THE mystery surrounding the iconic ‘man behind the barricade’ photograph has finally been solved.

The image, taken by photographer Agusti Centelles in Barcelona at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, shows police officer Mariano Vitini.

The man was identified by Centelles’ children – who presented a copy to Vitini’s daughter and grandchildren at the spot where it was taken – 75 years after the event.

In the photo Vitini, who was 28 at the time, is shown shooting his rifle from behind a barricade of dead horses on July 19 1936 – just a few hours after the beginning of the military uprising that led to war.

The image was circulated around the world at the time, and featured on the cover of foreign media including Newsweek.

Vitini went on to fight against the Nazi’s in the Second World War and returned to Spain following the liberation of France.

However, he was eventually executed for his part in organising an attack on a Fascist delegation in Madrid.

James Bryce

About James Bryce

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