2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, 1914 - 1918. To commemorate this momentous milestone in world history the Gibraltar National Archives H.M.Government of Gibraltar has put together a collection taken from our war archives.

In 1914, Gibraltar was one of the smallest colonies in the British Empire, with an area of just under 2 square miles and a population of around 18,000. Gibraltar was nevertheless very important due to its strategic location commanding the entrance to the Mediterranean.

Gibraltar harbour was a vital base for the Royal Navy and later the United States Navy. In addition the Port of Gibraltar was a focal point for maritime trade coming from the Mediterranean and South Atlantic. Geographically nevertheless, Gibraltar was isolated from the war, being a peninsula only bordering neutral Spain. However, from 1915 German U-boats operated in the waters off Gibraltar.

Open Collection

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

Excerpt taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling
"Hurrah! For The Life Of A Soldier" Tommy, 1892