Around 20 members of the Costa Blanca Branch of Labour International (LI) met with Rafael Garcia, Luis Pesquera and Pedro Olimarte of the ‘Comision Civica de Alicante para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historica’ in Alicante. The Civic Commission is reviving the memories of the hundreds of Alicante’s Republican supporters who suffered under Franco’s fascist regime.
LI members were taken on a tour of Republican monuments erected by the Commission in and around Alicante starting in Alicante port at the monument to the British cargo ship Stanbrook which, under Captain Archibald Dickson, rescued just under 3,000 people from Franco’s advancing Italian and Moroccan support troops at Alicante port in March 1939, and took them to Oran in Algeria.
Members of the Comision Civica explained the significance of each of the monuments and locations. The tour included El Campo de Almendros prison camp, the Central Market where 315 people died in a Nationalist bombing raid; the route passed by the former prison where poet Miguel Hernandez died and the monuments at the mass grave in Alicante cemetery.
Malcolm Hardy, Chair of LI Costa Blanca said: “This was a moving experience highlighting the dreadful consequences of fascist movements, now on the rise in Europe again, trampling on democracy. The Comisión Civica are to be congratulated for not allowing the awful crimes committed during the period of the Civil War to be forgotten.”
Following their success in getting several memorials erected in Alicante, the Comisión Civica approached Labour International to assist them in presenting a memorial to the City of Cardiff in respect of the heroism of Cardiff-born Captain Dickson and his crew on the Stanbrook. This event will take place in Cardiff in April 2015.