The People of Gibraltar
1959 – Allen Andrews – Dabbling in Piracy

Nelson and Eisenhower - Sir George Don and Benito de Soto
Sir Robert Gardiner and Commander Raphael Semmes 
Sir George White and the Kaiser - Captain T. H. Tizzard and William Shield,
George Augustus Eliott and General Eisenhower - Jerome Saccone and James Speed

Written by Andrews with a little bit of help from: Joshua Hassan and Father F. Azzopardi
Sam Benady and Sir Edward Cottrell - Dorothy Ellicott and A Falquero
M.K. Featherstone and Monsignor Grech - Lionel J. Imossi and Willie M. Isola
Capt Robert Peliza and Moses Serfaty

Proud Fortress - The Fighting Story of Gibraltar by the British historian Allen Andrews was first published in 1959 and is one of the older 20th Century general histories of the Rock. Its chatty style makes for easy reading and despite a lack of any proper references Andrew's contemporary perspective on the civilian population - as well as his views on some of the more interesting activities of the Garrison personnel especially as they appear in the prologue of his History - is well worth the effort. And the rest isn't so bad either.

The Rock  ( 1959 - from the book )
Prologue - The Rock of Gibraltar . . has been in British hands since 1704 (see LINK) . . . . There are experts who say that Gibraltar is militarily useless. Others cry that to continue to hold it is a diplomatic and strategic error. These theories are not new. . . . growled King George III to Lord Shelburne in 1782. while the historic four-year defence of the Rock was still being fought, "I think peace every way necessary to this country and I shall not think it complete if we do not get rid of Gibraltar.”  A week later he called Gibraltar ; . . . "this proud fortress and in my opinion source of another war, or at least of a constant lurking enmity. "  
In the military sense, Gibraltar’s overall domination of its surroundings ceased in 1730, when three-quarters of the Bay which had offered tidings for 200 ships came under the guns of new Spanish forts erected across the neck of the isthmus north of the Rock. When the new Dockyard was built at the beginning of this century it was entirely covered from gun-sites in the circling Spanish hills, and has continued in this vulnerable state while the additional hazards of aircraft, guided missiles and nuclear fission bombs were developed. . . .  
There is no fifth column now in Gibraltar working for cession. Theinhabitants are of one mind. The 9,000 Spaniards who cross the border daily to work there are even more fervent against the Rock’s cession to Spain: for they know their standard of living is double what it would be if they worked in Spain. 
Spanish workers arriving at Gibraltar  ( 1953 - Ralph Crane ) ( see LINK )
. . . The crowded action is so concentrated on this tiny gun-platform that you cannot visit Gibraltar now without constant reminders of its fighting history. If the Navy brings you in, you land hard by where Nelson came ashore . . Come by air and you set foot on an air-strip twenty yards from the Spanish frontier fence, on the spot where Eisenhower landed in 1942 to direct the invasion of Africa . .  
Ride into the town from the airfield - one of Gibraltar’s unsung glories is that it takes only five minutes from airport to hotel - and Main Street hits you with the glad hand of a thoroughfare connecting a European Hong Kong with an English cathedral city. At the lively end, at the close of the working day, the bars are full of Spanish working men drinking strong coffee before they brave their own Customs officers. 

1954 - Spanish worker in a cafe in Main Street   ( 1954 - Bert Hardy ) (see LINK
In the streets behind the bars, older Spanish women who hold daily domestic jobs are tucking a pack of tobacco into their knickers and hoping the woman who searches them will be understanding. 

The three ladies in this photograph could be either Spanish matuteras  (see LINK)
Farther up the street, past the policeman in the London copper’s uniform, the Indian traders prowl at the doors of their shops. In this narrow highway the pedestrians forced off the footpath keep your car speed down, and you teeter along a defile down which cannon-balls from the Spanish lines used to skim
like bowls in an alley. 

A couple of Gibraltar 'Bobbies' in Main Street ( Unknown )
In the hall on the right where they draw for the weekly Government lottery which pays £6,000 in prizes on 18,000 tickets, the civilian magnates once met to offer rebellion against their military Governor unless they could go on smuggling goods to Spain. 

Checking lottery tickets outside the 'Hall on the right' aka the old Exchange and Commercial Library  ( 1953 - Ralph Crane )  (See LINK
Four brassy jazz bands blaring from four brassy bars summon the men of the garrison to beer. And if the dancing girls from Spain who continually rattle their castanets are now strictly supervised and conveyed across the frontier before the clock strikes the immoral hours of early morning - they are almost all that remains of the temptation and opportunity that once seethed in the streets and dens of this uninhibited pimp-ridden seaport.  
Yet men still drink and quarrel and fight, and one ship's company settles its differences ashore with another, often in phalanxes eighty strong, heaving and hammering at each other at midnight before the prudently-shuttered shop fronts of Main Street; and the city cleansing department washes away the splinters in the dawn.

The Royal Navy take over Main Street   ( 1944 - Bert Hardy )   
Past the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Crowned, the crowds thin. The street narrows and then widens to a toy square where all the “bull” of the British Army is concentrated on mounting the Governor’s guard at the Convent in the sure knowledge that many non-British will be looking on.  
For non-British do not read Gibraltarians. The Gibraltarians are prouder of being British than anybody of people in the Commonwealth . . .The Gibraltarian speaks Spanish and is increasingly marrying Spanish - naturally he learns and uses the English language as well - but his descent is from Genoese, Maltese, Portuguese and Jew . . . In the Cathedral, confessions are heard in seven languages. But in the forum, appeals are made with only one voice: We are British and mean to stay so . . .   

The Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned with its old facade and minus its cupula   ( Late 19th century ) 
The story of Gibraltar  .  . .  includes the developing civilian population also, who are the roots of the Colony of Gibraltar, and cannot avoid being more and more responsible for its outlook in the future. Some started as sutlers, often as swindlers. The dominating force became the merchants, and some of them at times, if not swindlers, were profiteers. The merchants fought for freedom - including freedom for their wares to be smuggled into Spain - and they achieved an integration of different races and religions quite early in their civic struggle.
I doubt very much whether there was ever a priest in Gibraltar that spoke seven languages but the above is a short but decent snapshot of what Gibraltar was like in the 1950's - as this amateur historian can vouch for having lived there at the time. ( see LINK

The next hundred and fifty pages are given over to the general history of the Rock with usual emphasis on the 'Capture' and the Great Siege. But from my point of view the most interesting chapters are those that deal with trials and tribulations - and successes - of the local population
The Merchants - The Napoleonic Wars turned the tide of Gibraltar’s prosperity. In addition to the clear profits on supplies, war gave to the solid business of smuggling goods into Spain a patriotic tinge which Gibraltarians relished for generations. And the somewhat shady characters who were irresistibly attracted to exploit the profitable by-lines of war remained in peacetime to continue a questionable commerce which included running contraband goods, mopping up the final profits of the slave trade and occasionally dabbling in piracy. 
From the beginning of the war in 1793 a Vice-Admiralty Court sold cheap in Gibraltar Bay the vessels and cargoes captured by British cruisers. The craft bought as naval prizes were quickly fitted out as privateers under letters of marque issued for the emergency by the Governor, and they conducted an indiscriminate warfare on neutral and enemy commerce about which the most charitable judgement would be that it did no immediate harm to Britain.  
The revolution in Spain in I808, which made  that country an ally, at last opened its consumption demands to British trade, which was carried largely through Gibraltar. As a consequence of Britain’s declared blockade of Europe, Gibraltar did remarkable business as an exchange port. Neutrals conveyed their goods there, British freighters carried them away, and Gibraltar agents took their commission. At the end of the war Gibraltar was a boom town. The value of goods broughtin from Britain alone exceeded a million pounds sterling a year. . . . 
Prosperity was reflected in the appearance of the town, which was cleaned up by Governor Sir George Don, ( see LINK ) . . .  'As pretty a village as you might expect to see in Switzerland' was one officer’s comment when he first came to the Rock. Outside the restored Church of Saint Mary the Crowned, whose porch had become an assignation point for the amorous young women who found opportunities in the town, the Main Street had been macadamised, and horses trotted past the Convent between the shafts of light Tilburies carrying officers and their ladies on afternoon calls.  
The crowded streets were bright with animation and colour. Moors in striped jelabiyas and white turbans jostled the water-sellers in breeches and sleeveless doublets driving donkeys loaded with mbarrels. Jews in round black caps and embroidered garments strode to the wharves or the daily auctions in the Square, while their poorer brethren shuffled in yellow slippers from door to door trying to sell the clothes they carried stacked on their shoulders like modern Algerian carpet-sellers.  
The Spanish merchants, in black cloaks and tall hats like Guy Fawkes, chatted purposefully with other Spaniards in the gay national dress of Andalusia - the contrabandistas, or professional smugglers, who ran their light craft out of Rosia Bay by night with English manufactures and American tobacco to be brought ashore on a nearby strand. 
It was a crowd as colourful as this that flocked out of the Land-port on a January morning in 1830 to a spot on the Neutral Ground by the sea where a gallows had been erected. They followed a man marching, escorted by redcoats, at the tail of a cart, whose end symbolised the passing of much of the seedy adventurism that had characterised Gibraltar in the past and was giving way to the more organised enterprise which marked the century of peace and commerce. 
The condemned man was Benito de Soto, slave-trader and pirate. (See LINK)   . . . In his last moments de Soto had again admitted his guilt, and asked the spectators to take warning from his fate. As the throng streamed back to the town for coffee that gloomy morning there must have been some among the venturesome riffraff of the port and town of Gibraltar whose thoughts twittered uncomfortably about the sensation of a sudden tightness of the throat. 

Gibraltar from San Roque   ( 1822 - T. Berry )
Smuggling - Prosperity had snowballed the population from 3,000 to 20,000 in a few golden years, and not every penny was turned honestly. Military minds believed that a population of that proportion was, however upright, a serious threat to the security of the fortress. Their apprehension was increased when they considered that few of the inhabitants were British born - though many were Gibraltar born - and that the undoubted principal attraction of Gibraltar for many of its settlers was the lure of the smuggling trade. (See LINK
The scope of smuggling varied from the minute to the intricate. Apparently stray dogs were trained to insinuate themselves into Gibraltar when the gates opened and reach a rendezvous where tobacco was strapped round them like miniature packhorses. One kick and they were gone, trotting to Spain by way of their own sally-port. 

