biography Capt Luis María Crespo de Guzmán

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Biography Capt Luis María Crespo de Guzmán

Capt Luis María Crespo de Guzmán aka "Carlos Angulo Rebolledo"

  • Birth 23 Jun 1893 Popayan, Cauca, Colombia
  • Death 1 Dec 1936 Pamplona, Provincia de Navarra, Navarra, Spain
  • Burial Torrero Cemetery Zaragoza, Provincia de Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain

¡Viva Colombia!
¡Viva España!
¡Viva la Legión!
¡Viva la muerte!

Patriot and soldier in the Spanish Foreign Legion.

Capt Luis María Crespo de Guzmán alias "Carlos Angulo Rebolledo" (1893-1936) born Popayán, Cauca department, Colombia. Died as a result of wounds suffered on the Basque-Navarre Front during the Spanish Civil War.

Wife: Caridad Villalón y Mateo (?-?).
Caridad Delfina Crespo de Guzmán Villalón y Mateo (?-?)
José Luis Crespo de Guzmán Villalón y Mateo (?-?).
Father: Primitivo Crespo Rivera (?-?).
Mother: Delfina Guzmán Sánchez (?-?).

In early 1920 an unspecified "desengaño amoroso" forced him to leave his native Colombia and wander throughout Latin America. In July 1921 he was in La Habana, Cuba, working as an overseer at a sugar plantation when he was attracted to posters advertising the Spanish “Tercio de Extranjeros" more commonly known as the Spanish Foreign Legion. The Legion was established in 1920 by José Millán-Astray y Terreros (1879-1954).

He went to to the Spanish Consulate and in the presence of the “Banderín de Enganche” and a consular official declared his intent to join. He provided the alias Carlos Angulo Rebolledo and the place and date of birth noted above.

He cooled his heels for a while at the “Sección de Depósitos” of La Habana while a "Legión Cubana" was cobbled together of 731 volunteers (446 Spaniards, 225 Cubans, and 60 from other countries). Crespo's first tour of duty was three years and he was obliged to reimburse Spain for the boat trip.

The recruits landed at La Coruña 4 October 1921. They transferred to the steamer Manuel Camps and landed at Ceuta 7 October 1921. His enlistment had begun. He was first detailed to Posición 'A' and the Compañía de Depósitos.
On 19 October 1921 he was sent to Tetuán and on the 21st to Uad-Lau/Wad Lau/ ??? ??? On 23-24 October as part of the 16ª Compañía, IV Bandera Crespo experienced his first combat near Monte Magán. He was badly wounded and sent back to Ceuta to the Hospital Militar until March 1922. He was promoted to Cabo (promotion backdated to 1 January 1922) and awarded the Medalla de Sufrimientos por la Patria.

Made sargento 1 June 1923, effective date 25 May 1923.

5 June 1923: Battle of Tizzi-Assa in which Crespo participated and LTC Rafael de Valenzuela y Urzaiz (1881-1923) was killed; Francisco Franco Bahamonde replaced him on 19 June 1923.

In March 1924 Crespo's Bandera moved to Tafersit ????????, ?????? On 7 March 1924 he was wounded in action at Loma Roja and evacuated to the Hospital Militar of Melilla. He returned to his unit 4 May 1924 and promoted to Suboficial.

On 1 June 1924 he was awarded the "Cruz del Mérito Militar con distintivo Rojo". In late August his Bandera moved to Tetuán.

By Royal Order of 24 October 1924 the new Suboficial was granted the Medalla Militar de Marruecos, with streamers/shingles ("pasadores") “Melilla” and “Tetuán”. In late December 1924, the Colombian Consul General in Madrid took an interest in the rising star and began cabling reports about him to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Bogotá.

On 24 June 1925 in Dar Riffien Crespo wass elevated to the rank of Alférez.

30 September 1926 promoted to Lieutenant.
From 1927-1930 he was posted to Tetuán and worked in the General Staff Liaison office (Sección de Enlaces de la Plana Mayor del Tercio).

In late 1929 he petitioned the Spanish government to change his name from his alias to his true name; marriage would have been impossible without it. The daunting paperwork was worth it, and on 1 June 1930 he asked permission to marry.
Married July 1930 to Caridad Villalón y Mateo of Zaragoza. Crespo was introduced to by his friend, Capt Luis de Santa Cruz in 1926.

The Second Republic was proclaimed 14 April 1931 and Crespo like everyone else swore allegiance.

November 1931 transferred to the IV Bandera Zoco de Arbaa/ Suq al-Arbaa.

In January 1936 he was promoted to Capitán Legionario, the highest rank allowed to a foreign-born legionnaire. He was the second man so honored, the next was Carlos Tiede Zedem in 1937, a German.

The Spanish Civil War began July 1936 and the Foreign Legion fell under the command of General Francisco Franco Bahamonde. Crespo was placed in the Columna Madrid with the task of advancing from Sevilla to Madrid. Zafra, Almendralejo and Badajoz were seized en route.
Meaanwhile, in mid-August 1936, General Emilio Mola Vidal was occupied in the north, with the objective to seal the French border. Irún was a tough nut to crack for the Nationalists.

On 23 August 1936 a 300-legionnaire strong force was added to the Army, transferred from the Sierra de Guadarrama. Crespo was wounded in the thigh and transported by plane to the Hospital Militar de Pamplona. The thigh wound became gangrenous but Crespo refused amputation. He died on 1 December 1936.

According to José Luis de Mesa Gutiérrez, Capt Crespo de Guzmán was killed 1 September 1936 while leading the 19ª Compañía, II Bandera during the siege of Fort San Marcial, Irún.
However, according to 'El Siglo' of 10 November 1936, he was convalescing in the Hospital Militar de Pamplona.

'El Diario de Zaragoza' of 3 December 1936 confirmed his death the day before, off by one day. The body lay in state in the capilla ardiente of the Hospital Militar de Zaragoza for burial 11am 3 December 1936 the Cementerio de Torrero, Avenida de América, 94, 50007 Zaragoza, España. His coffin was draped in four flags: Spain, Falange, Legion, and Colombian and a II Bandera company provided an honor guard.

Unnamed Colombian sources claimed he was awarded the posthumous rank of Comandante, but this is unfounded.


Submitted: January 12, 2018

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