Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa
Gipuzkoakultura
January 18, 2020

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

Biographies of The Basque Auxiliary Navy

JOSÉ MARIA BURGAÑA BELAUSTEGI (Motrico, 1905-1987)

José Maria Burgaña Belaustegi (Motrico, 1905-1987) José María Burgaña was a captain in the Merchant Navy and a member of the PNV and STV political parties. When the war broke out, he was in Irish waters at the command of the Domayo and Mourisca pair trawlers, which would be come the core of the Basque Militia Maritime Services. In October, he joined the Basque Auxiliary Navy, as the secretary of the Headquarters and in February, he became the Navy delegate at Portugalete and was in charge of organizing the minesweeping tasks. His four brothers –Luís, Cesáreo, Ignacio and Hilario- served with him in the Basque Navy. When Bilbao fell, he fled to France and then in 1939, he left for Venezuela at the command of two steam ships built in Bayonne, the Donibane and Bigarrena, crewed by members of the former Basque Navy. He settled permanently in Venezuela and worked as a sailor and nautical instructor. He also worked for several publications. He was the author of an unusual book, El Vasco, Pueblo Singular (Editorial Sucre, Caracas, 1978). He died in Caracas.

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