Friday 5 July 2019

2019 Puerto Madryn:The War Veterans´Pearl


                                                              EDUARDO C. GERDING

Historical background

Puerto Madryn (in Welsh Porth Madryn) is a city of the northeast of the province of Chubut, Argentina, being the head of the department Biedma. It is located facing the Argentine sea in the Atlantic Ocean. Its current population (2018) is approximately 111,477 inhabitants.
It is considered the gateway to the Valdés peninsula, declared in 1999 as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. 10

In January 1779, the expedition commanded by Juan de la Piedra discovered the San José gulf, and disembarked at the current Villarino beach. The original village Günün a künä (badly called northern tehuelches or pampas) called this place Kübübü ( the shell area).

 Sir Love Jones-Parry, Baron of Madryn, was one of the five
influential men who were appointed as trustees of the Emigration Society in Liverpool, acting  as a link between the Society and the Argentine government for the establishment of a Welsh colony.

 On February 7, 1863, the Baron de Madryn stepped on the shores where the current city of Puerto Madryn stands, named in his honor. The first immigrants were the Welsh settlers and henceforth Italians and Spaniards were the immigrants that most populated the area.

The beginning of what later became the city occurred on July 28, 1865, when the first contingent of 150 Welshmen arrived at its shores on the Mimosa sailboat that sailed on May 28,1865 from Liverpool.Welsh colonization in Argentina is known in Welsh as Y Wladfa. The settlers could not stay as they had not drinking water. They went in search of better conditions towards the Chubut River.

The Welsh colony was the first settlement of permanent European origin in central Patagonia, since the other settlements, dating from the time of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata as those of Simón de Alcazaba, Juan de la Piedra and Henry Libanus Jones had failed. 3Maria Humphreys, was the first baby of Welsh descendant who was  born in the territory of Chubut after the Welsh disembarkation of 1865.
The settlement grew in the 1880s as a result of the arrival of the railroad, which connected it with Trelew. The first urban layout of Puerto Madryn, ordering the construction of the city, was made around 1906.
The population of Welsh origin has been fully integrated into the rest of the community, and many descendants keep alive the language and culture, which is renewed each year with the celebration of the festival called Eisteddfod.

It is estimated around 72 685 thousand Welsh-Argentine inhabitants living in the territory of the Argentine Republic while between 5,000 and 12,500, they maintain the language of the Welsh language.

The book Rhyfel Ni (No to War): And Cymri A`r Patagoniaid Yn And Malvinas: Profiadau Cymreig O Ddwy Ochr Rhyfel And Falklands / Malvinas by Ioan Roberts published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003 describes the dramatic experiences of the Welsh who fought on both sides during the Malvinas conflict.5

(Kindly submitted by Museo del Desembarco)

Puerto Madryn receives ,between the months of June and December , the whales that returns to the area every year to mate and procreate. The CONICET has a multidisciplinary delegation in this town next to the UNPSJB building.
Here, scientific research and doctoral work are carried out with students and researchers from all over the world through the CENPAT National Patagonian Center. Nefyn is the twin city of Puerto Madryn in Wales.

Puerto Madryn during the Malvinas conflict

During the 1982 conflict, Madryn experienced red warnings, obscurations, evacuation tests of wounded to the hospital, vehicles with covered headlights to move at night and other measures ordered by the military authorities that were here quartered in what is now the site of the Industrial Chamber of Puerto Madryn (CIMA). 4 37 years ago, the Chubut town of Puerto Madryn "ran out of bread" to provide the 4,000 Argentine soldiers, who returned as POW in the British ship Canberra after the end of the Malvinas  War. 2

One of those was  war veteran Jorge Choque of the Armored Cavalry Exploration Squadron 10 of La Tablada who participated in the Battle of Mount Longdon.

