A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Bedenham Memorial, Queensway Quay, on Tuesday 27th April at 11.00am to mark the 70th anniversary of the explosion of the RFA Bedenham. In attendance will be the Deputy Chief Minister, The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia MP, His Worship the Mayor, Mr John Gonçalves MBE GMD, and the heads of the Airport and Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Services.
In the morning of the same day in 1951, whilst the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship was berthed at Gun Wharf, depth charges were being unloaded into a lighter when one of them ignited. This caused a fire which spread to the Bedenham, triggering a violent explosion on the ship which subsequently sank.
Thirteen people were killed in the explosion, including Chief Fire Officer Albert Alexander Indoe and Sub Officer George Campbell Henderson, of the Dockyard Fire Service, who were posthumously awarded gallantry medals for their bravery in attempting to extinguish the fire. A wreath will also be laid in their honour on behalf of the Civil Defence Association (UK). In addition to the human casualties many of Gibraltar’s buildings suffered substantial damage, including The Convent and Gibraltar’s two Cathedrals.