“Friends of Madeira” to visit from Gibraltar

80th anniversary of the arrival of Gibraltar evacuees in Madeira

"Friends of Madeira" to visit from Gibraltar 1Thanks to Peter for a link to a  story that the “Friends of Madeira” have organised two trips to the island to mark the 80th anniversary of the arrival of Gibraltar evacuees in Madeira.

On August 13, 1940, a total of 1248 Gibraltarians travelled on board the passenger liner, Neuralia, to Madeira while being escorted by a British warship.

Now, 80 years later, the two trips organised by the Friends of Madeira and the City Council of Funchal will commemorate this event. The first trip from April 29 to May 5 will take place during the Flower Festival, one of Funchal’s busiest events. The second will be held on from August 11 to 18.

On August 13 a wreath will be laid at a memorial in Santa Catalina park dedicated to the Gibraltarians who died in the war. In the evening a thanksgiving mass will be held in the cathedral with an indoor procession with the statue of Our Lady of Europe.

The Gibraltar Magazine recently reported that a documentary of the evacuation of the people of Gibraltar to Madeira during the Second World War will premiere in Gibraltar later this month. Work on the project commenced in 2015, as part of the events to mark the 75th anniversary of the evacuation.

The people of Gibraltar were first evacuated to French Morocco in 1940. When France fell, they returned to Gibraltar from where they were sent onwards to Madeira, Jamaica and the United Kingdom. The last evacuees returned to the Rock in 1951.

The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who led on the commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary in 2015, said of the documentary:

“The evacuation of the civilian population, our women, children, elderly and infirm, during the War was a landmark in the political and constitutional development of Gibraltar and in our progress as a people. The experiences that the evacuees underwent and the concerns of the men left behind to fight the War blended together into a powerful movement for civil rights and greater self- government. This is the story of those who went to Madeira as told by the evacuees themselves”.


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