Choque says: "On the afternoon of the 19th we arrived in Puerto Madryn, they took us to trucks and buses until we reached some big sheds, where the people of the Red Cross and the Army took the data. The journey was impressive because they had given us the order to lower the tarps so that no one could see us while we were in the truck, but the pressure from the people was so great that we greeted them, the people cried and we felt their love and it was wonderful ¨ "We needed to eat bread because we had not done it for 60 days."  2

(Kindly submitted by War Veteran Jorge Beto Altieri-First Section-B Company-Infantry Regiment 7 Coronel Conde-Mount Longdon)

British ships

Denis John Scott-Mason, who died at age 81 on November 16 2010, was the Captain of SS Canberra (the great white whale) of the P & O Maritime Services during the 1982 conflict. The Canberra was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland at a cost of £ 17,000,000. Former Merchant Marine Captain Martin Reed was the Chief Officer of the SS Canberra ocean liner, is an active member of the Nottingham-Malvinas Group and is a Life Vice-President of SAMA 82 (Medal of the South Atlantic Association). He has been awarded the Medal of the Reserve (RD). He is married to Mrs. Denise Donnelly, a professional nurse and specialist in Paleative Care.
During the conflict, in the SS Canberra, 172 wounded were assisted, including 90 Argentines. She repatriated more than 4000 Argentine prisoners of war. It was taken out of service from October 10-31, 1997. The other vessel, the Nordland moored in Puerto Madryn on June 21 with 1992 men The MV Norland was a P & O roll-on / roll-off ferry built at AG Weser, Bremenhaven that operated between Kingston upon
 Hull in Yorkshire, United Kingdom and Rotterdam Europoort,the Netherlands, and then Zeebrugge, Belgium.
Its commander was Captain Donald Ellerby CBE (deceased in 2011). In 2002 it was sold and became the SNAV Sicilia making trips between Naples and Palermo. The Norland was put out of service in 2010.
At the request of war veteran Milton Rhys, who was the Army's bilingual radio and communications operator, I got in touch with Martin Reed who sent the following message I translated for the veterans meeting in Madryn in 2019:

I am honoured to send a warm hug to all the Argentine Veterans and their families today.

Doctor Mayner, our ship’s Surgeon in 1982, who helped care for many wounded from both sides, joins me in expressing our deep satisfaction on being part of your safe return to your homes after the conflict.

I will never forget the warm wishes from so many of you when you disembarked from the CANBERRA on the 19th June, 1982, and I will keep the memory of you all in my heart.

I wish you the very best for your meeting and reunion in Puerto Madryn.

Captain Martin Reed RD

Captain Martin Reed RD

SS Canberra in 1982-

The  MV Nordland became the  SNAV Sicilia

The 37th Anniversary

 On June 19, 2019, the Municipality of Puerto Madryn, the Port Administration of Madryn, the Center for War Veterans of Puerto Madryn, the CONICET CENPAT and IPCSH and the CAMAD (Chamber of Industry, Commerce, Production, and Tourism of Puerto Madryn), in the framework of the 37th anniversary of the return to the continent of Malvinas fighters, they discovered the mural "El Regreso" (The Return) on the Almirante Storni wharf painted by Jorge Vázquez, Martín Cofré, Tomás Gimbernat and Claudio Segundo. 9

(Kindly submitted by War Veteran Jorge Beto Altieri)

The mural depicts the arrival in the city of different ships that transported the soldiers; the welcome of the community, the hugs and the tears. The ceremony was accompanied by more than 300 Malvinas ex-combatants who arrived from different parts of the country to Puerto Madryn to participate in the ceremony. 9

