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

Malta 2020 Reunion update - HMS Urge

posted 18 Jan 2020, 02:32 by Pat Scott   [ updated 18 Jan 2020, 06:00 ]

In addition to our programme announced this week, we have been in communication with Francis Dickinson, the grandson of HMS Urge's captain Lieutenant-Commander E.P. Tomkinson, regarding a possible memorial ceremony to commemorate HMS Urge as an official war grave, which will hopefully take place towards the end of our reunion visit this year.

One of the aims of the George Cross Island Association is "To honour the People of Malta, and those who fought on their behalf", another is "To facilitate the exchange of memories" and of course we encourage and promote the upholding of Maltese history, particularly from a military perspective during WWII. So with this in mind, I think we would all find the plight of HMS Urge of great interest and also wish to pay our respects to the families of her at this very poignant time.

On the 27th April 1942 HMS Urge, a U-class submarine, left Malta for Alexandria with 32 crew, 11 other naval personnel and a British war reporter aboard. She was declared missing after failing to reach her destination 10 days later. It was not known what had happened to HMS Urge until a discovery was made in the summer of 2019

The discovery came after Francis Dickinson approached the University of Malta who, through Professor Timmy Gambin, carried out exceptional work on the discovery of HMS Urge. Mr Dickinson together with Mr.Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada, whose work was essential to the discovery, were both part of the search team. Through their research on HMS Urge, they requested that the marine archaeology survey team search an area that had been heavily mined during the Nazi's two-and-a-half year siege of the island. A sonar image revealed a submarine-like shape at a depth of 130 metres. "The damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion ... indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast giving no chance to anybody to survive from this tragedy," said Professor Timothy Gambin. Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition. It is sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction that it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria". 

The Ministry of Defence said it recognised the wreck site "as the last resting place of HMS Urge and those who lost their lives in service of their country" and is declared as an official war grave. A ceremony is expected to be held in April, to commemorate HMS Urge and her crew.

An interesting fact is that In 1941 there was a national "warship week" which raised money to meet the costs of providing military machinery and vehicles for the war. Bridgend contributed about £300,000 to the fund and the town adopted the submarine HMS Urge along with two other warships.

Any members of the George Cross Island Association who would like to be kept informed about the ceremony, please do contact me at info@georgecrossisland.org.uk and I will also keep the web site updated with any information I receive regarding this.  You can also find a wealth of information about HMS Urge and the discovery off Malta on the internet using any search engine.



Malta Reunion 2020

posted 1 Sep 2019, 04:31 by Pat Scott

We are aware that once again we are going to clash with Easter, so we are trying to organise the programme to avoid members having unnecessary expense.  Provisionally, we are proposing that the Welcome Meeting will take place late afternoon/early evening on Tuesday 14th April (day after Easter Monday).  This will hopefully give people flexibility to get the best price possible for flights at that time.  We are expecting that the Siege Bell Ceremony will take place on the 15th although that is always subject to change depending on the circumstances, Malta branch will keep us appraised. We will be working towards fitting the programme of ceremonies and events from the 16th and concluding with Anzac Day on the 25th as usual.  If you are interested in coming to the Malta reunion and would like confirmation, please contact me by email on pat.scott@georgecrossisland.org.uk or by post via the National Chairman: Ray Wrigglesworth 16, Bloxworth Road, Poole, Dorset, BH12 4BW. Tel:01202 779321.  A draft programme will be issued in the December members newsletter and will also be published here on the web site.

National AGM

posted 1 Sep 2019, 04:28 by Pat Scott

Please be advised that if you have any Agenda items for the National AGM taking place at 10:30 on the 5th October at the Royal Maritime Club Hotel in Portsmouth, you will need to get them to me at least 3 weeks ahead of this date.  You can send them to me via email on pat.scott@georgecrossisland.org.uk or by post via the National Chairman: Ray Wrigglesworth 16, Bloxworth Road, Poole, Dorset, BH12 4BW. Tel:01202 779321.  Please include your name and membership number as the proposer, along with the name and membership number of your seconder.

MALTA REUNION 2019

posted 14 Nov 2018, 06:08 by Pat Scott


The Malta reunion 2019 will take place from the 12th to the 26th April and our base will be the Preluna hotel, Sliema.  It does coincide with Easter ( second weekend).  See the Events page for more details. 

2018 National AGM Report

posted 28 Oct 2018, 06:28 by Pat Scott   [ updated 28 Oct 2018, 11:15 ]

The National Annual General Meeting took place on 20th October 2018 at the Union Jack Club.
Meeting opened at 11:00 with Prayers, Exhortation and Silent Tribute.  The Chairman then welcomed those attending. The Minutes of the 2017 AGM were accepted as a true record by those present and attended on 7th October 2017.  Proposed Pat Scott; Seconded Alex Saint. Agreed unanimously.

