formation imposed by the Frenchman. Schoolchildren learned that the illegal British occupation of the Rock of Gibraltar was an open wound in Spain's soul and a flagrant violation of the Treaty of Utrecht. Note: The dispute over the Rock prompted the closure of the border fence in the final years of General Franco. The argument brandished by his government for the return of the Rock to Spanish sovereignty has been upheld by every democratic government since (End of Note). I distinctly remember and quote the following pious caveat placed by the authors of a high-school textbook ahead of their list of rankling grievances against England: "Far removed from us is the intention of arousing in our readers sentiments of hatred toward any country or peoples." Notwithstanding which they and everyone else most certainly did. I exulted to see Spain's arch-enemy trumped and trounced at sea by the hand of El Cachorro every two weeks with British regularity. Note: Albion's riposte arrived late September 1965 (End of Note).

Another action comic dealt with the Second World War. The losing Germans were treated with respect and sympathy.

Other popular comics were a compilation of cartoon strips set in a contemporary environment. Comic TBO was the archetype, first published in 1916. The backdrop to many vignettes mirrorred the social reality of the day. For example the following reliable notions about Spain can be inferred from this 1961 TBO edition: (1) there was a wide gap of income between the well off and the poor, (2) thumbing a ride was in vogue, (3) common agricultural implements were primitive, (4) water main shutoffs were frequent, (5) most roads were too narrow and traffic sparse, (6) several generations of the same family lived together under one roof and (7) many houses had cockroaches.

Curiously the same TBO issue carries an equivocal "Jewish joke" although very few Jews lived in Spain in 1961,

Jewish Story (Year 1961)

TBO issue year 1961

de Todo un Poco. TBO, 246, p. 12

Translation: Everyday Samuel the wealthy Jew played cards with Meyer the poor Jew. Without exception Samuel always won. One day somebody approached him, "I don't understand why you have picked Meyer to play cards with daily," he said, "you could look for another player." Samuel replied, "Poor Meyer wears such a lustrous suit that his cards reflect off it and I can beat him easily."

The "Jewish joke" feature continued at least until the year 1962, whence comes this second story,

A Nice Profit (Year 1962)

TBO issue year 1962

de Todo un Poco. TBO, 278, p. 14

Translation: Cahen [sic] the old Jew owns a shop of tailored suits and he has the habit of tagging prices with black dots instead of numbers, one dot standing for 5 Pesetas. One morning, as he was shaving, he heard the shop's doorbell ring. So as not to show his face full of lather, he let the clerk do the sale. But as soon as he finished shaving he went downstairs and asked the clerk what he had sold.

"A pair of trousers like these ones."

"For 20 Pesetas, eh?"

"No, sir, for 100 Pesetas in line with the price marked by you."

"You made a mistake. It's 20 Pesetas."

"I tell you, sir, that there were twenty small dots," insisted the clerk, "and so naturally I charged 100 Pesetas. Here they are."

"Twenty small dots, you say?"—asked Cahen smiling—"Ah! Blessed be the houseflies!"

Below, the protagonist of the vignette "La Medalla del Trabajo" (The Medal of Labour) belonging to the TBO issue of February 12, 1965, was called "Cristobalito" (Little Christopher) but most adult readers would have seen in him a caricature of General Franco (cf. the closing paragraph of the Introduction).

"Cristobalito"... or General Franco?

TBO issue 12 February 1965

La Medalla del Trabajo. TBO, 381, p. 8
Bubble: Will the chair show on the photographs?

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15. The Movies

Callao Movie House

Callao Movie House

When I was a child Ferrol had seven movie houses. In my earliest recollection of a movie scene there is an Indian crouching toward a Seventh Cavalry soldier sheltering behind a wagon and firing at a band of circling Indians, the soldier unaware of the threat behind him. The Indian raises his tomahawk and an anguished small voice screams in the hushed house, "¡Mátalo!" (Kill him!). I remember the audience laughed, which perplexed me given the gravity of the situation, but I was mollified by watching the blue soldier with the yellow kerchief turn around in the nick of time and shoot the Indian dead. At that early age I also could not understand where the movie house kept all the horses, wagons and trains for the next showing.

Below is a sample of four days with the movies that were playing in Ferrol. The source is that day's newspaper. The first day is from 1954, the second is from 1955, the third from 1959 and the fourth from 1961. A seasonal variance among the four days was introduced deliberately.

The first field of every row below is the name of the movie house (in italics). The second field is the title of the film as it appeared on the ad. The third field (where available) names the leading actors and actresses as they appeared on the ad. The next field cites the film's country of origin, its year of release and its original title if the film is foreign. The last field provides a hyperlink to a clip of the movie where available. In some cases there is a closing comment taken from the newspaper.