Smuggler and dog ( Unknown )  
But the Spanish frontier guards had a habit of shooting stray dogs, since they did not pay the bribes that could be squeezed from humans. . . . Sir Robert Gardiner, Governor of Gibraltar, described the more usual method of individual smuggling in this way: From the first early opening of the gates there is to be seen a stream of Spanish men, women and children, horses and a few caleches, passing into the town, where they remain moving about from shop to shop until about noon. 
The human beings enter the Garrison in their natural sizes, but quit it swathed and swelled out with our cotton manufactures, and padded with tobacco, while the carriages and beasts, which come light and springy into the place, quit it scarcely able to drag or to bear their burdens. The Spanish authorities bear part in this traffic, by receiving a bribe from every individual passing the Lines, their persons and their purposes being thoroughly known to them. Some of these people take hardware goods, as well as cotton and tobacco, into Spain.  
Bulk smuggling resulted in much more serious brushes with the law and endless Anglo-Spanish incidents. Scores of privateers were idle after Napoleon’s defeat, and they were used, with their armaments retained, in powerful raids to land contraband goods. The prevalence of smuggling had a relaxing effect on the garrison. 
During the first half of the nineteenth century the certain password to get a stranger past a British sentry was “I’m smuggler”, for this meant that a bribe would be paid to pass. The Royal Navy was engaged in a number of disputes with guardacostas, the armed preventive vessels which Spain was forced to maintain in large numbers. They were undertaken because it was necessary to protect the British flag, but there were clear cases when that flag was hoisted by Spanish smugglers. 
The traders of Gibraltar maintained then, as they do now, an extremely chaste view of their responsibility for any smuggling. They explained to the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in 1853: Contraband trade is a trade in goods which have evaded the payment of the duties to which they are liable by the law of the land. The business of a merchant of Gibraltar is completed when he has effected the sale of his goods in the open market. A British merchant ought not to be dictated to as to the place where he shall reside. The Queen’s dominions are happily free to all Her subjects; a merchant resorts to that spot hest adapted his interests or his connexion.
The (non) italicised passage reads ironically now. It is the Gibraltar merchants who have pushed through the local ordinance that a British merchant shall be dictated to on where he shall reside. He cannot compete with them by residing in Gibraltar. The Queen’s dominions are unhappily not free to all her subjects. 
The answering argument to the merchants’ plea of irresponsibility was put by a dismissed Governor of Gibraltar, General Sir Robert Gardiner, to the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, in 1856: The English capitalist, the few local principals, the consignees, the factors and agents engaged in this trade, all indignantly repudiate the imputation of smuggling. 
They cannot do this. They cannot deny what is familiarly said of them on the Rock - that they hold the pistol while another pulls the trigger. The Duke of Newcastle, though concerned not to anger Spain by sponsoring smuggling, declared for the legal untouchability of the merchants, without committing himself to their morality. This mild support for British commerce was, in effect, a condemnation of the fiery antagonism with which Gardiner, during his governorship, had attacked the merchants. They had sent their deputation to London to see the Secretary of State after the Governor had declared publicly in print:
You tell me I am destroying your trade. If restrictions on smuggling is destroying your trade, you complain with some cause, for I take every available occasion to suppress it, and I shall continue to do so. If you can only uphold a pretence of trade at Gibraltar by making it a mart for contraband goods to be smuggled into Spain, then the Fortress had better be divested of trade altogether. This magnificent Fortress is not kept up, at the expense of millions, for such purposes.  
But, as a Fortress, it had better become an honest fishing port than a smuggling mart - a perpetual thorn in the side of Spain - and a cause of international recriminative feud between the two nations, preventing all sound intercourse or relations either of political or commercial alliance. The smuggling controversy masked a struggle for power between two factions - what Gardiner called “the military caste” and “traders permitted to repair to the Rock on conditional sufferance”.  . . . 
In fact, some 13,000 of the 1844 population of 15,835 were British subjects, and of the remainder nearly 2,000 were Spanish. The 1,200 British Isles stock included Service families, but in the succeeding century the Gibraltarians have tossed the “alien” label back in neat revenge. By the current Immigrants and Aliens Order persons born in the British Isles have no right of residence in Gibraltar and are refused domicile.  
The merchants petitioned in 1853 for “equal commercial freedom with that enjoyed by the people of England”, though they now deny that to British-born traders. After suffering a number of unconstitutional actions, the merchants threatened to impeach Gardiner. They won their struggle when Gardiner exposed himself to criticism in the Commons by an ordinance establishing a constituted press censorship. He was recalled to London. The victory was owed to the influence of the Members of Parliament for Lancashire, after representations from their trade associates. 
The cotton manufacturing area did not want to lose the Spanish market on some theoretical ground of a risk to Gibraltar’s security. Soon the organisation corresponding in Gibraltar to a Chamber of Commerce, known as the Exchange Committee, ( see LINK ) was given official recognition as the representative voice of the commercial class. 

