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All aboard for Alicante: The North West Trade Union International Committee’s Spanish Civil War tour, 26 to 29 March 2020

Announcement by the North West Trade Union International Committee…

 

The North West Trade Union International Committee (NWTUIC) is a group of trade unionists and International Brigade Memorial Trust supporters based in the North West. We organise solidarity trips to commemorate the heroic struggles of the international workers’ movement. We have run three previous trips to Spain – two to Madrid and one to the Ebro. In Madrid we toured the battlefields of Brunete and Jarama nearby, where working-class volunteers from Britain and other countries in the International Brigade fought to defend the capital of the Spanish Republic against Franco’s fascist hordes. At the Ebro we toured the area where the International Brigade waged its final battle in a bid to save the Republic.

 

Our aim on such trips is to make the trade unionists and activists who come with us aware of the heroic struggles, the international solidarity and the militant anti-fascism that are all indelibly associated with our movement in the past – and to keep those noble values alive today. And between Thursday 26 March 2020 and Sunday 30 March we are organising a fourth trip – to Alicante.

 

Though this town has a modern reputation as a holiday destination it was a vital centre during the Spanish Civil Was of 1936 to 1939. It was the very last city to fall to Franco, resisting fascism to the bitter end. It is rich in historical monuments dedicated to the memory of the Spanish people who gave up everything, including their lives, to try and preserve democracy and stop fascism’s relentless and brutal advance in Europe.

 

We are currently at the stage of planning a detailed itinerary of the various sites of historical interest. Our thanks go to the Comisión Cívica de Alicante para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (the Comisión) for providing us with the following information on highlights that will hopefully be included in the tour:

 

Stanbrook memorial and Captain Dickson bronze bust – these are in the harbour in Alicante city. Captain Dickson and his merchant vessel, the Stanbrook, took just under 3,000 people from Alicante harbour to Oran in Algeria in the last days of the Spanish Civil War to save them from almost certain death or imprisonment at the hands of Franco.

 

Campo de los Almendros – in 1939 this was an almond field on the edge of Alicante. Republican prisoners of war were marched there. No food, no water, no facilities. There is now a memorial there.

Alicante Refugio – Plaza Séneca, one of the many air-raid shelters in the city of Alicante. Opened up about four years ago, there is also a small museum nearby. 

 

Alicante Market – was bombed (by Mussolini’s air force) around 12 noon 25 May 1938, the day on which some food supplies had arrived. There is a memorial plaque on the market building and a new memorial funded by the Comisión is there which lights up at 12 noon each day for approximately 10 minutes. It is made in nine sections representing the nine Italian fascist planes and with 330 fibre optic lamps representing those who died.

 

Alicante cemetery here there is a large memorial funded by the Comisión to Republicans executed by Franco’s supporters. Some 700 plus names are on the memorial in an area that had been a mass grave. The Comisión researched all of the deaths over several years to provide the list of names. 

 

Hondón – 30 minutes from Alicante is the airfield just outside the village from which Republican leaders Juan Negrín and Dolores Ibárruri departed Spain. There is a memorial in the small hamlet.  

 

Cuevas de Canalobre – 30 minutes from Alicante, near to Busot, was as an aircraft factory and munitions store.  

 

Two other refugios – Alcoy, 45 minutes from Alicante (uniforms for the Republicans were manufactured in Alcoy), and Onil – a recently opened shelter on an old airfield; this refugio was for the factory workers.

 

We will be finalising details and costs for transport and meals in the next weeks and we will advertise them as soon as we have them but we are expecting demand for this trip to be very high, so, if you would like to contact us with an expression of interest in attending, get your name down now as we will have to operate on a first come, first served basis. To send expressions of interest please email Anthony Curley at: anthony.curley19@gmail.com

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Posted on 9 September 2019.