Reports from the National Chair and Hon Secretary were read out including a message from our Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The National Treasurer announced that the TSB UK Account balance to carry forward is £7,702.81.  The Malta HSBC Reunion account balance to carry forward of 467.25. The accounts had examined and agreed by Examiners Julia Gaw and Alex Saint.

The National Secretary read out the names of those willing to stand for election and the following were elected:
National Chairman: Ray Wrigglesworth; Hon Secretary: Pat Scott. Hon Treasurer: Alex Saint. These were all agreed unanimously. Auditors elected were Julia Gaw; Pat Scott and agreed unanimously.

It was agreed that as the National Accounts are in a healthy state there would be no increase in the branch levy.

The Appointment of Annual Malta Reunion Organisers were:
Organiser: Pat Scott; Assistant Organisers: Alex Saint, Barry Wenman and were agreed unanimously. The Malta Reunion will take place on the 12th to 26th April.There was discussion on the disappointment several members had with the Preluna this year, and Pat will investigate alternatives.  However, the costs of other comparable hotels is considerably higher. The costs will be published on this web site shortly.

National AGM 2019 will be hosted by West Branch; West Branch Secretary reported it will be held again at the Royal Maritime Club, Portsmouth.  The date to be finalised but likely to be early October 2019.

West branch proposed there should be an introduction of postal/proxy voting for National AGMs.  This is due to the advancing age of some members and the difficulty and cost associated with travel, it was put forward that voting should also be allowed via email and was agreed unanimously. This will require an amendment to the constitution.

West Branch proposed the ex officio office National President for Mrs Julia Gaw, if she is no longer standing as Association Chairman, this position should be awarded to her in recognition of her years of service and hard work. Agreed unanimously. This will require an amendment to the constitution.

West Branch also proposed that if Mr Michael Gaw is no longer standing as Hon Secretary, he should be awarded Honorary membership in recognition of his years of service and hard work, this was agreed unanimously.

Under Any Other Business Sue Hudson mentioned that she would like to have permission to add updates to the Facebook page that come from the web site that she manages on the Malta War Diary. Is was agreed that this was perfectly acceptable. 

The Chairman closed the Meeting at 12:15 at which point Mr Michael Gaw congratulated the appointments of the Principle Officers and wished them success in their new appointments.

The Chairman thanked those present, and for their input on all the agenda items and for their continued support of the George Cross Island Association.

Message from the Association President

posted 5 Apr 2018, 23:52 by Pat Scott   [ updated 5 Apr 2018, 23:55 ]

Click the Association President tab of this site to read the latest message from Judge Joseph Galea Debono, the George Cross Island Association President:

West Branch Wreath Laying ceremony

posted 11 Mar 2018, 08:29 by Pat Scott

This last Saturday, 10th March, the West branch Chairman, Vice Chairman, Standard Bearer, Treasurer and family held a small wreath laying ceremony to honour the Pedestal veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Rev Everton Macleod kindly officiated to who we give our thanks. See UK branches page for photos.

Events 2018

posted 28 Jan 2018, 07:08 by Pat Scott

The Events page has been updated - please do take a look and put relevant dates into your diaries.

Are you 17? The heroes with grimy faces

posted 14 May 2017, 11:45 by Pat Scott

Before joining the Royal Navy and sailing to Malta, Alan Sandall, our West branch “veteran”, served as a volunteer youngster in the war-time fire service. When he joined at 14, like so many others, it was the AFS, the Auxiliary Fire Service. Then, facing such odds from enemy bombing, the Government forced a National Fire Service, the NFS.

Lucky to live, he wrote an 87 thousand word book telling the story of these men and women whom Winston Churchill called, “The heroes with grimy faces.” Vividly it tells the story from 1938, when men volunteered in case of war, through to the end. All are true incidents, giving a taste of the horrors and hardships.

More than a thousand fire-fighters, including 25 women, lost their lives. Just like the GCIA there is a memorial in London. Close by St Paul’s Cathedral is an eight-foot high bronze sculpture, to remember their heroism. 

Because of the renewed interest in those days, and people keep asking for copies of his book, he has arranged a further reprint. The title is,  Are You 17?  Copies cost £9.50

If GCIA members would like a copy , send a tenner and he will pay the rest of the postage and give £2 for each copy sold to GCIA funds. Alan Sandall, Sherwill, 13 Styles Avenue, Frome, Somerset, BA11 5JN.

(Please respect Alan's privacy and only contact him with regard to this publication, many thanks)

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