British Army soldiers line up on parade. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

 

By Mark McConville

RARE pictures have revealed the People of Gibraltar’s unwavering Britishness in both war and peace throughout their toughest years.

Mean looking members of the Gibraltar Defence Force posing for a photo at Buena Vista Barracks, armed with Sten sub-machine guns in the early 1950s. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

The incredible images show the huge British presence on the Rock with soldiers fighting there during WW2, British bobbies policing the state, a POW camp for fascists and RAF fighter jets flying above.

Other stunning shots show royal visits to the British outpost with Prince Charles and Princess Diana following in Queen Elizabeth II’s footsteps while King Edward VII who famously abdicated the throne is also pictured in Gibraltar.

 

Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales waving at the crowds at Gibraltar, as she is driven on her way to the Royal Yacht Britannia, at the start of her honeymoon on 1st August 1981. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

Gibraltarian families released the vintage photos in a bid to remind Britain of their close bond to the UK and the sacrifices they have made to keep the relationship secure.

“The feeling in Gibraltar today, is the same as it’s always been throughout history and my lifetime,” said Ernest Falquero, who helps run a Facebook group looking back at days gone by in Gibraltar.

The late Juan Chini and his niece and nephew at New Police Barracks, 47 Willis’s Road. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

“This is encapsulated in the time immemorial slogan “British we are and British we stay” and Sir Winston Churchill’s “Never Surrender”.

“Brexit, whereas I’m sure you know, Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe is understandably causing much anxiety. Gibraltarians, with good reason, do not trust Spain at all.

 

Winston Churchill with the Governor of Gibraltar Mason Macfarlane, circa 1942. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

“We have far too much experience of their duplicitous governments and hundreds of years of aggression, bullying and general un-neighbourly harassment.

“Recent reassurances have gone some way towards calming fears but Gibraltarians remain anxious about their interests being maintained in negotiations with the EU, especially in respect to Spain’s continued unwelcome and anachronistic demands and their refusal to accept the freely and democratically expressed wishes of the people of Gibraltar.”

 

RAF Gibraltar Air Defence staff photographed with a Phantom of 29 Squadron at North Front, during the deployment of four RAF Phantoms to Gibraltar during the Libyan crisis in April 1986. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

Gibraltar was first captured in 1704 by an Anglo-Dutch force during the War of the Spanish Succession and has remained a British Overseas Territory since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

The people of Gibraltar have sacrificed a lot for Great Britain according to Mr Falquero.

 

1982 – PC Jerry Cruz and Sgt Charles Polson checking journalist’s passport. New immigration duties at the frontier. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

“First and foremost, Gibraltarians have been the most loyal of British subjects, unlike most other historic colonies of the British Empire, Gibraltar has unique in never calling for “Brits go home” as has been the case of most if not all the other past colonies,” he said.

“As a major fortress, army garrison and naval and air base for Britain, Gibraltar has hosted British armed forces within their midst, always with open arms, friendship and hospitable good relations.

 

1982 – moments before the 1st Phase of the reopening of the frontier since closed in 1969. That night it was opened ‘only’ for pedestrians who were allowed in and out or out and in once per 24 hours until it fully opened in 1985. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

“In both World Wars Gibraltar, in common with many other British Empire domains, territories and commonwealth countries, sacrificed a great deal, not least in its contribution of volunteers in the armed forces in both conflicts.

“Gibraltar is a wonderful, peaceful corner of our conflicted world.

 

Bob Geldolf and Paul Young on HMS Ark Royal in 1986. Ernest Falquero / mediadrumworld.com

“It has a diverse community comprising of Christians (Catholic, protestant and others), Muslims, Jewish, Hindi and people of other faiths all living happily in harmony, in a very pleasant Mediterranean climate and in a stable and thriving fully employed economic environment, self-governing and fully self-sufficient.

 

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