The Exchange and Commercial Library  ( The National Archives )  (See LINK
Hygiene and the Sewers - Partial local government in Gibraltar was taken over in 1865 by a Sanitary Commission. On sanitation, indeed, depended Gibraltar’s lively future. That year 572 people died in a cholera epidemic. Pestilence had been a recurring visitation at Gibraltar for sixty years, since the horrifying black-vomit fever had killed 4,864 civilians from a total estimated population of 6,000 in 1804, besides claiming a thousand Army dead. ( see LINK 
In part the fault lay in the squalid, unplanned town. Fond as Nelson was of the Rock, he had expressed the hope as he lay off the town that the small shacks at the back of it the “temporaries” that always become permanent after a war - could be burnt. “Perhaps if half the town went with them it would be better,” he added . . . . 
The drains were indeed bad. For many years more the sewers discharged horizontally in shallow water just off the Line Wall, where the matter accumulated in a stagnant space. And when, in 1865, the year of the Sanitary Commission, cholera struck, the victims who suffered worst in proportion were the convicts who lived on the waterfront. For Gibraltar was now a convict station,  as it had been under every other regime that had controlled it.
Andrews follows up with a lengthy section on the convicts which appear elsewhere (see LINK) but perhaps the following is worth repeating;
The Convict Station - It took the Admiralty, which principally employed the prisoners, thirty years to establish that they could employ half the number of free workmen to do the convicts’ labour and still save their Lordships £1,147 a year. In 1875 the convicts returned to England by steamer. 
A Colonial Station - The century of prosperity cushioned Gibraltar with the refinements of garrison life, only occasionally flurried by an operation of gunboat diplomacy or the more serious disturbance of the Crimean campaigns. The era of the little wars that did so much to consolidate the British Empire passed into the turbulence of South Africa.  . . . 
The land of Spain was in eternal tumult, and political refugees from the succeeding regimes found a sanctuary on the Rock. Sometimes their extradition to Spain was connived at, but often this resulted in the disgrace of the police officers involved. Gibraltar port offered a similar haven to all vessels needing protection except the Spanish coastguard cutters. Its services were not always adequate. During the thirty-six years between the establishment of Malta as Britain’s principal Mediterranean dockyard and the revival of the Rock’s waterside facilities to meet the demands of the Suez traffic, its refitting services were poor.
The Sumter - In January 1862, the American Confederate warship 'Sumter' entered the Bay after a punishing cruise of destruction among United States merchantmen in the Civil War. Commander Raphael Semmes had rebuilt the packet steamer Havana into a powerful privateer . . .   
In six months  . . . he broke up the carrying trade to South America and the West Indies by burning twelve freighters, and took six more prizes as he came east over the Atlantic. Semmes steamed into Gibraltar in urgent need of coal and extensive repairs to his hull and boiler. He found those services unobtainable. Outside in the Straits, United States warships prowled, blockading him, led by the USS Kearsarge. Semmes realised that he was trapped, discharged his crew  . . . Later in the year Andrews, whom he had left aboard the Sumter as master, was shot dead by his second officer, Hester, who was arrested on a murder charge and handed over to the American Government. 

The SS Sumter capturing two merchantmen off Gibraltar ( 1860s - Unknown ) 

The Sumter was sold at auction 1862. She continued her service to the Confederacy as a blockade runner under British colours. She was renamed Gibraltar. Andrews then goes on to detail the celebrated case of the Mary Celeste which is covered in detail elsewhere. (See LINK) Then a curious paragraph:
Our Lady of Europe - And there was one symbolic act of restitution for the wrong done to the image of Our Lady of Europe when the British first came in 1704. For a century and a half the statue was cherished in a church at Algeciras. Then it was given into the care of the Loreto Sisters in Gibraltar. Irish soldiers of the Queen began to build a chapel for it, and on the 17th of May, 1866, the Mother and Child so peculiarly identified with Gibraltar from the years of the old dominion were carried solemnly in procession through the streets of the city to be placed on an altar in Saint Bernard’s Convent given by the Pope, while the believing soldiers and sailors in the garrison saluted or knelt before it.

The 1462 statue of Our Lady of Europa
British Patriotism - When Gibraltar flocked in a warm farewell to Roberts and Kitchener leaving for the Cape in 1899, it marked a reversal of their attitude to soldiers by a population which had many old scores to settle from the past and could still be relied on for a few meannesses.   
When the town went crazy nine weeks later for the relief of Ladysmith - Lady-smith was their peak rather than Mafeking because it was defended by their Governor-Designate, Sir George White - Gibraltarians were surprising themselves as much as the English-born with the satisfaction of conscious loyalty. Nobody can say when patriotism begins in any heart, but this was the beginning of its expression. And it was the end of the Victorian era.

The caption reads: In aid of the War Fund: A procession of Spanish students in Gibraltar - The news of the relief of Ladysmith was received at "Gib" with indescribable enthusiasm. The town decked with flags. All the shops were closed. The bells of the Cathedral and other churches were joyfully pealed. The inhabitants telegraphed their congratulations to Generals White and Buller. A procession of Spanish students, in their quaint costumes paraded the town. The young man, who all wore masks, were headed by a banner stating that they were collecting money for the War Fund, and each student carried a guitar or banjo or other instrument. The wooden spoon is the badge of a poor student.

Field Marshal Sir George Stuart White VC, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GCVO, OKW   ( 1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland )  (See LINK

Despite that long string of letters after his name Sir George was something of an enigma.  During the Boer War he committed a serious of disastrous mistakes culminating in being bottled up during the siege of Ladysmith with a substantial force at his disposal. He compounded his error by adopting a supine conduct during its defence and his failure to provide those who attempted to raise the siege with any worthwhile assistance. His reward was to be made Governor of Gibraltar.