January 1, 1954

  1. Avenida. La Guerra de Dios. Claude Laydú, Francisco Rabal. Spain 1953. Trailer

  2. Callao. El Hombre del Colorado. Glenn Ford, William Holden, Ellen Dremm. U.S.A. 1948, The Man From Colorado. Clip 1. Clip 2

  3. Capitol. Jeromín. Ana Mariscal, Rafael Durán and the child Jaime Blanch. Spain 1953. Clip

  4. Cinema. Tres Hombres Malos. U.S.A. 1926, Three Bad Men. First eleven minutes

  5. Jofre. Las Nieves de Kilimanjaro. Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward. U.S.A. 1952, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Various scenes. "Prodigious film."

  6. Madrid-Paris. Las Rocas Blancas de Dover. Irene Dunne, Alan Marshall. U.S.A. 1944, The White Cliffs of Dover. Clip

  7. Renacimiento. Live comedy show.

A newspaper editorial of March 24, 1954, complained about the compulsory rest period of 10 minutes halfway through a movie.

The owners of Madrid-Paris Cinema made unusually heavy advertising of the movie Lili (U.S.A. 1953) ahead of its premiere on Friday June 25, 1954.

On August 1, 1954, a Western Electric engineer came to install CinemaScope projection equipment in the Capitol movie house. Nine days later a trial run was made with the private showing of "The Tales of Hoffmann" (Britain, 1951). The reaction of the invited guests was enthusiastic. The equipment installed cost about half a million Pesetas or $3,366 year 1954, equivalent to $29,600 year 2016. The apparatus could also project VistaVision, Perspective and 3-D films. Its purchase made the city the seventh in Spain to flaunt this technology. The first CinemaScope movie shown in Ferrol was The Robe (U.S.A. 1953) on Thursday October 7.

April 1, 1955

  1. Avenida. La Hechicera Blanca. Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum. U.S.A. 1953, White Witch Doctor. Clip. "Panoramic screen."

  2. Callao. El Signo del Zorro. Tyrone Power, Basil Ratbone [sic]. U.S.A. 1940, The Mark of Zorro. Clip

  3. Capitol. Alarma en la Flota. Eleanora Rossi, Pierre Cresoy. Italy 1953, I Sette dell'Orsa Maggiore. Clip

  4. Cinema. Esclava del Pecado. Silvana Pampanini. Italy 1954, La Schiava del Peccato. Clip. "Wildly popular."

  5. Jofre. El Manantial. Gary Cooper, Patricia Neil [sic]. U.S.A. 1949, The Fountainhead. Clip 1. Clip 2. Clip 3. "Blockbuster in North America."

  6. Madrid-Paris. Los 3 Alegres Compadres. Jorge Negrete, Pedro Armendariz, Andrés Soler. Mexico 1952. Clip

  7. Renacimiento. El Conde de Montecristo. Jorge Mistral, Elena Colomer. Argentina 1954. First seven minutes

July 1, 1959

  1. Avenida. Double Showing: La Faraona. Spain 1955. Clip 1. Clip 2. Second movie: La Amada de Júpiter. U.S.A. 1954, Jupiter's Darling. Trailer

  2. Callao. La Ciega de Sorrento. Antonella Lualdi. Italy 1953, La cieca di Sorrento. First eleven minutes

  3. Capitol. No Estamos Solos. Isabel de Pomés, José Marco. Poster

  4. Cinema. Double Showing: Nuestro Tiempo. Sofía Loren, Vit. de Sica. Italy, 1954, Tempi Nostri. Clip. Second movie: Distrito Quinto. Alberto Closas. Spain 1957. Clip

  5. Jofre. Stage Show: Professor Alba (magician) and his gorgeous assistant, Gioconda. One day only.

  6. Madrid-Paris. La Condesa Descalza. Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart. U.S.A. 1954, The Barefoot Contessa. Clip

  7. Renacimiento. Bellezas en Moto. Isa Barzizza, Enrico Viarisio. Italy 1952, Bellezze in motoscooter. Poster

October 1, 1961

  1. Avenida. Siempre Hace Buen Tiempo. Gene Kelly, Cid Charisse. U.S.A. 1955, It's Always Fair Weather. Clip 1. Clip 2

  2. Callao. Pelusa. Marujita Díaz. Spain 1960. Clip 1. Clip 2. Clip 3

  3. Capitol. Children's matinee: Bambi. U.S.A. 1942. Clip. Regular: A Pleno Sol. Alain Delon, Marie Laforet. France 1960, Plein Soleil. Trailer

  4. Cinema. Melodías de Hoy. Elder Barber, José Luis, Katia Loritk. Spain 1960. Clip

  5. Jofre. Fiesta en el Corazón. Antonio Aguilar, Verónica Loyo. Mexico 1957. Clip

  6. Madrid-Paris. Children's matinee: Cadete Con Faldas. Austria 1956, Kaiserjäger. First seven minutes. Regular: Los Terribles. Pierre Fresnay, Darry Cowl. Francia 1959, Les Affreux. Poster

  7. Renacimiento. Children's matinee: Cadetes Del Aire. Italy 1959. Poster. Regular: Ursus. Ed Fury, Moira Orfei. Italy 1961. Clip

On October 5, 1961, Callao movie house installed Western Electric's Cinemascope projection equipment. Three days later the first movie shown with the new projector was Duelo en el Atlántico (U.S.A. 1957, The Enemy Below).

