Association President


This is the translation from Maltese into English of the address that our President gave on Friday 13th April, 2018 at the commemoration of the award of the George Cross to the people of Malta in St. George's Square, Valletta. 

If over 500 books have been written about the second great siege of Malta, it is obvious that Malta's contribution to the defeat of Nazism and Fascism could not have been an insignificant one.  Hundreds of historians, Malta defenders, Maltese veterans and civilians have created a vast literature about what these Island have undergone between the 11th June 1940 and 10th July 1943.

In a broadcast to the garrison and people of Malta on 17th December, 1941, Air Vice-Marshall Lloyd had predicted: "We are on the eve of even greater events, in which Malta will play an even greater part in the defeat of the enemy" and "The full story is yet to be told.  When it is told it will amaze people". 

Indeed the greater events predicted took a turn for the worse with the incessant aerial bombing campaign unleashed against the Island in the first five months of 1942, which almost brought the Island to its knees.

In April 1942 - the worst period of the siege - it was King George VI who felt the need to give due recognition to the supreme sacrifice of the Maltese people with his timely award of the George Cross Medal to the whole Maltese nation, an unprecedented award which was broadcast to the free world.

And yet, how many of our younger generation can give an adequate and articulate explanation why our red and white flag carries a small silver cross outlined in red in its top left quarter ?  How many of our youths and under fifties are aware of the great suffering endured by their parents, grand-parents and great grand-parents during those three years.

I dread to answer that question.

A nation that is not fully aware of its past can only repeat past errors in the future.  In plainer language he who does not know where he is coming from, does not know where he is going.

It is on occasions like this evening's that the national conscience of its glorious past should be stirred from indifference and collective amnesia.

For this we are indebted to the Malta Tourism Authority which for many years now has not allowed this dramatic and tragic experience of 76 years ago to be buried in oblivion and for this we should be thankful to them.

Joseph Galea Debono.

Photograph by John Navarro