A youth truncated by a war and by ideals. This is how Manel Pinar defines the life of his uncle, Vicente Pinar, who at the age of 18 enlisted in the Republican aviation and fought in it until he was 20 years old, when he died at the Caspe airfield and was buried in the Huesca town of Osso de Cinca.
The Barraguer family, residents of the town, have taken care of the grave during these years and, in 1942, they welcomed Vicente Pinar’s mother into their home, when she was finally able to visit the place where her son was buried. “Vicente died in 1938, in the middle of the war, and it never occurred to him to go visit him. My grandmother was welcomed by a family that has taken care of the grave all these years, when we went they accompanied us and this family coincidentally did not He was on the Republican side, “explains Manel Pinar.
In this town a tribute to Vicente Pinar and his nephew was held last Saturday, Manel Pinar highlighted the importance of “dignifying and removing from anonymity our father’s brother, who in Osso they knew as ‘the aviator’. With this act we want the history of this young man who was immersed, like so many others, in a cruel war is known a little more “.
Vicente Pinar’s story
At the age of 18 Vicente Pinar, originally from Barcelona, enlisted in the republican aviation and trained for five months in the USSR. “The funny thing is that they went to Valencia, where the central aviation was, and there they signed up without knowing where they were going. We have a letter in which it says that it is surely a trip abroad, and that trip involved taking a boat for a week or so ten days and then a train, all this in secret, when they arrived in Russia they even changed their name to Russify it“, says Manel Pinar.
After five months in the Republic of Azerbaijan receiving instruction to become a pilot “in marathon days from 05:00 in the morning until at night, they learned what was taught in Spain in three years. Many of them came and in the first In combat, they died due to lack of experience and the pilots with whom we have spoken explain that luck was essential to survive, “explains Pinar.
Vicente Pinar was appointed pilot sergeant on April 30, 1937, as recorded in Official Gazette 182 of July 30, 1937, and would join the 4th squadron of Chatos of Group 26, although since his return from the USSR he has been flying in various fronts. The young pilot died as a result of taking off from the Caspe aerodrome on the morning of March 13, 1938 when the plane caught fire and the hood died charred, he was buried in the Osso de Cinca cemetery.
As recorded in the bulletin of the Air Force of the Republic of that day, the airfield and the population suffered four bombings for which aerial combats took place, but the consequences of which are unknown.
All this information was known to Manel Pinar after his son aroused interest in his uncle for a class assignment. “At home there was a closet with a locked drawer, one of those that won’t let you play when you’re a child, when I was very little I opened it once and I saw some letters and they told me it was from my father’s brother who died in the war. Over the years that drawer was maintained and about 10 or 15 years ago my son had the curiosity to look at it, it occurred to him to look for the name of his uncle and a man from Madrid answered him with details of the stay in Russia, he did a job in high school and the bug began to bite me, “says Manel. He contacted the Association of Aviators of the Republic (ADAR) “and from here begin to collect data because they were an inexhaustible source of things and search for documents”, with these data he wrote the book ‘Vicente Pinar, the aviator’, published in 2020.
Since then he has not stopped learning details about his uncle’s history, four years ago he received some photographs in which his uncle appeared with his companions on the ship back from the USSR after training as a pilot. In them, he appears with a hat “that has always been in my father’s workshop, I remembered that my father had told me that Vicente brought it from Russia. I looked for it and found it in a costume box, it still bears the price in Russian, “he says.
Since the search for his uncle’s story began, Manel Pinar has collaborated with the Association of Aviators of the Republic. “I’m especially interested in the human part, heartbreaking stories arrive of people looking for their relatives or some information. They are very hard stories that I suppose there would be on both sides, but the Republican has been unfortunately silenced. Now these stories are emerging. that without any intention of revenge we want them to meet, “concludes Pinar.