On December 7, 1961, a new movie house was inaugurated in Ferrol. Cine Atenas was located in the vicinity of the municipal stadium. The newspaper described it as "magnificent...of colossal proportions...its lower viewing floor contains more than five hundred seats." The first movie shown was Constantino El Grande (Italy 1961).


The Two Child Stars





Joselito was born in 1943. Age-wise he could be considered a child star until 1956 at most. However, as with many other Spanish children, his growth was stunted and his small stature made him look childlike longer.

  1. El Pequeño Ruiseñor (The Small Nightingale). 1956. Clip 1. Clip 2

  2. Saeta del Ruiseñor (Sacred Song of the Nightingale). 1957. Clip

  3. El Ruiseñor de las Cumbres (Nightingale of the Mountain Peaks). 1958. Clip 1. Clip 2

Marisol was born in 1948.

  1. Un Rayo de Luz (A Ray of Light). 1960. Clip 1. Clip 2. Clip 3

  2. Ha Llegado Un Ángel (An Angel Has Arrived). 1961. First nine minutes. Clip 2. Clip 3


Four Spanish Movies I Recall Watching As A Child

Poster of Marcelino Pan y Vino


Poster of El Dia De Los Enamorados


Poster of La Fiel Infanteria


Poster of Ahi Va Otro Recluta


  1. Marcelino Pan y Vino (Marcelino Bread and Wine). Pablito Calvo, Rafael Rivelles. Spain 1954. Religious fantasy. Clip

  2. El Día de los Enamorados (The Day of Those In Love). Tony Leblanc, Concha Velasco. Spain 1959. Romantic comedy. Clip

  3. La Fiel Infantería (The Loyal Infantry). Analía Gadé, Tony Leblanc. Spain 1960. Propaganda. Clip

  4. Ahí Va Otro Recluta (There Goes Another Conscript). José Luis Ozores, Carmen Rodríguez. Spain 1960. Comedy of sorts. Trailer

The majority of movies shown in Ferrol was foreign. The random sample of movie listings for 1954, 1955, 1959 and 1961 shows that a mere ¼ had Spain as the country of origin.


The Movie With the Advisory Rating 4

The Brothers Karamazov

The landing at the back door of the co-cathedral had a fount of "holy water" and on the adjoining wall there hung a bulletin board with the list of movies showing in the city, a brief description of each and an advisory rating. The lowest advisory number 1 meant that the movie was harmless and could be watched by everybody. Movies meant for adult audiences were tagged with the number 3 (e.g. some necking). The next rating was 3-R which indicated that the movie had serious, morally objectionable features (e.g. some necking plus a bikini or two). It was the summer of 1965, shortly before my departure. Balancing on the fount's pedestal, I scanned the bulletin board and my eyes bugged out when I spied the number 4. That was the sternest advisory, rarely seen. It meant that the movie was "gravely dangerous" to the spiritual well-being of the moviegoer. I took mental note of the title and read the eponymous book years later.

The censured movie was American from the year 1958. Here is the movie's official trailer.

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16. The Radio

Radio Philips BE-631-A

Radio Philips BE-631-A

Radio Philips BE-631-A was advertised on the newspaper of December 15, 1954, as a wonderful gift for the Christmas holiday season. The advertisement stated, "The surprising sensitivity due to its 'high-frequency pass' [high-frequency amplifier] and selectivity due to its 'infinite broadening' [shortwave spectrum broadening] will enable you to hear from Australia to Canada and from Norway to Argentina, picking up the countless daily broadcasts from all over the world." The sale price was 5,241 Pesetas (plus 45 cents). Our own radio was a medium-size transistor with a shortwave band that our parents used occasionally to listen to the special B.B.C. news programs targeting Spain.

I first heard the notes of Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade as a small child listening to the opening music of the late-night radio program, Ferrol de noche (Ferrol at night). Radio was the news and entertainment center of most homes.

Some popular children's songs were:

Listen-to-this icon ¿Donde Están Las Llaves? (Where Are the Keys?)
Listen-to-this icon Mambrú Se Fué A La Guerra (Mambrú Went To War)
Listen-to-this icon Mi Vaca Lechera (My Dairy Cow)
Listen-to-this icon Pececito Del Mar (Small Fish of the Sea)
Listen-to-this icon ¡Qué Feliz Es El Pez En El Agua! (How Happy Is A Fish In the Water!)
Listen-to-this icon Vamos A Contar Mentiras (We Are Going To Tell Lies)

However my two favourite songs were "Camino Verde" (Green Trail) and "Navidad" (Christmas).

