Eduardo Martínez Alonso (1903–72): gallant surgeon who undertook special operations

J Med Biogr 2010;18:27-34
doi:10.1258/jmb.2009.009079
© 2010 Royal Society of Medicine Press

 

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Surgeons


Nicholas Coni  

Correspondence: Nicholas Coni, 26 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JQ UK (email: Nick.coni{at}ntlworld.com)

Eduardo Martínez Alonso was of Spanish and Uruguyan extractionand was born in Vigo in Galicia in 1903. Due to his father’soccupation, he was educated in the UK and qualified from theUniversity of Liverpool. He returned to Madrid to practise andduring the Civil War he found himself in the Republican zonewhere his connections with the Royal Family brought him undersuspicion. Threatened with execution, he escaped to serve asa surgeon in the Nationalist Army. Being bilingual, he was medicaladviser to the British Embassy during World War II; becauseof his allegiance to this country and acting from humanitarianmotives, he became a ringleader in a plot to smuggle fugitivesfrom Nazi-occupied Europe across a pro-Axis Spain to safety.When the Gestapo was closing in on him, he was smuggled to theUK via Portugal. He underwent training as a potential undercoveragent should Franco take Spain into the war but, when hostilitiesceased, he returned to Madrid and became a leading thoracicsurgeon.

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