Alicante plaque recalls final rescue voyage

September 10, 2014

This article appeared in the 37th issue of the newsletter of the International Brigade Memorial Trust and is reprinted here with the IBMT’s permission.

BoatA memorial to the evacuation on a British ship of some 3,000 Spanish Republicans in the final days of the Spanish Civil War was unveiled on 30 March – almost exactly 75 years since the Stanbrook set sail from Alicante on 28 March 1939.

Captained by Welshman Archibald Dickson, the Stanbrook took the refugees to safety in Algeria. It was the last ship to leave the port before Italian troops entered the city.

Flowers were thrown into the harbour to remember not just the refugees who got away, but also the many thousands more who were captured and interned in cruel conditions at the Campo de los Almendros concentration camp.

Among those present on the quayside for the ceremony was Spanish-based IBMT member Malcolm Hardy.

“The event was very well attended and both moving and upbeat, as the organisers are intent on keeping the memory of the struggle alive.” But he added that it was a pity that the inscription doesn’t identify the Stanbrook as a British ship, noting that “the fascists are named and shamed as Italians” on the memorial.

Tragically Capt Dickson would lose his life later in 1939, as would all his crew, when the Stanbrook was torpedoed by a German u-boat in November of that year in the early months of the Second World War.