Camino Verde (Green Trail)

I remember singing "Camino Verde" to visiting friends of my parents when I was quite small. The song was written by Basque composer Carmelo Larrea.

Hoy he vuelto a pasar por aquel camino verde
Que por el valle se pierde con mi triste soledad.
Hoy he vuelto a rezar a la puerta de la ermita
Y pedí a tu virgencita que yo te vuelva a encontrar.

Por el camino verde, camino verde, que va a la ermita,
Desde que tú te fuiste lloran de pena las margaritas.
La fuente se ha secado, las azucenas están marchitas
En el camino verde, camino verde que va a la ermita.

Hoy he vuelto a pasar por aquel camino verde
Y en el recuerdo se pierde toda mi felicidad.
Hoy he vuelto a grabar nuestros nombres en la encina,
He subido a la colina y allí me he puesto a llorar.

Por el camino verde, camino verde, que va a la ermita,
Desde que tú te fuiste lloran de pena las margaritas.
La fuente se ha secado, las azucenas están marchitas
En el camino verde, camino verde que va a la ermita.

Camino, camino verde.

Today I have trodden again that green path through the valley
That vanishes in the distance with my sad loneliness.
Today I have prayed once more at the hermitage's door
And petitioned your cherished Lady to meet you again.

By the green green path that goes to the hermitage
Weep the daisies in sorrow since you departed.
The fountain has dried up, the Madonna lilies are withered
On the green green path that goes to the hermitage.

Today I have trodden again that green path,
And in the remembrance vanishes all my happiness.
Today I have carved once more our names on the holm oak,
Headed up the hill and there started to cry.

By the green green path that goes to the hermitage
Weep the daisies in sorrow since you departed.
The fountain has dried up, the Madonna lilies are withered
On the green green path that goes to the hermitage.

Trail—green trail.

Listen-to-this icon Angelillo (Spain, 1954)
Listen-to-this icon Gregorio Barrios (Spain)
Listen-to-this icon Los Panchos (Mexico and Puerto Rico)
Listen-to-this icon Víctor Hugo Ayala (Colombia)
Listen-to-this icon Diana Navarro (Spain, 2008)

Navidad (Christmas)

The origin of this song is obscure. Basque composer Carmelo Larrea wrote many songs for Cuban singer Antonio Machín. Although Machín is usually credited with being the author of this carol, its melancholy tone, similar to Camino Verde's, suggests that Larrea had some say in the lyrics. Still others dispute their authorship. The song has a decidedly un-Spanish feel, even its first word, "Campanitas," suggests sleigh bells rather than church bells, the traditional Spanish motif. Both Machín and Larrea were familiar with American carols, having lived in the United States for some time.

Sleigh bells that pass jingling, jingling,
"Christmas" go ye merrily singing,
And to my mind come the sweet memories
Of the blessed home where I was raised...
And that dear old lady I adored so,
My precious mother whom I won't forget.

Holidays which with sweet song
Observe the souls that know how to love:
O how sad it's wandering through life
On misguided path far away from home
Without hearing a tender voice
Fondly say, "Christmas has arrived!"

Listen-to-this icon El Consorcio (Spain)
Listen-to-this icon Antonio Machín (Cuba)
Listen-to-this icon Julio Jaramillo (Ecuador)
Listen-to-this icon Los Hermanos Mendoza (El Salvador)

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17. Gorses And Flowers

vynil record cover

Hispavox HH 16-432 (EP). Year 1963

The choir Toxos E Froles (Gorses And Flowers) was born in the year 1915 fruit of the initiative and labour of three men: a general of the engineer corps, an operator of the forge in the arsenal and a retired naval infantry officer. The aim was to preserve Galician folklore. The first public performance took place at Teatro Jofre on May 29, 1915. The public's response was enthusiastic and the occasion ended with the encore, Dous Amores. On September 23, 1927, the chorus sang before the king and the following year it was recompensed with the distinction, "Royal."

Four modern performances of the choir follow.

Listen-to-this icon Foliada de Corrubedo
Listen-to-this icon Mira Como Ven (See How He Comes)
Listen-to-this icon O Galopín (The Urchin)
video icon Centenary at Teatro Jofre (duration: 1 hr 5 min)


The choir has of course performed the following three Galician classics. All three are poems set to music.

1. Listen-to-this icon Negra Sombra (Black Shadow)

This poem published in 1880 was written by Rosalía de Castro.

Cando penso que te fuches,
negra sombra que me asombras,
ó pé dos meus cabezales
tornas facéndome mofa.

Cando maxino que es ida,
no mesmo sol te me amostras,
i eres a estrela que brila,
i eres o vento que zoa.

Si cantan, es ti que cantas,
si choran, es ti que choras,
i es o marmurio do río
i es a noite i es a aurora.

