Malta was a British colony when the Second World War started.
Anyway, I hope I have given you enough information for you to
through my project on The Second World War in Malta.
In January 1941, the Luftwaffe (the German air force) came to Malta from Sicily and then in November they started using Stukas (dive bombers). In order to win the air battle, Malta needed Spitfires. Forty-seven had flown in on April 20th but they were monitored on radar and bombed as soon as they landed. In what became known as the “glorious 10th of May,” sixty-three German aircraft were damaged or destroyed.
My grandpapa was in the Royal Malta Artillery (light anti-aircraft) in a mobile Bofors gun battery.
The devout Maltese Catholics, were convinced Malta wouldn’t fall down. In 1942 a bomb fell right down through the roof of Mosta church. This was one of the biggest churches and there were hundreds of people in it. No one was killed and this was considered as a miracle. A replica bomb is now in the church.
The next page shows my impression of what it was like for a German plane to through bombs on Maltese houses. Houses in Malta have got flat roofs and do not usually have chimneys.
“The food was scarce and it was bought with ration cards
People used to exchange the vouchers, for example if one has vouchers
cigarettes and they are of no use to them, they would exchange them for
food… or else get food on the black market”
2) Did you ever see any German aeroplanes?
Yes, a lot. In fact, I liked watching them flying past!
3) Did you ever see any German or Italian prisoners of war?
I have got a photo frame, which a German prisoner made although I have never actually seen a prisoner.
4) Did you have any particular job to do during the Second
No, I was only 15 but I helped a lot around the house.
5) When were you most scared?
I can’t really answer that. I was scared many times.
6) Did you celebrate Victory day?
Yes, I did. It was a happy celebration.
7) Did you ever see the George Cross?
They took it round all the villages but I never saw it myself.
My grandfather’s family was very involved in this. He was serving with the anti–aircraft guns of the Royal Malta Artillery whose job it was to defend the ship from the enemy dive–bombers. His brother worked in the dockyard and was one of the people working very hard to repair the ship. His father (my great grandfather who was called Giuseppe Agius) was responsible for fuelling operations. The photo shows some of the war medals he got.
The ships like the Illustrious were tied next to the “three cities” such as Vittoriosa (Birgu) where my grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather lived. The women and girls of the family had to be evacuated to the countryside because of the very heavy bombing. A photo shows how close to the sea the houses and churches were. Many ships were alongside and they were targets for the enemy planes.
A lot of sailors would have preferred a job in a submarine because they could get away from the bombing and I can see why too. In July 1941, submarines had an important job to do, which was importing things to other places. Alone, the submarines had to take 160 gallons of fuel, 30 tons of stores and 6 tons of food and so with all the bombing about I imagine this would have been a very hard job!
Around the middle of 1942, the situation at Malta was very bad. The commanders of Malta thought they would have to surrender to the Germans unless they got more supplies. A big convoy of ships, escorted by destroyers and other warships left Gibraltar for Malta. It was officially called Operation Pedestal. They were heavily attacked by enemy aeroplanes and submarines. The enemy sank most of the supply ships in the convoy, but a few managed to get to the harbour in Malta with food, ammunition, fuel and other supplies. This was enough to save the island from defeat.
Because the convoy reached harbour around the feast of Assumption (the feast of when Holy Mary went to heaven) the convoy became called “The Santa Maria Convoy.” The people thought this was a miracle, and so do I!
To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.
The George Cross is made of silver and is shaped as a cross. In the centre is a circle with St George riding his horse to find the dragon. Round the circle the words For Gallantry are said. The back of the George Cross, engraved it says “To the Island of Malta, 15 April 1942”
The George Cross was taken round all the towns and villages of Malta and so everyone got a chance to see it. I think this was a good thing and that all the Maltese people deserved it.
Until this week Malta used to be the only place where they shared the George Cross. Because of everything happening in Ireland at the moment the police force have been given it for working so hard.