News

Malta Reunion 2016 - see page for pictures and text.  Veterans visit to St Martin's College

BFPS - 80th Anniversary of the Award of the George Cross

posted 13 Mar 2022, 03:56 by Pat Scott   [ updated 13 Mar 2022, 03:59 ]



Update to Malta Reunion Programme

posted 5 Feb 2022, 09:27 by Pat Scott

There is exciting news - please click on the Malta 2022 to see what is happening !

Friends of Millbank

posted 30 Jan 2022, 06:07 by Pat Scott

On Friday 25th February there is a Zoom talk - Recognition for Nurses - A History of the Royal Red Cross award
Simon Davies et al.  Click this link to register - https://www.friendsofmillbank.org/programme/

Friends of Valletta, upcoming event

posted 30 Jan 2022, 06:02 by Pat Scott

The Friends of Valletta warmly invite everyone to attend a zoom talk at 7pm (8pm Malta time),Tuesday 15th February 2022 on The Malta Buses - ​a talk by Richard Stedall​.
Go to this link for full details - https://friendsofvalletta.weebly.com/forthcoming-events.html

New Operation Pedestal Publication by Max Hastings

posted 12 May 2021, 06:37 by Pat Scott

In August 1942, beleaguered Malta was within weeks of surrender to the Axis, because its 300,000 people could no longer be fed. Churchill made a personal decision that at all costs, the ‘island fortress’ must be saved. This was not merely a matter of strategy, but of national prestige, when Britain’s fortunes and morale had fallen to their lowest ebb.

The largest fleet the Royal Navy committed to any operation of the western war was assembled to escort fourteen fast merchantmen across a thousand of miles of sea defended by six hundred German and Italian aircraft, together with packs of U-boats and torpedo craft. The Mediterranean battles that ensued between 11 and 15 August were the most brutal of Britain’s war at sea, embracing four aircraft-carriers, two battleships, seven cruisers, scores of destroyers and smaller craft. The losses were appalling: defeat seemed to beckon.

This is the saga Max Hastings unfolds in his first full length narrative of the Royal Navy, which he believes was the most successful of Britain’s wartime services. As always, he blends the ‘big picture’ of statesmen and admirals with human stories of German U-boat men, Italian torpedo-plane crews, Hurricane pilots, destroyer and merchant-ship captains, ordinary but extraordinary seamen.

Operation Pedestal describes catastrophic ship sinkings, including that of the aircraft-carrier Eagle, together with struggles to rescue survivors and salvage stricken ships. Most moving of all is the story of the tanker Ohio, indispensable to Malta’s survival, victim of countless Axis attacks. In the last days of the battle, the ravaged hulk was kept under way only by two destroyers, lashed to her sides. Max Hastings describes this as one of the most extraordinary tales he has ever recounted. Until the very last hours, no participant on either side could tell what would be the outcome of an epic of wartime suspense and courage.

Also, here is a link to Max Hastings talking about the book:   https://www.dropbox.com/s/lzkqcl317e665j0/OperationPedestal_TRAILER.mp4?dl=0

Cancellation of Siege Bell Ceremony

posted 7 Apr 2021, 00:57 by Pat Scott

The Malta Branch Chairman, Peter Robinson, has informed us of the following:
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 Malta Branch 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. 

Malta Reunion 2021

posted 5 Feb 2021, 01:44 by Pat Scott

It is with great regret that I have to advise you that the 2021 Malta Reunion will not be going ahead.  The situation with Covid 19 has not improved and even though the vaccine is being rolled out it will be some time before it affects the rate of infection, we do not believe that it will not be safe to travel by April.  It is possible that if the situation improves perhaps we might organise something for later in the year.

Peter Robinson, the Malta Branch Chairman, has said that he has not made a decision yet on whether the Siege Bell ceremony will be able to go ahead.  We hope very much that it can and wish Peter good luck.

