In memory of George Fretwell
George Ernest Fretwell grew up in the slate quarrying village of Penygroes, Gwynedd. He had two brothers and a sister. Their father, Joseph, had been wounded in the First World War and lost both his legs. Their mother raised the children on a small army pension.
George was an army reservist and unemployed when an anti-fascist campaigner called Douglas Hyde visited Penygroes during a tour of North Wales communities to raise money for the Republicans in the civil war which had recently broken out in Spain. George asked one of his brothers to look after his bicycle and disappeared. Later he wrote from Paris to explain that he was joining the International Brigade to fight with the Republicans.
He wrote again to his family from Spain but on 12 February 1937 he was killed in the Battle of Jarama, east of Madrid. He was 26 years old.
In 1991 Dafydd Fretwell, one of George’s brothers, unveiled a plaque in George’s memory at Penygroes Memorial Hall.
For this information and photo we are grateful to the Dyffryn Nantlle Website, which has more about George here
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