En todo estás e ti es todo,
pra min i en min mesma moras,
nin me abandonarás nunca,
sombra que sempre me asombras.

When I think that you have parted,
Black shadow that overshadows me,
At the foot of my head pillows
You return making fun of me.

When I fancy that you are gone,
From the very sun you taunt me
And you are the star that shines
And you are the wind that moans.

If there is singing it's you who sings,
If there is weeping it's you who weeps,
And you are the river's rumour
And the night and the dawn.

Everywhere you are in everything,
For and within me you live
Nor will you ever leave me,
Shadow that always shades me.

2. Listen-to-this icon Himno Galego (The Galician Anthem)

The official Galician anthem covers the first four stanzas of the poem "Os Pinos" written in 1895 by Eduardo Pondal.

¿Que din os rumorosos
na costa verdecente,
ao raio transparente
do plácido luar?
¿Que din as altas copas
de escuro arume arpado
co seu ben compasado
monótono fungar?

—Do teu verdor cinguido
e de benignos astros,
confín dos verdes castros
e valeroso chan,
non des a esquecemento
da inxuria o rudo encono;
desperta do teu sono,
fogar de Breogán.

Os bos e xenerosos
a nosa voz entenden,
e con arroubo atenden
o noso rouco son,
mais sóio os iñorantes
e féridos e duros,
imbéciles i escuros
non nos entenden, non.

Os tempos son chegados
dos bardos das idades,
que as vosas vaguedades
cumprido fin terán;
pois, onde quer, xigante
a nosa voz pregoa
a redenzón da boa
nazón de Breogán.

What do the rumorous ones
On the resplendent green coastland
Say to the transparent ray
Of placid, bright moonlight?
What do the tall treetops
Of spiked, dark needles say
With their regular, rhythmic,
Monotonous rumble?

"Girded by your greenery
And by benign celestial bodies,
Bounds of the green ancient-hill-forts
And courageous plain:
Do not strain to forget the offense
With rude stubbornness,
Awake from your slumber,
Home of Breogán.

"The good and generous ones
Understand our voice
And with delight listen
To our droning sound,
But only the ignorant ones
And coarse and cruel ones,
Imbeciles and unenlightened ones
Do not understand us, no.

"The time of the ages
Of bards has arrived
When your vague fancies will find
Ultimate fulfillment
For everywhere gigantic
Our voice proclaims
The redemption of the good
Nation of Breogán."

3. Listen-to-this icon Unha Noite Na Eira Do Trigo (Once Upon A Night In The Wheat Fields)

This poem published in 1869 was written by Manuel Curros Enríquez.

Unha noite na eira do trigo,
ó refrexo do branco luar,
unha nena choraba sin trégolas
os desdés dun ingrato galán.

I a coitada entre queixas decía:
"Xa no mundo non teño a ninguén,
vou morrer e non ven os meus ollos
os olliños do meu doce ben."

Os seus ecos de malencolía
camiñaban nas alas do vento
i o lamento repetía:
"¡Vou morrer e non ven o meu ben!"

Lonxe dela, de pé sobre a popa
dun aleve negreiro vapor,
emigrado camiño de América
vai o probe, infelís amador.

I ó mirar as xentís anduriñas
cara a terra que deixa cruzar:
"Quen pudera dar volta—pensaba—
quen pudera convosco voar!..."

Mais as aves i o buque fuxían
sin ouír seus amargos lamentos;
soio os ventos repetían:
"¡Quen pudera convosco voar!"

Noites craras de aromas e lúa,
desde entón ¡que tristeza en vos hai
pra os que viron chorar unha nena,
pra os que viron un barco marchar...

Dun amor celestial, verdadeiro,
que non soio de bágoas a proba:
unha cova nun outeiro
i un cadavre no fondo do mar!

Once upon a night in the wheat fields
By the reflected white light of the bright moon
A young girl mourned without pause
The disdain of an ungrateful beau.

And the poor girl said between plaints,
"I have no one left in the world,
I am going to die and my eyes do not see
The dear eyes of my sweet boon."

Her echoes of melancholy
Drifted away on the wings of the wind
And she kept repeating the lament:
"I am going to die and my boon won't come!"

Far away from her, standing at the stern
Of a rogue steamboat slaver,
The unfortunate, forlorn lover
Emigrates en route to America.

And upon watching the gentle swallows
Cross toward the land he is leaving behind:
"Who could turn back," he pondered,
"Who could fly back with you...!"

But the birds and the vessel sped onward
Without hearing his bitter laments,
Only the winds kept repeating:
"Who could fly back with you!"

Clear nights of fragrances and moonlight,
Since then how much sadness you own
For those who saw a young girl weeping,
For those who saw a ship leave port...

Away from a heavenly, genuine love
That is not shown by teardrops alone:
A grave on a lookout
And a corpse on the ocean floor!