The Utopia - Andrews then writes a few paragraphs on the sinking of the Utopia with the loss of 879 Italian men women and children which is covered elsewhere. (See LINK) Andrews offers the curious theory that it was the sinking of the Utopia that gave rise to the subsequent development of the Gibraltar Dockyard: it came from a realisation that if it had been the warship HMS Anson that had been badly damaged it would have proved impossible to either save or refit her and that she would have had to be scuttled. 
The Dockyard - In the age of sail . . the naval yard had been allowed to fallinto partial neglect once the main base of the fleets had been transferred to Malta. Most normal repair work could be carried out, except work on the hulls well below the water-line, for there was no dry-dock in the yard. The change to steam and to hulls of iron and steel, however, reduced Gibraltar to paralysing inefficiency in spite of the long years of labour exacted by the Admiralty from convicts and paid workers.  
There was no dock adequate to receive modern warships, and no equipment available to carry through engineering or structural repairs of any complication.The decision was therefore taken to construct a modern dockyard with a range of berths and dry-clocks, workshops and machinery, to meet the needs of the new Navy. 
A £5-million scheme was begun in 1895. Quarries were dug to yield rock which would fill in a reclaimed frontage, extend the existing moles and build a covering breakwater. While thousands of concrete blocks weighing up to thirty-six tons were shaped and sunk to build the moles, the problems of power and supplies were tackled.  
Electrification was brought to the new yard, and the lack of fresh water necessary for fleets of war was met by manufacture and storage. (The distilleries in Gibraltar produce no whisky, but make sea water drinkable.) Fifteen tank reservoirs, each averaging half a million gallons storage capacity, were cut in the Rock, and the first transverse tunnel was hewn through thefoundations of Gibraltar from sea to sea. 
This Admiralty tunnel, the forerunner of the twenty-five-mile honeycomb that has followed, connected ammunition magazines and fuel stores as well as water-supplies with the waterfront by a system of pipes and a light railway. One of the first notables to inspect it was the German Kaiser, (see LINK) whose trolley was ignominiously detailed in theheart of the Rock.   

The Admiralty Tunnel running from east to west in a stright line ( Modern photograph  ) 
. . There were four docks, workshops equipped with modern machinery, and a series of destroyer slips. Within a few years more the aspect of Gibraltarhad changed to include hangars for kite balloons and sheds for seaplanes.The Detached Mole, over half a mile long, gave almost all the inner anchorage protection from torpedo attack, then the most modern weapon. 
The Gibraltar Dockyard was a self-contained haven enclosing nearly three-quarters of a square mile, providing efficient security for the conditions of war which existed at the time. . . In 1905, when it was completed, it was . . .  wildly out of date, because one factor had been discounted - the significant increase in the range of artillery.

Building the dry docks
 . . . every Spanish position around the Bay was covered by the Rock guns. But the reverse was also true. . .  This factor was appreciated at the time, and a committee recommended that an entirely new dockyard and haven should be built on the other side of the Rock, under the inaccessible east face. But the suggestion was rejected. 
The western harbour was still a long way from being finished when Thomas G. Bowes - a British MP - produced a document calling attention to its exposure to attack from Spain. The document led to a commission being sent to the Rock to find out if it would be a good idea to carry out a feasibility study. As a result the Admiralty appointed Captain T. H. Tizzard and the civil engineer, William Shield, to do exactly that. Their proposals landed on the Admiralty offices after an incredibly quick survey lasting six months and were even more promptly shelved. No reasons have ever been forthcoming as to why they did so.

The Eastern Harbour
The Population - The Gibraltar Dockyard was built at the crest of Victorian imperialist gusto in the last years of the age of careless living, which was to be succeeded by the anxieties of the twentieth century of war. It was the hey-day of the migratory worker, the decade of the prosperous labouring gangers of the great railway and navigational construction projects. 
Gibraltar swelled with a tough, irresponsible new population questing the solid reward of intensive work in sallies from ports along the Mediterranean border of Europe . . .  The merchants, gamblers, and pimps, who were as migratory as the Eldorado chasers they ministered to, followed with their goods and services.In 1901 Gibraltar registered its peak population in peace for all time with 27,460 civilians living on the Rock. 
The naval establishment billeted ashore then was never exceeded. . . The Algeciras Conference - When the great international conference was called at Algeciras in 1906, overshadowed by the imponderable significance of the great Rock, thirty British battle-ships, with hundreds of British warships of descending power, were grouped around Gibraltar - the greatest visible demonstration of might at sea that could be offered.  
At this conference, where Germany was to a damaging extent “frozen out” of the exploitation of North Africa, the recently born and still delicate alliance of Britain with her traditional enemy, France, was consolidated. And the grouping of opposing Powers was sketched in lines that were to be etched deep with blood and cordite in the slaughter of the impending World War One.

Several members of Algeciras Conference at the Hotel Reina Cristina on a day out with Gibraltar in the distance    ( Unknown )
World War I - On the Rock itself, where a thousand great guns were mounted but hardly fired during the war - and when they did sound, houses cracked and heavy falls of rock imperilled life and equipment - food prices soared as Spain cut off supplies, but the population enjoyed an unexampled prosperity. They were discouraged from joining the Forces - only seventy-six Gibraltarians enlisted, of whom half a dozen lost their lives - for all their labours were needed in the manning of the naval base. 
In the latter years of the war every ship entering the Mediterranean automatically called at this vital fleet depot, supply centre “During the war, and because of the war,” reported Sir Charles Lucas, “Gibraltar had come into the very front rank among the great ports of the world. The tonnage which entered and cleared the port in 1918 exceeded that of any other port.”Post World War I - Peace came to a Gibraltar relaxing in an artificial prosperity, a community whose commercial future lay largely beyond its control. 
But long before the Geddes Axe fell on the Navy there were signs that the old days of ease had gone for good. Never again would thirty battleships hem the Rock with their ensigns.Saccone and Speed - Some relics of the decades of effortless imperial nonchalance had been maintained even through the most hazardous hostilities. 
The wine firm of Saccone and Speed, whose base is Gibraltar and whose name is almost part of the heraldic legend of the arms of the old Empire, continued through World War One its tradition of supplying wines and spirits to the Royal Navy on a liberal interpretation of “sale or return”. The firm lost £12,000 at the Battle of Jutland alone, when it did not dispute that certain of its bottles had been opened by enemy shell fire instead of the cork-screws of mess servants.
James Speed started business as a wine merchant in Gibraltar in 1839 and by 1850, Jerome Saccone had also established his own wines and spirits business. At the turn of the century, the two rivals merged and incorporated in England as Jerome Saccone & James Speed & Co. Limited.

