For most of its 300 years as a British possession, the military importance of Gibraltar overshadowed all other considerations. During the Second World War, the Allies possessed not a single spot of ground in all the region of western Europe, except for the Gibraltar fortress, as General Eisenhower noted in his memoirs. Gibraltar was the key to the Mediterranean. 
Gibraltar was an intelligence nightmare, a web of intrigue, with German agents spying relentlessly on every move that was made on the Rock, through powerful telescopes from luxury villas in Algeciras, some of which are still there today. The Reina Cristina Hotel in Algeciras was a centre of espionage. The area was dubbed Spy Row.   MORE IN PANORAMA PRINT EDITION   25-11-2020 PANORAMAdailyGIBRALTAR Overseas territories ‘much-cherished’ part of the British family, says UK minister