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18. The High School

High school

The High School

When I was a child the official name of the high school was "Instituto Nacional de Enseñanza Media de El Ferrol del Caudillo." The colours on the outside have changed, but the building of the year 1927 is the same. The principal's name was Mr. Victorino López González. He taught Language and Literature, his wife taught Physics and Chemistry. Girls and boys were segregated.

The school offered two years of preparatory school followed by six years of high school and a final year of preparation for university studies elsewhere. The classes of "preparatory" were given in two classrooms located in the east wing of the building. Initially I was assigned to the crowded, south-facing homeroom of teacher Mr. Saturnino Hermida López. Of stern demeanour, he always wore black. A former pupil remembers him,

He tutored me for a few years after [preparatory] and I went to see him several times, e.g. when I lived in Santiago [de Compostela] and he, retired already, ran the library of the Boys Institute...Eventually I found out that he took Law [in his youth], challenged the professor's demonstration of the existence of God—he told me this himself, I remember his very words—and was expelled from university, so he had to etch out a living in the middle of the [Spanish Civil] war. Short and slim, of striking eyes, father of three daughters...Beloved and venerated, I said to two Ferrolian mayors that he deserved to have at least one street named after. He taught many generations of Ferrolians and today his figure fades away without the homage that he without doubt deserves.

I was transferred very quickly to the north-facing classroom of teacher Mr. Antonio Pardo Lozano, some said he was a Falangist. Usually pleasant, he read to us short animal stories that I looked forward to hearing.

After preparatory the student enrolled in six years of high school proper which were followed by an optional year of preparation for university. The high school curriculum was hard and classroom discipline tough from the start, the students were forbidden to ask questions. Another Falangist taught a course called "Forging of the National Spirit." I expected an enthusiastic delivery on the history and political platform of fascist Falange Española, but he seemed bored or disenchanted and even told us one morning, "Go play soccer far from the high school, but don't let the Principal see you leave." We naturally obliged.

Regular students paid a registration fee in September. Some students had the fee waived if their family could not afford it. The newspaper cites ten such waivers on September 23, 1955. Occasionally a few scholarships were offered by various institutions including the school itself, e.g. five scholarships worth 1,000 Pesetas each were made available to applicants on January 22, 1954.

Final exams were held in the second half of June. For example on Saturday June 26, 1954, these were the subjects and the times. 9:00 AM: Modern Languages. 4:00 PM: Physics and Mathematics for students majoring in Science, the students could bring a table of logarithms. 4:00 PM: Latin and Greek for students majoring in Letters, students were allowed to bring a dictionary.

Students who failed in June could take the exam(s) over in September, before the start of the school year. This was the schedule for fourth and sixth-year repeats in the year 1955. Tuesday September 7, 9:30 AM: French and English. 10:45 AM: Mathematics. 12:00 noon: Latin and Greek. 1:15 PM: Forging of the National Spirit. 3:30 PM: Drawing (sixth year) or Physics and Chemistry. 4:45 PM: Spanish. 6:00 PM: Sciences. 9:30 PM: Religion. The oral exams continued on the Wednesday.

The school boasted an auditorium where movies were shown on weekends. I do not remember the title but I remember the plot of a heart-breaking French-Canadian film probably set in the nineteenth century. A large family emigrates to Canada, presumably from France. The beginnings are happy enough, but the man of the house falls ill during the winter and dies, leaving his widow behind to take care of the children in mounting hardship. In due course she too falls ill and dies. In the melancholy closing scene the oldest daughter takes the siblings out of the log house which the parents had been renting and leads them along a snowy trail into the woods, a late afternoon sun shining behind them. I left the auditorium chilled to the bone. What a horrible country to live in, I thought. An early scene aroused my weather-watcher calling: the father peeks out of a window into the night and right after he closes the flimsy curtain a flash of lightning floods the scene, thunder rumbles and a copious fall of snow begins.

I completed two years of high school with top honours then my parents decided to emigrate to Canada in September 1965.

1963 Photo

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19. The Beach

The beach of A Frouxeira

The beach of A Frouxeira

When I was a child the highlight of my summer holidays was the beach and lagoon of A Frouxeira (video) in the municipality of Valdoviño located seventeen kilometers away from the city. We travelled on the Bazan bus, a service which was "already a tradition" in the summer of 1955. Every employee could use the service a limited number of times. My parents opted to go on weekdays to avoid the crowds.

The morning may have dawned cloudy and damp over the city but the summer sun invariably shone bright over the beach. Fun and games with other children—eating in the camping tent that we set up near the dunes, or without the tent, in the clearing of a resin-fragrant pine stand guarded by walls of gorse taller than I—playing soccer with the adults on the sand or on a rustic playing field just behind the beach—exploring the dunes strewn with sea hollies—exploring the solitary lagoon and catching glimpses of its birds and animals (ospreys, Eurasian coots, skylarks, common reed buntings, adders) or plodding in safari to the far end of the beach—I could never get enough of A Frouxeira.

