A routine flight from Croydon Airport triggered the Spanish Civil War 80 years ago – and it will be remembered at a gig at the town’s Oval Tavern.

At 7.15am on July 11, 1936 Captain Cecil Bebb and his navigator friend Major Hugh Pollard took off in their Dragon Rapide bi-plane. On paper, it was tourist trip with Pollard’s daughter and her friend as passengers.

But the flight had a more sinister purpose. Bebb’s mission was to collect General Franco from the Canary Islands to initiate the Spanish right-wing Nationalist military coup, overthrowing the democratically-elected government.

The war lasted three bitter years and was fuelled by modern weapons from Russia and Nazi Germany.

Promoters The Ukulele and Other Machines will host an evening at the Oval Tavern on Thursday, July 7, to remember the historic event and Croydon’s part in it.

The will be an opportunity to hear more of the fascinating story as well as music from around town and a finale by folk duo Na-mara, who are known for their songs about the Spanish Civil War and remain close to the International Brigade Memorial Trust charity.

Na-Mara’s Rob Garcia is a classical guitarist and himself the son of one of the 4,000 child refugees evacuated from Bilbao to Southampton in May 1937.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £6 from wegottickets.com/theukulele or on the door.

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