Association President

THE MESSAGE OF THE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT JUDGE JOSEPH GALEA DEBONO.

WELCOME TO THE 2018 REUNION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE GEORGE CROSS ISLAND ASSOCIATION

In a few days-time, I shall be welcoming back to Malta an albeit ever-dwindling number of members of our Association who still have the strength and vigour to travel to this little island in the heart of the Mediterranean and commemorate one of the turning points in world history.

Seventy-six years ago at this time of day, if anyone had to look up to Malta's spring blue skies, he would probably have seen a flock of small locust-like, black objects dotting the far horizon in the North. It was the time of the late afternoon raid by hordes of JU 88s, JU87s bombers and their escorting Me109 fighters providing top cover and close escort at different heights.

Before this third air raid of the day would arrive closer to Malta's Shores to be met by the anti-aircraft fire of the Royal Artillery and the Royal Malta Artillery, one would distinguish in the distance a faint drone of the aircraft engines of a handful of clapped-out Hurricane Is and IIs and two or three of the recently arrived Spitfire Vc s desperately groping for height to meet the Luftwaffe hordes, very often with odds of 10 to 1 heavily against them.

Starving mothers and children would be running to communal shelters as the sirens wailed their mournful warning. Then an ominous silence would follow to be drowned only by the sound of the approaching raiders' air fleet.
Malta was literally on its last legs after two years of air raid alerts and a full four months of relentless and determined enemy bombing. The few Spitfires that had made it to Malta in March 1942 had practically been obliterated on the ground or shot down in flames. The March convoy had been a chimera as the four ships that composed it were all lost, two sunk in Malta's Grand Harbour and one just offshore. The food, ammunition, medicinal and general supply situation was getting desperate.

Something was badly needed to prop up the last remaining resource of the Maltese and their gallant defenders.
It came when it was most needed with an announcement from Buckingham Palace stating that King George VI had awarded the George Cross to the entire Maltese nation. The following day this announcement made the headlines in the two local newspapers and was echoed in the four corners of the free world. 
      
This recognition by the Monarch might not have fed the hungry or cured the wounded and the sick nor did it resupply the stocks of ammunition and fuel, but it was certainly a fillip to all and sundry on this isolated outpost of the free world.
 
We are meeting again this April to pay homage to our parents, grand parents and the few surviving veterans whose dogged resistance boosted by this singular honour, eventually won the day.

Welcome.


Joseph Galea Debono.
PRESIDENT,
GEORGE CROSS ISLAND ASSOCIATION. 


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