From the very earliest days, the company’s close links with the British led the company to open branches at major Naval bases in the U.K., Mediterranean, Africa and the Far East. It also became a major supplier to the Diplomatic Corps in various countries. In 1912 the company name was changed to Saccone & Speed Limited and by 1949 Saccone & Speed Limited was also incorporated in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar for Ceuta - In 1923 General Primo de Rivera assumed what must be reckoned by later standards a mild dictatorship over Spain. He referred once more to the British Government his earlier unofficial proposal that Gibraltar should be exchanged for Ceuta, nine miles distant in Africa on the other side of the Straits. Ceuta had been garrisoned by Britain during the last years of the Napoleonic War and if the British had been minded they might easily have retained it then, when Spain had few ambitions in Morocco.  
There were some advocates of the deal in the British Parliament; they based their arguments on the undoubted weakness of Gibraltar from the land side following the leap in range and power of artillery, and on the existence of a hinterland in Morocco which would prove a more fruitful trading area than the substantially barricaded, protected market of Spain. . . . 
The USA and Gibraltar  . . . Britain at this period had even considered inviting the United States to share the responsibility of Gibraltar. There had been a rather furtive move in the corridors of the 1919 Peace Conference to persuade America to accept equal rights in Gibraltar if she would at the same time proclaim an American mandate over Constantinople, Armenia and Anatolia. . . .  
The Water-catchments - Gibraltarians therefore concerned themselves with parish-pump, but still essential, matters like extending their unique water-storage system, which now provides a reserve of 14 million gallons safe in limestone reservoirs cut in the hidden city of Gibraltar, beneath the umbrella of the central Rock . . . . . 

Creating the water catchment area on the east side of the Rock ( 1925 - Gibraltar Museum ) 
The Aquadores - Since not all the houses on the Rock are piped, water is still sold at the padlocked public fountains at about eight buckets for a penny, and aguadores, or water-sellers, still drive their donkeys up the hilly streets to retail the small casks of water with which the beasts are laden.

Aquadores in Governor's Parade (  Mansell Collection  ) (See LINK)
The Calpe Hunt - While the burgesses busied themselves with practical facilities - though they exerted culpably little pressure to achieve adequate education services, compared with their anxiety to encourage tourism to compensate for the falling revenue from refuelling merchant ships - their military superiors were diverted at the popular racecourse or by the regular meetings of the Royal Calpe Hunt. (See LINK)  . . .  
Smuggling - The harry and chase of frontier guards against smugglers persisted through this time as the entertainment of the lower orders, though, as a contrast to the Hunt, the operation was occasionally mechanised. One taxi-driver who attempted in 1935 to run 197 pounds of tobacco through the frontier in the normal course of his employment was unexpectedly challenged by the Carabinieri at La Linea and decided to retreat with his booty - and his challengers - intact.  
He promptly reversed his car, turned and roared back over the Lines at high speed, with two highwayman-batted guards in his vehicle. One of them was holding a loaded pistol at his head, but omitted, for reasons concerning his own safety, to pull the trigger. The most serious charge the driver faced in Gibraltar - for the only disgrace of the smuggling episode lay in its failure - was a police accusation of driving to the public danger. 
The Spanish Civil War - (See LINK) The Dictatorship ( of Primo de Rivera ) gave way to a Republic in Spain. At the onset of the revolution of 1931 two of King Alfonso’s sons arrived to take refuge on the Rock and were entertained to dinner by the Governor. By contrast, the Spanish troops of the Republic actually entered Gibraltar in 1935 for a parade to honour the British King’s birthday in his jubilee year.

The King's Birthday
When the clash of Spanish Civil War, which all foresaw, eventually came, there was a strong rift of opinion within the population and garrison of the Fortress on the merits of the Government and Insurgent causes. The annual Fair was in progress at La Linea on the 18th of July, 1936, when furious shooting warned the festive Gibraltarians that the rising had occurred. 
. . .  Spanish workmen labouring in Gibraltar Dockyard, aware that a record of republicanism might now be their death warrant, refused to go home that night. And day by day the refugees flocked across from Spain for a sanctuary under the guns of the Rock which they could not find at home. . . .

Refugee Camp ( 1936 - Unknown ) 
The José Luis Diaz - The population saw the Government destroyer José Luis Diaz, ordered, like the Graf Spee a few years later, to leave the haven of a neutral port, dart out to the sea where a pack of warships awaited her, then drift, shelled and burning and out of control, back to the Rock which had expelled her. 

