The Siege of Malta (1940 to 1943)
the Allied forces during the Siege of Malta resulted in a special comradeship and bond.
The conditions experienced by the people of Malta and also of the men and women of
During February to June 1942,the Malta Convoys suffered terrible losses in ships and men with only 2 out of 24 Merchant Vessels arriving and their cargo successfully unloaded.(click this link to read of a first hand experience of a survivor from HMS Eagle, Harry Kempshall)
The bombing was almost non-stop -during the months 1st January 1942 to 24th July 1942 there was only ONE period of 24 hours without bombs falling. Malta endured 154 continuous day and night bombings.
The population were forced to live in tunnels and caves- because of the dreadful living conditions they suffered diseases such as stomach disorders, Rickets, Scurvy, eye disesases, T.B., dysentry. One of our members was a child living during these times, click here to read her moving story - Vivien Reck Lomax
Typhoid reached epidemic proportions in the summer of 1942 with the convoys unable to get through, drugs and medication were scarce.
The Siege was finally broken by the arrival in August 1942 of a convoy of 14 Merchant Navy Shops escorted by the largest and most powerful escort the British fleet ever assembled for this purpose. Only 5 of these Merchant Navy vessels eventually arrived in Grand Harbour, Malta; the most famous of which was the tanker "Ohio" which was towed into Grand Harbour by 3 warships, protected by fighter aircraft based on the island and the garrison's AA guns.
The people of Malta never gave up, and on April 15th 1942, King George VI honoured their bravery with the highest honour possible - THE AWARD OF THE GEORGE CROSS to the Island of Malta.
Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in Malta, Field Marshal John Gort, VC, presents the George Cross to Sir George Borg, the Maltese Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal, who received it on behalf of the people of Malta in the ruins of Palace Square, Valletta, in September 1942.