One day we took the last bus home, but it would not start. I had pleasant visions of spending the night on the beach but alas! a replacement bus showed up after an hour or so and carried us away. Another time in one of my reconnaissance missions I happened upon a teenage couple lying among the reeds. The boy told me to be very careful because they had just seen an adder wind past. I left in a hurry, but was not completely fooled: why hadn't they bolted?

On our final trip to Valdoviño I was twelve years old and the sun did not break through as it customarily did. The whole day was cloudy and drizzly, as miserable as I was.

The newspaper of July 12, 1955, described the drive and the place thus,

The road to the place is very bad, but the drive is admirable as it crosses a forest of pine, alders, eucalyptus and chestnut trees that exude a pungent aroma. The panoramic views of the valley bound by the parishes of Lago and Castro are really stunning. There are many brooks along the way and diverse hues of greenery and wheat fields.

The beach has a permanent sea breeze and a majestic lagoon. From the road it looks like a very broad stretch of sand dazzling in the sun; the sea is very blue. The islet known as A Percebelleira is at times overrun by towering waves, accessible others. Clung to its rocky mass are thousands of shellfish of diverse species.

As many of us as have paid a visit will cherish a grateful memory.

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20. Radio Sounds Library

Most songs in the twenty-eight instalments offered below are the genuine article sung by the original artists. Notable instrumental versions were added which were recorded in the nineteen seventies or later. For example the rendition of "Adiós Pampa Mìa" by the Orquesta Imperial del Tango (instalment 2) or the execution on the accordion by Françoise Massanes of "Yo Te Diré" the theme song of the classic Spanish movie, "Los Últimos de Filipinas" (instalment 27). They are followed by the original song always. In addition there are twelve genuine instrumentals, "Carrascosa," "Cerezo Rosa," "Chi Ri Bi Ri Bí," "Danke Schöen," "El Pájaro Campana," "The Bridge Over The River Kwai" march, "La Boda De Luis Alonso," "La Machicha," "Mambo nº 8," "Paquito El Chocolatero," "Perfidia" and "Tequila". Nine clips are not songs. For example one recorded the voice of Communist Dolores Ibarrúri ("La Pasionaria") speaking over pirate "Pyrennees Radio" in 1962 (instalment 3). Another takes up the misadventures of "Garbancito" (The Little Chick Pea) a funny children's story broadcast in the nineteen fifties (instalment 12). Popular comedian Miguel Gila used absurd humour to make the audience laugh (instalment 18). Another clip abridges the Generalissimo's New Year's Message for 1958 (instalment 22).

Nearly every line in the twenty-eight instalments below is made up of two fields separated by a hyphen. The first field is the name of the song followed sometimes by its year of composition in brackets. The second field is the name of the performer(s) often followed either by the year of the recording in brackets or by the year of its first showing in the list of the top 20 records sold in Spain between the years 1940 and 1965 as compiled by Clasificación Nacional Del Disco. For instance, the year of composition of the tango "A Media Luz" (instalment 1) is 1925 (source: Spanish Wikipedia) and Sarita Montiel performed it in 1960. Lilian de Celis recorded "Batallón De Modistillas" (instalment 4) which ranked tenth in the Spanish hit parade of 1956. Exceptionally a line may carry two dates. "Catapúm Catapera" (instalment 6) also known as "El Polichinela" was recorded by Lilian de Celis in 1956, it had been composed in 1908.

A few songs date back to the nineteenth century. "Fonseca" (instalment 12) is said to hail from the year 1870 and from the environs of the University of Santiago de Compostela. The popular Mexican birthday song, "Las Mañanitas" (instalment 15) is said to have originated with the Jews of Spain before their expulsion in 1492. The opening line reads, "These are the morning songs that King David used to sing to the pretty girls, today we sing them to you." These venerable songs were quite popular when I was a child.

The exercise of finding the year of a song's debut or the year of a performance turned out to be more laborious than I expected. The exercise was made more difficult when a song owned several titles in cyberspace. Two examples follow. "Aparte De Esto" (instalment 3) is also tabbed "Es Una Lata El Trabajar" or "La Vida Pasa Felizmente". "Alma Llanera" is also given the erroneous title "Hermano Del Sol" (instalment 12).

The only date I discovered in cyberspace for the debut of "Aparte De Esto" (instalment 3) is 1969 when the song purportedly became a summer hit in Spain. However I believe I heard it played much earlier. The reason for the discrepancy could be that Argentinian singer-songwriter Luis Aguilé recorded several albums in his native land before moving to Spain in the nineteen sixties. The song I believe I heard as a child must have been an Argentinian recording. Certainly the tune bespeaks the nineteen fifties more than it does the year 1969.