Our Association President, Judge Joseph Galea Debono, sends us this message:

It is with great regret that I note that the Annual Reunion of the George Cross Island Association will not be held again this coming April because of the Covid19 situation worldwide which makes travel very problematic.
However I fully understand and appreciate the valid reasons why this decision has been taken by U.K. Branch.

It is my sincere hope that we can however meet again in April, 2022 to commemorate the 80th. Anniversary of the award of the George Cross to the Maltese Islands when I hope even the Authorities will participate in making this Anniversary an event to be remembered."

Regards,
Joe

HMS URGE: REMEMBRANCE ON APRIL 27th ANNIVERSARY

posted 26 Apr 2020, 05:16 by Pat Scott   [ updated 26 Apr 2020, 05:18 ]

Here is an update on the HMS Urge commemorations from Francis Dickinson of the HMS Urge Family Group

Dear HMS Urge family members and friends,

This is a short update ahead of tomorrow's anniversary of HMS Urge's last sailing from Malta in 1942, particularly for those who do not have access to the HMS Urge Facebook Page. Following postponement of the Malta commemorations due to Coronavirus, people have nevertheless wanted to mark the anniversary, as follows:

1. Those who wish to will hold a 2 minute silence on April 27th at 11am, this will of course be on a remote basis given Coronavirus restrictions

2. The Mayor of the town of Bridgend in Wales which adopted Urge in 1941, Cllr.Alan Wathan, is playing a leading role in the 2 minute silence, and he and his team have done great work in highlighting the anniversary within the town.

Bridgend Town Council have a page on HMS Urge as follows: http://www.bridgendtowncouncil.gov.uk/hms-urge.aspx

The Town Council have issued a press release about the anniversary: http://www.bridgendtowncouncil.gov.uk/media/8357/BTC-Press-Release-HMS-Urge-44-Heroes-Remembered.pdf

Working with the Town Council, the Reverend Rachel Wheeler of Bridgend has recorded an excellent tribute to Urge released yesterday on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0aABWMxKCw

3. The Friends of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum have also kindly wished to mark the anniversary - there is an article on Urge and ship's company as follows: https://www.rnsubmusfriends.org.uk/remembering-hms-urge-on-27th-april/

4. HMS Urge is being remembered in Malta also. St.Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valletta is remembering Urge today and many others lead by the University of Malta and Heritage Malta will be tomorrow.

Whilst it is sad that we are not in Malta for the Commemoration, many people across the world will still be remembering HMS Urge today and tomorrow pending the rearrangement of the Commemoration. Best wishes for everyone's health meanwhile.

Yours,

Francis

G . C . Medal Anniversary 1943 - 2020

posted 16 Apr 2020, 01:52 by Pat Scott

Yesterday many of us would have gathered at the Siege Bell for the commemorative service of the award of the George Cross to the brave people of Malta.  This service has been observed since the inauguration of the Siege Bell in 1992.Despite not being able to travel to Malta, members did not forget the significance of this day and sent emails and photos of how they each marked it - including flying the Malta flag from their home.  Also I include a photo of one the oldest UK Pedestal Veterans, Victor Coombes (RN). Vic got himself up anddressed into his regalia so that he could mark the occasion in a fitting and appropriate manner.  At 99years of age, this was no mean feat - particularly the tying of his Association tie with fingers that don't work quite so well as they used to.  Well done, Vic and thank you from us all.  I shall be including more photos from members in our next Association newsletter.

Malta Reunion 2020 - Cancelled

posted 15 Mar 2020, 02:40 by Pat Scott

It is with great regret that I have to advise that the George Cross Island reunion in Malta for 2020 is cancelled.  This step has been taken based on the Government of Malta imposing a 14 day quarantine for ALL arrivals from ALL countries. But as well as this quarantine period making it impossible for us to go ahead, we should be thinking of our health and that of our loved ones.  By staying well, we can hopefully enjoy a reunion in our beloved Malta in 2021.

All branch meetings are also cancelled and further events will be postponed until Covid 19 has been controlled.

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