The damaged Republican destroyer José Luis Diaz just off Catalan Bay
And in the certainty of a Franco victory, General Quiepo de Llano arrived at La Linea to make an oration which huge mounted loudspeakers were to carry to Gibraltar, and announced that he would soon be riding up Main Street to the Convent astride a white horse.
The next chapter - titled 'The Springboard'  - deals entirely with the military role of Gibraltar during World War II. Understandably there is very little on civilian matters although the evacuation is of course touched upon. 
 . . . Behind them, in Mers-El-Kebir, they left 1,297 French dead. . .  Immediately after Oran, Gibraltar was subjected to a retaliatory bombing attack by French aircraft, though the operation was not efficiently conducted. But immediate and painful reprisals were exacted against 14,000 quite helpless Gibraltarian civilians who were in French power. 
Over 16,000 of the civilians in Gibraltar had been shipped away. Only combatant Gibraltarians, essential workers on the fortifications and dockyard, and the traders necessary to maintain commerce were allowed to remain. Some of the richer property owners took themselves off to Tangier early, leaving managers in their businesses which were to thrive so well with 30,000 men in the garrison and hundreds of ships each month in the Bay. 
The Government evacuation scheme, which was strongly resisted by the loyal and family-conscious Gibraltarians, sent women, children and non-essential men to French North Africa, where they lived in reasonable comfort, mainly in the Casablanca area of French Morocco. 
After the engagement at Oran the mood of the French changed quickly and savagely. The evacuees were ejected from their accommodation and denied the most elementary sanitary services. They were held as hostages for the delivery of numbers of French combatants whom the British had taken home in their escape from France, but who wished to fight no longer, and were consequently ferried again by the British to North African ports. 
Fifteen thousand of these men were on the high seas in fifteen convoyed freighters bound for Casablanca at the time of Oran. As soon as he heard of the action, Rear-Admiral Sir Kenelm Creighton, the convoy commodore, signalled to the ships’ masters to impound all private radio sets in an effort to prevent the news reaching the French troops. 
Five thousand of them were sailors, many still had their arms and ammunition, and there were crews of only thirty unarmed merchant seamen on each of the transports. The French could have risen and taken over the fleet if they had been so minded. 
Outside Casablanca the convoy was intercepted by French destroyers, submarines and light bombers. The ships were placed under arrest and taken into port. The Gibraltarians had been shoved to the coast in droves to await the arrival of the French soldiers, and kept in the sun without food or water when they reached the port. “From six in the morning until six at night,” reported an Irish nun, “all day at the side of the road, and no one asked us if we had a mouth on us.” 
A day passed. The transports came in. The French disembarked and marched away between lines of black troops. Then the dock gates were flung open, and a mass of exhausted Gibraltarian men, women and children was forced along the jetty with rifle butts. They clutched the meagre, battered luggage that was the hallmark of the refugee in every land. They surged to the quayside and sank down again on the stones. 
Admiral Creighton saw old men and women collapsing in the heat, and mothers trying to shield their babies from the sun. He was told that he had to embark a thousand on each of his ships. The Frenchmen had travelled in the ships’ holds, cooking their rations on field kitchens which they had taken ashore with them. The stores were exhausted. The holds themselves were dangerously insanitary after a fourteen-day voyage with the most primitive accommodation. The port authorities refused to cleanse them for the sake of the children, or to let the refugees wait in the shade of dockside sheds while the crews removed the ordure. 
Into these stinking unlit caverns it was expected that the Gibraltarians would crowd, down vertical steel ladders which it was physically impossible for many to descend. After forty-eight hours the last of the ships at Casablanca was loaded with its miserable passengers and sailed away. . . . 
The administration of Gibraltar learned with some terror that their civilians were being consigned back to them. When Admiral Creighton had informed Admiral North, on the Rock, that lack of food alone forced him to bring the Gibraltarians to their nearest succour, which was their home, he had replied, “For Heaven’s sake, don’t - we had enough trouble gettingthem out.”  
As the refugees anchored in Gibraltar harbour they were shocked to find that they were forbidden to go ashore. The Government thought they would never get them back on the ships if they once were let off, but a strong rumour of the shocking conditions their families were enduring sped among the men working in the town, whose wives and children were in the stinking hulks.  
There was the beginning of a serious riot, quelled only by revoking the order of isolation. The refugees came ashore in tenders. They had to find makeshift accommodation, for most of their own houses were crammed with the military. Dockyard carpenters were sent aboard the freighters to make hasty improvements in accommodation and sanitation. 
Stores were taken on, and after ten days the order was broadcast for the evacuation to recommence. Many who intended to slip the draft were whipped in by an air-raid which came providentially for the harassed town Commissioners at the last moment, and-sent the women aboard again, more through the anxiety of their men than out of their own panic. 
Twelve thousand sailed for England-—twelve babies were born during the voyage. Other Gibraltarians went to Jamaica, some to Madeira and some to the Azores. The evacuation was a botched job in many ways. There was more than one evacuation list. 

 Five generations of the Yeo family as evacuees in London with the old Wembley Staadium in the Background  ( Unknown ) 
Husbands who had been declared non-essential workers were sent on different drafts from their families and finished in remote lands. The conditions in the camp in Jamaica particularly were resented for their strictness. In London the Gibraltarians were housed in Kensington hotels which were empty precisely because London had been officially evacuated for the bombing.  

Gibraltar evacuees in Jamaica  ( The National Archives )  
They stayed there until the time of the flying bombs in 1944, when they were sent to Northern Ireland. Towards the end of the war some of the men still working in Gibraltar got compassionate leave to visit their families in homeward-bound ships. 

