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