The Assassination Attempt on Franco from the Air: 1948 by Antonio Téllez [Review]

Review: Tellez, Antonio “The Assassination Attempt on Franco from the Air: 1948”.

Kate Sharpley Library, London and Berkeley, CA. 2006. Pbk. 90pp, illus, notes. (2nd revised and expanded edition - 1st edition 1992 “The Unsung Struggle: Resistance to Franco: 1939-51: The Assassination Attempt on Franco from the Air: 1948”.)

ISBN: 1873605803 RRP: £5.00 (£4.00 to subscribers to the Kate Sharpley Library)

This is the first KSL title to be issued in book format, and a very nice production job has been done on it, albeit with perfect binding. The relation of the failed attempt on Franco’s life is only part of this volume, as it is supplemented by background materials including the assassination of Spanish Premier, Eduardo Dato in 1927; a biography of the colourful life of ace counterfeiter Laureano Cerrada Santos together with the bust of his underground press and the discovery of an arms cache in France in 1949 and finally his murder in Paris in 1977; various details of the aircraft used in the attempt – including its discovery in 1951 and sale in 1955. The package is wrapped up with Stuart Christie’s obituary of Antonio Tellez Sola.

The actual assassination attempt proved an exercise in futility due to inadequate preparation, and it seems it was only the fact the plane was still sporting its original French civil aviation markings meant that it wasn’t shot down when intercepted by Spanish planes over the sea near to where Franco was due to attend a regatta at San Sebastian. A follow-up attempt to bomb the Ayete Palace, also in San Sebastian, where Franco was staying, had to be abandoned due to bad weather at the airfield where the plane was stationed.

A fascinating episode in the story of anarchist resistance to the Franco regime, told with all the detail you’ll ever want to know.


Richard Alexander