Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa
Gipuzkoakultura
January 24, 2020

The Auxiliary Navy of the Basque Country
(1936-39)

Biographies of The Basque Auxiliary Navy

FRANCISCO ELORTEGI GANBE (Plencia, 1903-1964)

Francisco Elortegi Ganbe (Plencia, 1903-1964) Francisco Elortegi was a captain in the Merchant Navy and a member of the PNV and STV political parties. As a young man, he embarked as an officer on Sota y Aznar vessels. The outbreak of the war surprised him in Ribadesella on board the Artza-Mendi. Shortly afterwards, he set off to the USSR to bring a shipment of weapons that he brought to Bilbao in November. In December, he was appointed commander of the armed Bou trawler Donostia. He was involved in surveillance missions, until he took part in the Battle of Machichaco (5-3-37). The Bou trawler first fled to Arcachon and then to La Pallice. He remained there for the rest of the war. In July 1937, he took the merchant ship Viiu, with a cargo of weapons, to Gijon. In 1939, he left for Venezuela at the head of a shipment of refugees in the steamship Bretagne. Along with other sailors, he organized a Pilots Academy in Maracaibo. He then joined the Creole shipping company as an officer and later as a master until 1960. He died in Bilbao.

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