Cambria House Journal

Volume 2 Number 1, November 1939


This issue of the Journal is one which marks big changes in the history of the Basque Children's Movement, and in the circumstances of the 55 children for whom South Wales has been so wonderfully loyal during the past two years and a half.

Certain sections of the Press have recently made reference to the changing circumstances of the children, but unfortunately the statements appearing have been incorrect, and unless corrected amongst our friends will do considerable harm.

The first change to affect us was when we were compelled to give way to the Military Authorities and vacate Cambria House for another building nearby known as Vale View. Cambria House had been a Home from Home for over two years, and although during that time many a sad day was experienced, there were too, many happy times which will live long in the memories of the children and of friends who joined in and contributed in so many ways towards the happiness of the Home. But we were obliged to take over Vale View and were confronted with a serious problem, for the building was only meant to accommodate approximately 20, and we were 60 with Staff.

To meet this situation, an appeal was made to friends for private hospitality for some of the children, and a splendid response was forthcoming, resulting in 18 children being placed in private homes. It then appeared that we would be able to settle down comfortably in the new Home, but we were soon to be disappointed, for after a fortnight the Military made a request for Vale View, and we were offered a private house with still more limited accommodation. Again an appeal was made for private hospitality, and again friends were ready to respond, and a further 8 children were placed in various homes. We were now left with some 35 children and adults to be accommodated at our present address, - 18, Cross Street, Caerleon, and although we are certainly very much overcrowded, we are, under the careful management of our Warden, Mrs. Fernandez, again settling down and endeavouring to make things comfortable and happy for all through the few weeks, which are left before the next change.

This will be a change of a different mature, for a number will, before November is out we think, be compelled to say Goodbye. The War, with the many difficult problems which it has brought, has also brought to 25 of the boys and girls, the Call of Home. These are cases in which parents are living and are now re-united, and after carefully weighing up the many points for and against, with the aid of letters from parents, it has been decided that in these 25 cases it is probably better for them to return to their parents now, rather than face the uncertainty of the future in this country, which we must remember is now itself at war.

And so this November issue of our Journal is for these 25 boys and girls, their farewell issue to you their friends, and I only wish it were possible for them each one to express to you the thanks and appreciation which they feel and so often express in their conversations in the Home.

South Wales has shown a comradeship and generosity which has been an inspiration to those of us who have been privileged to know what has been done, but though when they are at home in their own country many miles will divide us, the spirit of South Wales will live in these children, and will, I am sure, help to strengthen them for the task which lies before them and us, - the building up of the New Order based on Real Freedom and Justice. They will go forward bravely to their task, and we must continue with ours.

Twenty-five boys are going home, and although they are going to a shortage of food, and to generally bad conditions, they are going to be re-united with their parents, and they are going to say Goodbye to 30 others for whom the joy of re-union cannot yet be. These 30 are the children of parents who still languish in the Fascist Gaols of Spain, or in some cases, are the children of parents who were in gaol but who have paid the full price of their loyalty to the cause of Democracy and Freedom. In other words their parents are in the Refugee Camps in France, and dare not return to Spain.

Some of these parents are writing to us, desperate appealing letters. They have read in some of the foreign papers the false reports which have also appeared in some of our own papers, - reports to the effect that all children are being sent back, and they are appealing to us not to let their children go. One such letter follows this article, so that you may read for yourselves and imagine the state of mind of this particular parent.

Our need in the future will not be as great as it has been, but our sources of income are not now so great, and therefore I would ask your further kind assistance in making known as widely as possible the fact that 30 children will be remaining under the care of the South Wales Basque Children's Committee. Need we remind ourselves that these children and their parents have suffered and are suffering because a brave attempt was made for three long years to stem the tide of Fascism in their own dear country? And many of us believe that had the challenge to freedom been accepted then; Fascism could have been broken, and a European conflagration saved. The challenge was not accepted, except by the Spanish people and the International Brigade. They played their part bravely and well. Let us continue to do our part for their 30 children, victims of Fascist aggression who still need our help.

Hon. Secretary.

Note change of address to: 18 Cross Street, Caerleon.

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Cambria House Journal

[ Nov 1938 ]:

[ Dec 1938 ]:
"The Children At Cambria House Need"  &  "Engagements for December"

[ Jan 1939 ]:
"Aeroplanes"  "An Essay In English"

[ Feb 1939 ]:
"Our Football Match In Cardiff"

[ Mar 1939 ]:
"Our Paper"

[ Apr 1939 ]:
"Our Education In Cambria House"

[ May 1939 ]:
"Correspondence Page"

[ July 1939 ]:
"Two Years In Caerleon"

[ Aug 1939 ]:
"The Last Two Years"  "What Is War? What Is The Use Of It?"

[ Oct 1939 ]:
"Air Raid Precautions"

[ Nov 1939 ]:
"Editorial""Air Raid Shelters"  "Repatriation"

[ Nov 1939 ]:
"A Message To All Our Friends"  from  Jack Williams  (Hon. Secretary)

[ Cambria House Caerleon - Home for the Basque Children 1937 - 39 ]

[ A Selection of Journal Front Covers ]

[ Photographs ]

[ Article from the South Wales Argus ]


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