Memorial plaque for Dénia air-raid victims unveiled
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.