 Gibraltar evacuees in Madeeira ( 1940 )
And evacuees in nearer places of refuge came back in a passionate reunion of unforgettable emotion.The long anguish of the evacuation was not a total evil. Like the tough scars of wounds on some bodies, it gave a certain strength to the community. Gibraltarians are fervently attached to their families, and though the pain of separation was deep it was not permanent. It enhanced the loyalty they felt for their home  . . .  
The rest of the chapter is given over to military activity including General Eisenhower's visit, Operations Torch, the building of the Airfield. Also of less importance but of interest are the following:

The new airport during Operation Torch ( Unknown ) 
Villa Carmela - A member of the Tenth ( Italian ) Flotilla, who had a Spanish wife . . . rented a villa on the sandy coast by La Linea, three miles from Gibraltar within the Bay. From the Villa Carmela, “the most advanced base of the Italian Navy in enemy waters”, twelve frogmen walked into the sea on a night of July, 1942, and attached explosives to four merchant steamers with a total tonnage of 10000 tons. All four ships had to be run aground to prevent their immediate sinking. . . .  
The 'Olterra' - A second base in the Bay of Gibraltar was then established.The Italian steamer 'Olterra' had been scuttled in Spanish waters on the day Italy entered the war. A Spanish salvage company was now instructed to refloat her and tow her into Algeciras, where she was moored - under the windows of the British Consulate. Secretly, and with the utmost skill, the Olterra was transformed into a launching base for human torpedoes through a specially cut underwater door in her hull. From the 'Olterra', in the year that followed, seven more ships totalling 44,000 tons were blown up in the Bay. 

The Olterra 
War-Time Gibraltar - The Gibraltarians who stayed behind-—the men serving in the dockyard, on the gun-sites and inside the Rock on the gigantic tunnelling project-walked an unfamiliar town with only the physical shape of the Gibraltar they knew. No women slept on the Rock except a few hardy Spanish domestics and, much later, girls of the WRNS. . . .  
Gibraltar was a frontier town again, and sometimes as uninhibited. The dancing girls and hostesses for the cabarets now came in each day from Spain, and wererigorously expelled at night. It became a garrison joke to try to escort one back to the frontier. The proprietor of the Emporium, Gibraltar’s cut-down version of a Woolworth store, found a gratifying increase in trade when he put young Spanish girls behind his counters. 

The Emporium ( Mid 20th century )
The shops in Gibraltar were a wonderland for the men new from utility, rationed Britain. This was a deliberate policy, maintained at some pains for reasons whichwent beyond keeping up the morale of the troops. Gibraltar glittered in  a profusion of luxuries mainly for the benefit of Spain.  
Eliott - When old General Eliott, who brought the Rock through the Great Siege, had achieved the destruction of the floating batteries with his red-hot shot, he had a large number of fresh prisoners-of-war on his hands. He invited the Spanish and French officers to a banquet of forty sumptuous dishes, including many Spanish delicacies carefully smuggled in, at a time when his men were near starvation. At the end of the feast he produced copies of the latest Gazette from Madrid, which the officers had not been able to obtain in their own camp. 
And he sent them back to their own lines on parole that they would not fight again in the war.The officers rejoined their comrades with exciting news of the evident prosperity of the besieged English, and the over-powering charm of their brave commander. 
This skilful propaganda device was operated throughout World War Two in Gibraltar. High-grade flour was brought by convoy to make the best white bread. Much of it was inevitably smuggled out each day by the Spanish workers in the dockyard, who were normally eating meagre and unappetising loaves much more repulsive than the bread available in Britain. 
The fame of Gibraltar’s white bread, and the silks, tobacco and nylon freely and cheaply on sale there, was envious talk throughout Spain at a time when powerful Axis propaganda was affirming that Britain was down and out.  
The End of the War - And at last, after five and three-quarter years of effort, came the announcement of victory in Europe. Gibraltar celebrated. The town was quiet until the broadcast of the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, at three in the after-noon. Then the day became lively. The most unexpected activity was a parade down Main Street of a hundred and fifty Spanish workers and one English soldier, bearing the flags of Britain, America, Russia and the old Spanish Republic. 
At six in the evening a funfair was opened in the Alameda Gardens and 8,000 pints of free beer were made available by NAAFI. By 7.30 the police had been mustered to control the queue for beer, but a quarter of an hour later their problem was beyond control, as some enterprising foragers collapsed the tent in which the beer was kept and rolled the barrels away in the following confusion. 
A sailor maintained the improvising tradition of the Royal Navy by constructing a boxing ring where private fights which had been brewing through the years of war could at last be settled, and refereed the ready slaughter that followed.  By night-time boarding parties were clambering up the walls of the guardedbars and cabarets in Main Street and tossing drink down to the Street. The din was finally underscored as the guns of Gibraltar exploded in the last great barrage of the European War.
The book ends with a long epilogue bringing the reader up to date - that is to 1959.  It is a curious history in that it has much more to say about the local inhabitants during the 19th century than almost any other general history of Gibraltar before or since. But then, Allen Andrews picked the brains of a fair number of local residents and historians to wrtite his book - among them, Joshua Hassan, Father F. Azzopardi, Sam Benady, Sir Edward Cottrell, Dorothy Ellicott, A Falquero, M.K. Featherstone, Monsignor Grech, Lionel J. Imossi, Willie M. Isola, Capt Robert Peliza, Moses Serfaty, and a few others. If only for that the book is worth a read. For that alone it is well worth reading. 

Map of Gibraltar   ( 1959 - From the Book )