A Monday afternoon in April saw members of GFRS Blue Watch and Fire Safety attend Governor’s Meadow lower primary school. This visit was arranged by the GFRS in order to reassure and help educate children and staff alike to allay any fears that may have been lingering as a result of the recent fire at the school.
The children were given a fire safety talk with a focus on how to react to a fire and what they can do to help prevent fires. Their participation was incredibly enthusiastic with all of them showing an eagerness to interact with the fire crew. Following the short fire safety talk, members of Blue Watch took over, giving the pupils the opportunity to see some of the equipment on the fire appliance. This included the hose reels and the surprisingly popular “BATfan”.
Minister with responsibility for GFRS, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said, “I commend the officers on this outreach initiative and the reassurance they have offered by educating the children at Governor’s Meadow School after the recent fire.”
His Worship the Mayor, Mr John Gonçalves MBE GMD, hosted a lunch on Monday 26th April 2021, at the Mayor’s Parlour, City Hall, in honour of His Excellency The Most Reverend Archbishop Mark Miles, Apostolic Nuncio to Benin and Togo, following his Episcopal Ordination. Also pictured, is a meeting held with the Chief Minister.
The Deputy Chief Minister – Dr Joseph Garcia – marked the 70th anniversary of the explosion of the RFA Bedenham in Gun Wharf at the end of April by laying a wreath together with His Worship The Mayor John Goncalvez MBE GMD, and the heads of the Airport and Gibraltar Fire Rescue Services Nicky Vinales and Colin Ramirez. A wreath was also laid on behalf of the Civil Defence Association (UK).
The RFA Bedenham was a naval armament carrier. It had arrived in Gibraltar on 24 April 1951 and on the morning of 27 April, 70 years ago, was unloading depth charges at Gun Wharf to a shallow-draft boat used in the unloading of larger vessels.
A depth charge ignited while in the process of being unloaded.
This caused a fire and an explosion in the smaller boat which spread to the Bedenham itself. Brave attempts to contain the fire proved futile and the Bedenham too exploded violently.
The explosion rocked Gibraltar.
Its force was such that parts of the vessel were blown out of the water onto the actual quayside and elsewhere.
The explosion killed 13 people, injured hundreds and caused extensive damage to property. Windows shattered all over Gibraltar and the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and the Convent were particularly badly affected.
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said, “The explosion of the Bedenham was a before and after moment for that generation of Gibraltarians. Everyone could remember where they were and what they were doing when the ship blew up. My own grandfather worked in the ammunition stores in the dockyard at that time, and although he was not directly impacted by the explosion, it did have a profound effect going forward. I know that many families lost relatives and it was very fitting to see some of them represented in the short ceremony.”