Association President


For the first time after some three decades our members will not be gathering at the foot of the Siege Bell Memorial in Valletta on the 15th. April. The sad decision to cancel this commemoration by the National Committee of the George Cross Island Association and the Malta G.C. Branch was not an easy one to take both in view of the then doubtful outcome of developments, which were changing day by day and because our members attending the annual reunion had already committed themselves with forward bookings of air transport and accommodation for the two weeks they were to spend in the George Cross Island. Yet it was shouldered very boldly by the National Secretary Pat Scott and by the committee of Malta Branch.

More recent developments fully justified the taking of this decision when it was taken with the now ban on all incoming air and sea traffic of non-resident passengers to these Islands and the strong recommendation of the Maltese health authorities that gatherings of people are to be avoided to stem the further spread of this latter day plague.

It was a sad decision to take as it meant the cancellation of a very interesting programme of events which had been planned months in advance and which would have made this year’s reunion one to remember.

But, most of all, it was sad because it meant the cancellation of a remembrance of the heroism displayed by the fighting services British, Commonwealth and Maltese and the stoicism of every civilian man, woman and child in bearing the brunt of the hardships they suffered for thirty months between June 1940 and November 1942.

We are facing what may be considered to be a “siege” of a different and more ominous nature; where the enemy seems to be everywhere but yet unseen, unpredictable and unavoidable. Senior citizens are locked in their houses not for an hour or two, until “Raiders Passed” is sounded but for what could be an indefinite period, depriving them of their life’s  fulfilment in their last years. Health workers are facing the prospect of being overwhelmed in their efforts to provide care and attention to all potential patients and millions of ordinary citizens whose grandparents, during World War II were all actively engaged in the war effort, are facing the dire prospect of mass unemployment.

The rallying cry is to hope for better times, though when these will come about, if they do for all of us, we have no certainty. We can only trust in the mercy of God Almighty and perhaps hark back to the spirit shown by our forebears in the dark days of the Battle of Britain and of Malta 1942.

 A ray of hope was epitomised in one of Malta’s prehistorical temples on the occasion of the Spring Equinox this year when the first rays of the sun, as they have done for the past 7000 years, lit up the main altar at Mnajdra. It announced the beginning of Spring but many on this island, watching its live streaming by Heritage Malta, were want to look at it as heralding better times.

May that be so!

Joseph Galea Debono.