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Luis Castelló Pantoja
Born 1881
Died 27 September 1962
Place of birth Guadalcanal, Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931) Spain
Place of death Guadalcanal, Flag of Spain (1945–1977) Spain
Allegiance Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931).svg Spain Bourbon Restoration in Spain
Flag of Spain (1931–1939).svg Spain Second Spanish Republic
Rank Major General Infantry
Commands held • 2nd Infantry Brigade (1936)
• Organic Division I (1936)
Battles/wars Guerra Civil Española
Awards Legion of Honor
Other work Ministry of Defence (Spain)

Luis Castelló Pantoja (Guadalcanal, Seville, 1881 - Ibid., September 27, 1962), was a Spanish military Infantry General associated with the Spanish Civil War. A republican Minister of War during the early months of the war, he tried to stop the revolutionary chaos that followed the July 1936 coup.[1]


The Second RepublicEdit

Pantoja was the uncle of Juan Simeón Vidarte, Socialist deputy for the province of Badajoz. He was one of three military leaders (the other two were Francisco Franco and Carlos Masquelet Lacaci) who were present at the meeting of Eduardo López Ochoa with the Ministers of War (Diego Hidalgo) and the Interior (Eloy Vaquero Cantillo) which organized the suppression of the insurrection in Asturias in 1934.[1]

Civil WarEdit

Pantoja was Brigadier General in the Infantry in charge of the 2nd Infantry Brigade and military commander of the Badajoz plaza. He managed to keep the Castile regiment from joining the revolt, remaining on the side of the government. Vidarte informed him of his promotion as head of Organic Division I following the dismissal of Virgilio Cabanellas Ferrer. He never managed to take command, moving to Madrid on July 19, 1936.[2] He left his wife and two daughters in Badajoz and they were captured by the rebels after the conquest of the city by Colonel Juan Yagüe.

After arriving in Madrid he was immediately appointed Minister of War in the Cabinet chaired by José Giral, replacing José Miaja Menant, a position he held until August 6, 1936 when he was replaced by Juan Hernández Saravia.[3] According to Ramon Salas Larrazabal:

... Castelló soon realized that he was to become no more than a nominal minister. The revolution had reached Madrid and its influence was felt in a sub-committee in the Ministry made up of Lieutenant Colonel Hernández Saravia, commanders Hidalgo de Cisneros, Chirlandas and Mezquita, captains Cordón, Núñez Mazas and Freire and Lieutenant Martin Blazquez.[4]

Despite challenges, Castelló tried to stem the revolutionary chaos of the republican rearguard by organizing the military efforts. On July 20 he dismissed General Garcia Antúnez, putting the Organic Division I in the hands of General Riquelme. In the Cabinet he opposed the planned invasion of Majorca by Captain Alberto Bayo (that was subsequently carried out on August 16, 1936 and turn out to be a failure), arguing for the need to use the forces to defend Madrid in the Zaragoza and Huesca sieges in the almost defenceless Aragon front.[5]

Following his resignation as Minister of War, he took over the military government of Madrid. Affected by the shooting of his brother by the anarchist militias and the imprisonment of his wife and daughters by rebels, he suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted to the Leganes psychiatric hospital. After his discharge, he took refuge in the French embassy, where he remained until the spring of 1937 when he moved to France.[5]

Detention and deathEdit

In 1942 Pantoja was arrested by Nazi authorities (Gestapo) in occupied France and delivered to the Franco dictatorship, where he was tried and sentenced to death. He spent three years in prison before being pardoned in 1946. After a long illness he died in the company of his daughters on 27 September 1962.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Horacio Vázquez-Rial,. "Memorias de un soldado, López de Ochoa y la Revolución de Asturias. (Memoirs of a soldier, Lopez de Ochoa and the Asturian Revolution" (in Spanish)). 
  2. Alberto Gutiérrez Ubero (30 March 2011). "El exterminio extremeño entre 1936 - 1950" (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  3. Leandro Álvarez Rey (in Spanish). Andalucía y la Guerra Civil: Estudios y Perspectivas. Universidad de Sevilla. ISBN 8447210677. 
  4. Ramón Salas Larrazábal (2006) (in Spanish). Historia General de la Guerra de España (General History of the Spanish War). Valladolid: Quiron Ediciones. ISBN 9788496016835. "...Castelló vio pronto que no pasaba de ser un ministro nominal. También allí había llegado la revolución y el poder lo ejercía en el Ministerio un comité constituido por el teniente coronel Hernández Saravia, los comandantes Hidalgo de Cisneros, Chirlandas y Mezquita, los capitanes Cordón, Núñez Mazas y Freire y el teniente Martín Blazquez." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Reseña de Cristóbal Zaragoza". Memoria - República - Personajes - Militares 1. 
  6. "Don Luis Castello Pantoja". Hemeroteca. ABC (Madrid). 28 September 1962. p. 44. 
Preceded by :
Major General
Virgilio Cabanellas Ferrer
Commander of Organic Division I
19 July 1936
Succeeded by :
José Riquelme y López Bago
Preceded by :
José Miaja Menant
Escudo de la Segunda República Española (bandera)
Ministry of War
19 July - 6 August 1936
Succeeded by :
Juan Hernández Saravia

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