Friday, September 20, 2013

Belgian WW2 Commemorative Tablet, Gibraltar

1. The Belgian WW2 commemorative tablet, Gibraltar
[Smith-Dorrien steps, King's Bastion, Gibraltar]
2. Commemorative tablet, Smith-Dorrien steps
[King's Bastion, Gibraltar (dedicated 1921)]
3. Gibraltar from La Linea de la Concepción, Spain
For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Below the steps and esplanade adjacent to the King's Bastion, Gibraltar and close to the British War Memorial, is a commemorative tablet given to the fortress of Gibraltar by Belgium at the end of the Second World War. It was given in recognition of the assistance that Gibraltar gave to many Belgians during WW2 during the years 1940 - 1944 [Photograph No 1].

The steps and esplanade where the Belgian WW2 is found were completed in 1921, during the period when General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien was Governor of Gibraltar. The General was Governor at Gibraltar between 9 July 1918 and 26 May 1923. Another commemorative tablet beside the steps marks their completion [Photograph No 2].

Although Belgium was occupied by the invading German Army in 1940 many Belgians refused to accept that defeat was final. They made their way from Belgium or northern France, through Occupied France, across the Pyrenees and then travelled the length of Spain.

The final town in Spain along this long and arduous journey, where they could see the fortress of Gibraltar and cross the frontier, was La Línea de la Concepción, Spain. A view of Gibraltar from La Línea de la Concepción can be seen above [Photograph No 3]. Crossing over the frontier into Gibraltar was a major milestone. Once again, they could take up the struggle against the Nazis.

From Gibraltar, some Belgians returned to Nazi Occupied Europe to take an active role in running or assisting the escape and evasion lines. In doing so, they helped many Allied airmen, soldiers and other civilians to escape and continue the struggle. Among this group of Belgian patriots were Andrée De Jongh (of the 'Comet' line) and Dr Albert-Marie Guérisse ("Pat O'Leary" of the 'Pat' line). On the other hand, some Belgians who managed to reach Gibraltar went on to serve in the Armed Forces. Whatever the path that they took after reaching the Gibraltar fortress, these Belgian patriots appreciated the welcome they received in Gibraltar, an appreciation that was shown by the dedication of the memorial tablet at the Smith-Dorrien steps.

The commemorative tablets

(a) The inscription on the Belgian WW2 tablet reads as follows:

"This tablet is dedicated by Belgium to the fortress of Gibraltar, in grateful recognition of the warmth and understanding with which, during the years 1940 - 1944, it received Belgians from enemy Occupied Europe on their way to serve in the Allied struggle for Freedom.
21st July 1945."

(b) The inscription on the Smith-Dorrien commemorative tablet reads as follows:

"This esplanade and these steps were constructed in the year 1921 during the Governorship of His Excellency, General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O.
They form a memoria of his regard for the welfare of the people of Gibraltar".

Saturday, 12 October, 2013  

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