All Hallows 2018

The service and wreath laying ceremony took place on Saturday 11th August 2018.  It was attended by 66 members including those from the Malta Culture Movement and the MNA.

  
  


The service was officiated by the Rev. Preb. Jeremy Crossley and Fr Victor Camilleri and our honoured guests were The new H.C. for Malta in London, His Excellency Mr Joseph Cole who was accompanied by his deputy Ms Chantal Sciberras.

The service commenced with the opening hymn at which time the colours were laid on the altar together with the book of remembrance. The GCIA prayer was read by Jack McNulty, and the reading was read by Alan Sandall, The welcome by the Lady National Chairman included a special welcome to the new High Commissioner for Malta in London, His Excellency Mr Joseph Cole and his Deputy Ms Chantal Scheberras.  A letter received from our Patron HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was read as follows:
Dear Mrs Gaw
The Duke of Edinburgh has asked me to thank you for your letter enclosing loyal greetings to HM The Queen and his Royal Highness.  I now have pleasure in sending Prince Phillips reply.  

I very much appreciated the kind message from everyone attending the 13th anniversary of the re-dedication of the Malta Siege Memorial at All Hallows Church by the Tower of London on Saturday 11th August .  I hope you will enjoy a successful and memorable occasion. 
Philip our patron

ADDRESS BY HE MR JOSEPH COLE

Friends of Malta
It is indeed an honour to address this special gathering today – just 10 days after I have been called to serve my country in the United Kingdom as High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s – on the 76th anniversary of Operation Pedestal, as we all bear witness to the everlasting wartime legacy uniquely experienced by Malta and the United Kingdom.
With respect and admiration, we remember our fellow Maltese countrymen and women whose fortitude was their best defence against sustained enemy raids and a naval blockade, which saw them nearly starved but never rendered into submission.

With esteem and recognition, we remember the Allied servicemen and women who lost their lives at sea, on land or in the air; and the fortunate survivors, some veterans with us today, in their dauntless resolution to defend Malta in the face of unrelenting attacks.

The Maltese people’s struggle was not disregarded. On 15th April 1942, in a message to the island’s Governor, King George VI declared: “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” to which Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie replied: “By God's help, Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won.”

And as the war ravaged on, undoubtedly it was the people’s ‘heroism’, ‘devotion’ and ‘endurance’ which kept Malta – ‘the unsinkable aircraft carrier’ (as Winston Churchill had referred to it) - afloat.

Heroism brimmed from fortifications and underground shelters to display remarkable bravery and daring gallantry. The Times of London correspondent writing from Malta in April 1942 said: “the Messerschmitts try to spread terror by machine-gunning over the land; but if their aim is to cow the population, they may as well give up the attempt”.

Devotion, not desperation, revealed, in the face of adversity, unyielding reverence for God Almighty to deliver salvation through the unfaltering commitment of the Allies and fellow Maltese.

Endurance was paramount to be able to bear one of the most intensively-bombed areas throughout the war. During the month when we were awarded the George Cross, twice as many bombs fell on Malta (particularly the inner harbour area where I was born and grew up) than in a whole year in London’s Blitz. The Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids over a period of 24 months in an effort to destroy Malta’s defences. 

On behalf of the Government and people of Malta, I would like to thank the founders and members, especially the President and National Lady Chairman, of the George Cross Island Association, for strengthening the distinctive friendship between the people of Malta and the United Kingdom and for upholding this legacy through remembrance and commemoration. 

Thank you. Grazzi.

Following the service and the retrieving of the colours and book of remembrance the congregation moved outside to the Malta Siege Memorial for the wreath laying ceremony. Wreaths were laid as follows under the direction of Mrs Jill Cooper:- 

For the Service Personal who gave their lives during the Siege of Malta and since and, for the People of Malta:- National Lady Chairman Julia Gaw.

For the Civilian population of the Island Fortress of Malta The HC for Malta Mr Joseph Cole.

For Royal Navy Jack McNulty.
For RAF Graham Cooper ASR.
For Army Dougie Parker.
For the Merchant Navy Ron Quested.

The colours were carried by Michael Gaw (SE Branch) Barry Wenman (West Branch) and Tony Downley (Merchant Navy)

Following the Exhortation by Jack McNulty, the playing of the last post and reveille, the Maltese and the British National Anthems were played bringing the ceremony to a close, those who were attending the lunch at the Union Jack Club were taxied there with the compliments of the London Taxi Drivers Benevolent Association for War Disabled arranged and organised by their Secretary Paul Davis assisted by Gill Davis and Derek Leone and Brenda Leone for whom we are most grateful. The lunch at the Union Jack was excellent and enjoyed by all.  It was sad that this year that Alec Braybrooke was unable to attend due to illness and we wish him well.

Votes of thanks were given to Julia and her committee by Ron Quested (MNA) for organising such a harmonious and enjoyable day.

We would like to thank Diane Dyer for all her hard work for not only making the day a success but for everything she does for the Association throughout the year.

A collection was taken for the London Taxi Drivers Association which raised £167.01p and a big thank you to all those that contributed to this worthwhile charity.

The members make the association so many thanks to you all for supporting this event.

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