At least one Spanish webpage holds that "Cuando Salí De Cuba" (instalment 7) was written by Luis Aguilé to lament a broken romance with a Cuban girlfriend following his visit to the Caribbean island. The lyrics, however, refute this assertion and point to the Cuban émigré community of Miami as the source and suggest a composition date prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961).

"Raskayú" (instalment 22) and "Se Va El Caimán" (instalment 23) were appropriated by opponents of the Franco regime as equivocal references to the dictator. The first song was a comical danse macabre with the refrain, "Raskayú [meaningless name] when you are dead, what will you do? You'll be no more than a corpse." The second was a farcical song from Cuba about a man turned alligator. Its refrain is "The alligator is going away to Barranquilla [placename]."

The instrumental clip of "Siboney" (instalment 24) played by the orchestra "Gran Orquesta Románticos De Cuba" actually blends two songs, "Siboney" and "Desesperadamente." A good guess for the date of this recording would be the year 1960.

The twenty-eighth instalment is a collection of "clips left behind on the cutting-room floor." The audio in the "11 Minutes of Radio Commercial Jingles" clip sold listeners on a jewellery shop of Madrid, soap, four types of insecticide (including the infamous D.D.T.) a chain of fabric retail stores, custard pie, bleach and champagne. The brands of soap and champagne are still around. Three clips carry Spanish lyrics for the movie themes of "The Bridge Over The River Kwai", "The Longest Day" and "Exodus". The sixth clip was a popular Cuban song entitled "La Rana" (The Frog): "A frog was sitting under the water—when it started to sing—along came a housefly and made it shut up..." The housefly was followed by a spider, mouse, cat, dog, man and his mother-in-law. The punch line is, "When the mother-in-law started to sing, not even the devil made her shut up." The last clip is a news report dated December 21, 1959, on the arrival at 4:20 PM (local time) of U.S. President Eisenhower to the joint American-Spanish military air base of Torrejón de Ardoz near Madrid. Eisenhower sealed a treaty of friendship between the United States and General Franco and put an end to Spain's international isolation. The clip recorded this fragment of Franco's speech,

This base of Torrejón built with the formidable help of the United States, and housing in close comradeship the Spanish and North American air wings, is a symbol of our friendship and is erected under the motto which doubtless is very dear to you, "Peace In Our Profession."

Freeware program "MP3Gain version 1.2.4" written by Glen Sawyer was used to try and preserve an uniform volume of sound throughout. The track gain was set at 93.0 ± 0.7 db. The result was more or less satisfactory. It was deemed necessary to alter the gain of several tracks.

Windows Media Player opens and plays every instalment without problem. Clicking on the LISTEN hyperlink at the Ferrolian cybercafé I visit gives the choice of listening to or downloading an instalment file. Right-clicking on the LISTEN hyperlink on my laptop at home (O.S. Windows 10 Home Version 1511) also lets me download the instalment files. Hopefully you, the reader, have similar ways of downloading these twenty-seven audio files (MP3) should you wish to.

1. LISTEN Playlist of the first instalment
2. LISTEN Playlist of the second instalment
3. LISTEN Playlist of the third instalment
4. LISTEN Playlist of the fourth instalment
5. LISTEN Playlist of the fifth instalment
6. LISTEN Playlist of the sixth instalment
7. LISTEN Playlist of the seventh instalment
8. LISTEN Playlist of the eighth instalment
9. LISTEN Playlist of the ninth instalment
10. LISTEN Playlist of the tenth instalment
11. LISTEN Playlist of the eleventh instalment
12. LISTEN Playlist of the twelfth instalment
13. LISTEN Playlist of the thirteenth instalment
14. LISTEN Playlist of the fourteenth instalment
15. LISTEN Playlist of the fifteenth instalment
16. LISTEN Playlist of the sixteenth instalment
17. LISTEN Playlist of the seventeenth instalment
18. LISTEN Playlist of the eighteenth instalment
19. LISTEN Playlist of the nineteenth instalment
20. LISTEN Playlist of the twentieth instalment
21. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-first instalment
22. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-second instalment
23. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-third instalment
24. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-fourth instalment
25. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-fifth instalment
26. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-sixth instalment
27. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-seventh instalment
28. LISTEN Playlist of the twenty-eighth instalment

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21. Further Reading: New Subjects, Several Categories, Three Languages

11 Songs of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)

Los Canadienses (Batallón Mackenzie-Papineau)

Diary of a Marked Man

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

(External Website)

Rosalía de Castro

Translation from Galician to English of Cantares Gallegos (1863)

A short selection from Cantares Gallegos (1863)

Translation of 7 poems from Follas Novas (1880) by Rosalia de Castro

Translation from Spanish to English of the poem ¡Volved!  by Rosalia de Castro

Eduardo Pondal

Translation from Galician to English of 11 poems by Eduardo Pondal

Manuel Curros Enríquez

Translation from Galician to English of 4 Classic Emigration Ballads

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