The chief minister (centre) with the captain’s sons and the flag. / D.B.

A moving event, the Red Ship and Red Tape book launch

The book is about Republican ship which was attacked and holed by vessels loyal to Franco in the Strait of Gibraltar during the Spanish Civil War

Debbie Bartlett
DEBBIE BARTLETT

The launch of the book ‘Red Ship and Red Tape’ took place at the John Mackintosh Hall in Gibraltar on Friday 17 December.

The book is about a Republican ship which was attacked and holed by vessels loyal to Franco in the Strait of Gibraltar during the Spanish Civil War as she tried to pass through unnoticed, disguised as a British destroyer. The ship took refuge in Gibraltar, which caused a massive dilemma for the authorities there and in the UK because Britain was party to the Non-Intervention Agreement.

The event was very well attended and the organisers were delighted that Xavier and Luis Castro, the sons of the ship’s captain, had travelled down from France especially to take part, and that Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, was also present. He said afterwards that he had found it very moving, as the ship’s last flag had been loaned for the occasion by the Gibraltar National Museum: it had been sewn by his grandmother and the emblem designed by his grandfather, and this was the first time he had seen it outside a display case.

The book is available from the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.