Memo­rial plaque for Dé­nia air-raid vic­tims un­veiled

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News -

By Sa­man­tha Kett A PLAQUE ded­i­cated to 32 civil­ians killed dur­ing a wartime air raid that struck Dé­nia 80 years ago has been un­veiled on the spot where the bomb landed by the son of one of the vic­tims.

Ger­man and Ital­ian fighter pi­lots sup­port­ing dic­ta­tor Gen­eral Franco's army rained shells on the Ma­rina Alta cap­i­tal dur­ing the con­flict, with the first – in Au­gust 1937 – killing res­i­dents Rosa Soler and Fran­cisca Caselles, 21 and 33, and refugee Rafael Manuel Losada, 16.

An­other 30 or 40 air strikes per­pe­trated by the Nazis and the Fas­cists en­sued, with the last be­ing in March 1939 – aimed at Gan­dia port, the at­tack mis­fired and killed 42year-old Juana Martín Es­co­bar and an­other two civil­ians who have never been iden­ti­fied.

The worst by far was on Oc­to­ber 18, 1938 when 11 sol­diers and three civil­ians lost their lives on Dé­nia's cen­tral C/ La Vía.

Án­gela Martín Chorro, 67, plus a young man sit­ting on the pave­ment shelling al­monds – José Avar­gues Bar­ber, 16 – were killed out­right.

So was José Caselles Cerdá, 44, who was walk­ing home from work.

His son José Caselles Ronda, now 92, cut the red tape on the memo­rial which con­tains the names of all 32 Dé­nia res­i­dents who died in the Civil War bomb­ings, in­clud­ing those of the 11 sol­diers who were dig­ging out an air-raid shel­ter on the C/ La Vía when they were struck from the sky.

“Wars are ter­ri­ble, aw­ful. They never bring any­thing good,” said José Caselles Ju­nior when he un­veiled the plaque.

The coun­cil says the memo­rial is a 'debt' it owed to rel­a­tives of the dead.

Ac­cord­ing to the tem­po­rary Civil War ex­hi­bi­tion at Dé­nia's So­cial Cen­tre, a to­tal of 2,993 of the town's then 13,000 in­hab­i­tants were killed on the front line, whilst 1,905 civil­ians – of whom 84 were women – were jailed.

Of th­ese, 50 were shot by fir­ing squad at Dé­nia ceme­tery be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber 1939, an­other met the same fate in Alzira (Rib­era Alta) and 14 in Ali­cante.

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