During the inauguration of the mural, war veteran Walter Pintos met Yolanda from the family who had fed him at their home 37 years ago when he returned from the islands. At that time the family made him noodles and the eldest daughter played the guitar to raise the spirit to him and his companions.6
"Two days we were circling the ocean with our hearts broken for having suffered defeat on the battlefield," recalled Pintos, who reflected that "our companions who were buried in the Falklands and the sea put their hearts and love of the country. " When the Canberra was moored at the dock, the young soldiers presumed that they would meet with the unleashed and snubbed the community because "they told us in Canberra that they did not love us. We demoralize ourselves a little more "commented Pintos, who stressed" there is a God and that God made the miracle of touching the heart of this people that I call: The Pearl of Love of Argentina "because" nobody treated us like the town of Puerto Madryn. " 11
Later, a tribute to the fallen was made, in the monument located on Rawson Avenue. Gustavo de Bella, head of the provincial educational portfolio, commented that "on June 19 it has to be claimed in history. In the children of the workers who returned to have the hug and the the affection of the people "
11 Governor Mariano Arcioni said they will work on a law to
establish June 19 as a provincial holiday. 7
On Thursday 20, the Municipal Mayor Ricardo Daniel Sastre, participated in the Official Flag Day during which the promise of loyalty to the national flag was made by the students of 4th grade of the Municipal Schools No. 1 Víctor Morón, Nº3 Celina Balan de Padilla and the provincials of young people and adults Nº 607 and 617, Nº 46 National Territory of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands, Nº49 Francisco P. Moreno, Nº 124 Tomás Espora and Nº213 Mari Mari Canal. This commemoration was made at Aurinegro Jr. Palace Gymnasium located on Kenneth Woodley Avenue.
That day the war veterans revalidated their oath to the flag in the social and sports Club Madryn sharing the oath with more than 700 students of the schools of Madryn. 8
On the afternoon of June 20, an important training event on Disability, Education and Health was organized focusing on the "diagnosis as a starting point" approach.
The organization was in charge of the Color Esperanza Foundation of Buenos Aires, which runs the Magister Malvina Veloz, the EDDIM Association of Puerto Madryn, directed by Dr. Nélida Taira and the Arch. Héctor Reinoso Gallo. The Disability Day was attended by the Secretary of Municipal Sports of Puerto Madryn, the Secretary of Community Development, INADI Puerto Madryn, the Provincial Disability Directorate and the Ministry of Education of Chubut. 6
The journalists who fulfilled tasks in LU17 Radio Golfo Nuevo in 1982, Daniel Arripe and Carlos Pérez Lindo along with the director of the station Héctor Pepe Castro, shared on Friday the 21st in the daily program of Roberto Suárez with Javier Mercado, the experiences they experienced during the development of the Malvinas conflict. 4

On Friday the 21st, from 8pm at the headquarters of the Welsh Association of Puerto Madryn, Cwrw da (good beer in Welsh) returned, celebrating the longest night of the year with Enchanting Tales (Celtic medieval tales) sung by Marilyn Jones on flute and voice. There was craft beer and winter food. 1

On Saturday, 22nd, Ballena 2019 Awards, one of the three best federal events, took place. This is an event of national and international character for the media of the Argentine Republic and South America. It is the only one of the whole Argentine Patagonia and it is made in the Hotel Rayentray. The owner of the organization is the Architect and communicator Héctor Reinoso Gallo.

It is worth mentioning that Historias Históricas by Héctor Reinoso Gallo from Puerto Madryn won three bi-national awards at a television event that included being chosen as the best television program among all Argentine-Uruguayan productions. There are already seven awards in national events achieved in a short time by Reinoso Gallo.

In the Books category, the Ballenas 2019 Prize was awarded to the author for the first volume of the book The Nottingham-Malvinas Group: The first 10 years.

The conductor of Ballenas 2019 Silvio Soldan, the author and the Architect Héctor Reinoso Gallo during the delivery of the Whales 2019 prize


1-A celebrar la noche más larga-El Diario-20 de junio de 2019.
2-Arias, Gabriel-Héroe de Malvinas: Fui uno de los que comió ese bendito pan-Crónica-19 de junio de 2019.
3-Colonización galesa en Argentina.

4-Cómo se vivió la Guerra de Malvinas en Madryn-LU17.com-
5-Gerding, Eduardo César-El Grupo Nottingham-Malvinas:
 Los primeros 10 años-Editorial 1884-Círculo Militar-2017.
6-Hoy se lleva a cabo la entrega del Premio Ballenas 2019-
Diario El Chubut-Puerto Madryn-Sabado 22 de junio de 2019.

7-La conmemoración de “el día que Madryn se quedó sin pan”podría ser feriado provincial-Con Sello Patagónico-Jueves 20 de junio de 2019.

8-Multitudinario y emotivo acto en Puerto Madryn-Jornada. 20 de junio de 2019.
9-Pinamarenses presentes en Puerto Madryn, que homenajeó a veteranos de guerra-El Mensajero de la Costa-Pinamar 21 de junio de 2019.
10-Puerto Madryn-Wikipedia
11-Puerto Madryn con honor y gratitud-Jornada-20 de junio de 2019