Friday, 27 January 2023, 09:30
In December 2021 Gibraltar's John Mackintosh Hall was the venue for the official launch of a fascinating book about a Republican ship which was disguised as a British destroyer but holed by Franco's forces in the Strait and then took refuge in Gibraltar, much to the dismay of the local and UK authorities who were supposedly subject to a non-intervention agreement with regard to the Civil War.
Local historian Francis Silva was one of the authors of 'Red Ship and Red Tape, the José Luis Díez and Gibraltar', and the book has now been translated into Spanish and will be presented in Algeciras in early March. Its title in Spanish is 'José Luis Díez en Gibraltar: Burocracia pérfida y la política de no intervención de Londres'.
This book is of especial relevance to Gibraltar, as local dockyard workers took pity on the crew of the José Luis Díez as the bureaucratic wrangling over what should be done with the ship dragged on, and they took it upon themselves to repair it , in secrecy and without payment. Nevertheless, it is a little-known part of Gibraltar's history, even though a local woman - the grandmother of the present chief minister - sewed a new flag for the ship before it attempted to leave, and that flag is now housed in the Gibraltar National Museum along with other relevant items.
With chapters by historians Luis Miguel Cerdera and Dr Gareth Stockey, and an introduction by Chris Grocott, this book is a treasure trove of information which has newly come to light and gives a thoroughly enlightening insight into international politics in the background of the Spanish Civil War.
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