A WELSHMAN considered a hero among the people of Alicante was honoured as the Costa Blanca city paid tribute to the 15,000 Republicans trapped during the fascist blockade of the port during the Civil War.
Captain Archibald Dickson is credited with personally saving the lives of 2,683 refugees desperately fleeing the advancing fascist army in the spring of 1939.
The young Cardiff-born captain disobeyed direct orders to help load thousands of civilians onto British coal ship the SS Stanbrook.
Leaving behind his intended cargo of saffron and oranges, Dickson risked his own life commanding the ship through a perilous U-boat blockade of Italian destroyers.
The 230-foot vessel only had accommodation for 24 crew but despite tremendously overcrowded conditions and Italian attacks, all 2,683 made it safely to Oran on the North African coast.
Many were interned in brutal French colonial concentration camps for months but survivors and their descendants have always kept Captain Dickson in their hearts.
Senior politicians and local leaders paid tribute to Dickson at a ceremony on Friday March 31. There are now plans to twin Alicante with Cardiff.