Cardiff memorial to seafarers who saved Spanish refugees

Post date: 12/05/2022

Refugees on board the Stanbrook at Alicante.

A new plaque dedicated to Capt Archibald Dickson and the crew of the Stanbrook, who defied Franco’s blockade and rescued refugees during the final days of the Spanish Civil War, has been installed in Cardiff. Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, unveiled the memorial at a ceremony held on 10 May at the Pierhead Building.

Steve Belcher, Regional Organiser for Unison Cymru/Wales, spoke at the event on behalf of the IBMT. He connected the cause of the blockade runners with that of the International Brigades: ‘These seafarers we remember today can take their place alongside their brothers and sisters in the International Brigades as enduring examples of anti-fascism and international solidarity.’

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (left) at the unveiling, with IBMT member and former Wales Secretary Mary Greening (second from left), Senedd Member Mick Antoniw (right) and Lorraine and Malcolm Hardy, of Labour International based in Alicante, who have worked with the city's historical memory association to ensure the plaque is placed in Cardiff.

The memorial was originally conceived in 2015, when Alicante’s democratic memory commission presented the plaque to the IBMT and Cardiff City Council. Labour International helped to get the plaque delivered to Cardiff, working with Alicante's Comisión Cívica.

 The Stanbrook had arrived in the besieged port of Alicante on 28 March 1939 to pick up a cargo of tobacco, oranges and saffron. The city was host to thousands of displaced Spaniards. After a request from the port authorities Capt Dickson and his crew agreed to evacuate 2,638 refugees to the Algerian port of Oran. Alicante fell to fascist forces just days later.


Posted on 12 May 2022.

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