Malta Branch

1st April 2021

Dear Members & Friends,

I trust this finds you well.

In normal times I would be writing to invite you to attend the George Cross Island Association Malta G.C. Branch annual service and wreath laying ceremony at the Siege Bell Memorial on 15th April.

Unfortunately due to the ongoing pandemic and, so as not to compromise anyone’s safety, we have once again had to take the painful decision to cancel the ceremony.

In order that another year does not go by without some recognition of the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives during the WWII siege of Malta and other conflicts we will remember them with a minutes silence at 11.00 am on the morning of 15th April during a Courtesy call to our Patron H.E. Dr. George Vella, President of Malta.

We would be honoured if you were able to pause in a minute of silent remembrance at 11.00 am on Thursday 15th April.

We hope that next year we will be able to meet at the Siege Bell to commemorate the 80th Anniversary.

We will Remember Them.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Robinson MBE

Chairman


Siege Bell Update

I have been in constant contact with the architect at Heritage Malta, who is responsible for the renovation of the Siege Bell, to ask about progress. The latest is below:

Hi Peter,
Through the analysis and studies which were carried out in the past months it was found that the structure, mainly the columns and their base have suffered considerable structural damage mainly due to the severe environmental conditions of the site itself. If you or your members visit the site, one can notice that several parts of the cladding around the columns have actually moved out due to the expansion of the corroded structural steel. Our structural engineer is looking at a solution aimed to consolidate the current structure without the need to reconstruct. This will be first tried and tested on one of the columns, before repeating the process on the rest. This would necessitate the removal of the coralline cladding. At the moment he is designing and writing up the project itself before we can start any procurement process. Unfortunately the Bell has to remain silent for quite some further time, until we ensure that all is safe and properly consolidated.
Sorry for the bad news.

Regards
Ruben

British High Commissioner

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to British High Commissioner, H.E. Stuart Gill OBE and his wife Maggie. Stuart was a great supporter of the armed forces veteran’s community and will be very much missed by one and all.
Stuart is retiring from the Diplomatic Service. Due to Covid restrictions Mary and I were only able to wish them well in their new life during a phone call.

From the Malta branch Facebook page follows:

New British High Commissioner to take up her Post in September

A  somewhat sad goodbye to Mr Stuart Gill OBE and his dear wife Maggie, in return a big welcome to Ms Cathy Ward OBE. I am sure very quickly Ma'am you would feel at home. The George Cross Island Malta Branch look forward to welcoming you. 
Mr Gill was a big supporter of The George Cross Island Malta Branch. I am sure he would acknowledge the respect and friendliness he always received during his time on our George Cross Island of Malta.

Remembrance ceremony in Malta - 2020

John C Navarro George Cross Island Association - Malta Branch 

Members of the Malta Branch of the George Cross Island Association played a part in Remembrance Sunday and Armistice day events despite the much reduced numbers allowed to participate, due to pandemic restrictions.  Branch Chairman Peter Robinson MBE and member Charles Taliana read the lessons in the service at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. 


At the wreath laying ceremony which followed the church service both the Chairman and his wife Mary were involved representing the Royal British Legion and Poppy Appeal but  wearing GCIA face masks to ensure the Association made itself known. Members Liam Barlow and Steve McCarthy paraded the Branch Standard and RAF Standard respectively. Ray Demanuele acted as escort for the Standard.

At the Armistice Day Ceremony at the Saluting Battery the Standard was once again paraded by Liam Barlow. Canon Simon Godfrey conducted the short service and Peter Robinson recited the Exhortation and Kohima Epitaph. Mary Robinson laid a wreath for the Branch.
 


Written by Mr Peter Robinson MBE. 
Credit Vicky Naudi for 3 of the photographs.

There are many really informative and interesting articles on the GCIA Malta Branch facebook page and it is regularly updated by its dedicated editor, John Navarro, please do support it if you can and use the link below and click “like” as well as enjoying the articles.  

I really enjoy reading John’s posts and I am sure you would too.
https://www.facebook.com/gciamaltabranch/





August 15th, 2020 – Operation Pedestal/Santa Marija Convoy

Normally the Association commemorates this date in the UK with a ceremony at All Hallows by the Tower, but this year is had to be cancelled due to Covid 19, however, we all remembered the Pedestal veterans and the bravery of the people of Malta, in our own ways this year.

In Malta, there is normally a Santa Maria convoy remembrance,  and although this year one was held in Valletta overlooking Grand Harbour, on the evening of the 14th August, organised by the RNA, it was been scaled down to just a few people, the RNA committee with their standard along with the RBL standard, The Malta Re-enactment group, 2 priests the British High Commissioner, H.E. Mr Stuart Gill OBE and our Malta Branch Chairman Peter Robinson MBE and his wife Mary. Peter, respectful of the environment, cast a red and white posy into the waters rather than a non-biodegradable wreath.

 
 
 




Malta Branch 2017 AGM and lunch:




Armistice day in the morning - Remembrance at the Saluting Battery




Branch Chairman, Peter Robinson and his wife Mary attended the Santa Maria Convoy commemoration held on the 11th August, 2017 at the Seafarers monument:











Historical Reports on Malta Branch 2015/16 events - articles submitted by Malta branch.

Apostleship of the Sea

On the evening of 6th November, along with other service associations the Branch was invited by the Port Chaplain, Fr. Joe Borg,to participate in a service at ta’Liesse church to remember those who gave their lives during the two world wars, especially those who died during Operation Pedestal. A particular mention was made of Alan Shaw, the last
of the Ohio survivors who had passed away recently.
Guest of honour was Commander Mark Varner, R.N, who was representing the British High Commissioner. 
The Branch Chairman, Peter Robinson and his wife 
Mary attended with several members and the Chairman had the honour of delivering the Exhortation. Liam Barlow paraded the Branch Standard



Remembrance Day - 2019


As always the Branch participated in the Remembrance Day Service at St. John’s Cathedral and they wreath laying at the Floriana War Memorial.

The standard was paraded by Liam Barlow and the Branch Chairman, Peter Robinson, laid a wreath on behalf of the Branch. The weather on the day was perfect with not a spot of rain in sight.



Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Branch Chairman, Peter Robinson and his wife Mary, were very honoured to be invited to the welcome reception for Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family when they were in Malta for CHOGM. It was a memorable evening not only because of whom they met but because it was the last time it really rained this winter. Fortunately they were all enclosed in a large plastic tent in the garden of the San Anton Palace looking out at it all.

The following day the Committee had been invited to attend a wreath laying by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall and to parade the Standard at the Kalkara Naval Cemetery. However, in view of the inclement weather being forecast to continue it was decided to cancel and transfer to the British High Commissioner’s Residence where we were fed and watered and introduced to the Duchess who went out of her way to speak to everyone at some length



Pictorial past memories :

Fort St. Elmo Memorial
 













Her Excellency the President, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca at San Anton Palace. Her Excellency continues her patronage of the Branch




Our Patron sharing a joke with Vice Chairman Lino Camilleri MBE






Independence Day






















Malta branch combines a balance of official and social events as well as upholding the objectives of the George Cross Island Association.  They welcome new members who wish to share in keeping the history of Malta alive, particularly in the younger generation.

For more information about Malta Branch, complete a membership form from this site (Membership) or email Peter Robinson at gciamalta@melita.com
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