The People of Gibraltar
1930s - Image Bank of WW2 - Gibraltar - 1936 to 1940s

1936 - “Images of the Civil War in Spain - masses of boats in the harbour”

The sheltered but shallow north-west corner of the Bay was traditionally used by smaller craft working from the Rock - It was invariably as full of boats as seen in this picture

1936 - “Spanish refugees arriving in a small fishing boat at Gibraltar”

Most of the 5 000 odd people fleeing the conflict did so on foot and by land via the British frontier post in the Neutral Ground. 

1936 - “The 'Miguel de Cervantes” seen off Gibraltar on July 24 - The communist crew are seen giving the fascist salute with clenched fists”

Most of the Spanish navy remained loyal to the legitimate Republican Government. The crew of the Miguel the Cervantes had apparently overpowered their officers before they attempted to refuel in Gibraltar. They didn’t get any on the grounds that they were refusing to release them. The merchant who vetoed the delivery of the fuel was an enthusiastic pro-Nationalist. A member of his family also happened to be the consul for Nazi Germany. They claimed that the officers had been murdered. 

The clenched fist is not a fascist salute although it does find its origins in the Spanish Civil War when it was adopted by Spanish and foreign volunteers belonging to the Communist Party who fought on the side of the Republic - it was meant to be a repost to the open handed fascist salute, the clenching signifying “togetherness”. Later it was adopted by just about everybody on the left and not just Communists.

1938 - “A magnificent aerial view of a naval reconnaissance flying boat winging its way over the Rock of Gibraltar, Britain's gateway to the Mediterranean”

A Walrus flying Boat

1938 - “Eye of the fleet goes to rest - A "Walrus" amphibian plane is being hoisted aboard a warship at Gibraltar after a reconnaissance flight for the British Fleet in the Mediterranean - The Planes, which are used as the "eyes" of the Fleet, can come down either on land or sea, and are hoisted aboard by crane - a delicate operation - The machine's landing wheels can be seen beneath the floats. In background British warships are anchored off the Rock.”

1938 - “New Sea Lord inspects Royal Marines on British warship at Gibraltar. Admiral Sir Roger Backhouse (right) accompanied by Captain Alexander, inspecting Royal Marines on board H.M.S. "Cornwell" at Gibraltar”

1938- “Gibraltar sees another battle. Royal Marines firing from a trench in the shadow of the Rock”

No Battle - just Marines on the North Front firing range

1938 - “Mediterranean Patrol. A fine study of naval activity at Gibraltar as a destroyer leaves on duty in the non-intervention patrol. In background are warships of the Mediterranean fleet at Anchor, and, dominating all, the Rock”

That “non-intervention” refers to a principle adopted during the Spanish Civil War by the British and by other European powers which effectively subjected the Spanish Republic to severe international isolation. It was in effect an economic embargo which eventually allowed the Nationalists to win the Civil War. 

1939 - “Spanish Government destroyer aground in Catalan Bay after Gibraltar a sea battle - The "Jose Luis Díez" aground in Catalan Bay”

Another Republican ship that was refused help in Gibraltar - Her sea battle was against several Nationalist ships including the heavy cruiser Canarias.

1939 - “Detention Barracks - Detained Spanish sailors from the Republican destroyer José Luis. Díez'”

1939 - “The Rock defies Atlantic's might - an impressive photograph showing great Atlantic breakers expanding themselves in vain against the scarred rocks at Europa Point, below the towering eminence of Gibraltar, which guards the gate to the Mediterranean”

1939 - “Guarding the Gate to the Mediterranean, rising like a massive stone lion - Gibraltar from Europa Point - This British outpost guards the gate to the Mediterranean”

1939 - “Outpost of Empire - and a vital one - A view of the catchments at Gibraltar, which guards the entrance to the Mediterranean. These collect the rain water on which "The Rock" depends for its water supply”

1939 - “British examine mail for Germany - British sailors snapped as they removed for examination for contraband about 220 bags of mail destined for Germany when the U.S. ship Exeter was stopped at Gibraltar recently“

1939 - “View of fortification - the hinterland is that of the African Coast”
The “fortification” is actually Buena Vista barracks. The hinterland shown is that of southern Spain

1939 - “The Rock of Gibraltar as an English fortress has been blocking the western entrance to the Mediterranean for more than two hundred years. It ensures transit for England, but it is a barrier to the nations that live in the Mediterranean”

The Rock may have been English for the first few years after its capture but it has been British ever since. The view is of the northwest side of the Rock and shows many of the gun embrasures of its Galleries - below in the inundation. 

1940s - “New York' class battleship USS "Texas" BB35 of U.S. Navy among other ships on the Bay of Gibraltar on 11 September 1943 - This photo belongs to a collection of photo prints of US Navy ships”

1940 - “How Britain's contraband control functions at Gibraltar - Ships anchored off the "Rock" as they await visits from the officials and their clearance papers. An American Export lines ship can be seen in background”

1940 - "How Britain's contraband control functions at Gibraltar - The Rock, as seen from the "Washington" as she was brought into the control zone - Ships waiting for clearance can be seen."

1940 - “The hot ground of Gibraltar - So did Italian flyers see the English Gate of the Mediterranean during their last successful bombing raid”

Although the Italians published numerous coloured sketches of the Regia Aeronautica bombing raids on Gibraltar these were not only very few and far between but surprisingly ineffective. 

1940s - “It’s not only in Africa and India that the natives try to sell their wares to the tourists immediately they arrive. This kind of spectacle can also be seen in Gibraltar, where Spaniards and Moroccans try to sell their goods to tourists on liners in the Bay.”

These traders were known as bum boat men - and they were not just Spaniards and Moroccan - some of them were locals.

1940s - “Strict control is exercised at the frontier station of the Spanish Aduana in La Línea, on anybody who travels to Spain from Gibraltar or returns from Spain. Police and soldiers assist the customs officers in guarding the border and keep a close watch over the possible movement of weapons”

1940s - “This record comes from the short photo report of the departure of the 'MS Ruys' on her  journey from Amsterdam to Batavia Indonesia - 'When we have passed the famous rock, the enormous concrete surface which catches rainwater' is visible on the eastern side’ “ 

1940s - Relief map of the English Fortress of Gibraltar

This of course refers to British Gibraltar and is not very accurate - there was no canal across the Neutral Ground, nor were there that many galleries and embrasures and the area shown behind the Rock on the right did not exist