- Name: Island of Malta
- Award: George Cross
- Occupation at time of action: N.A
On 15th April 1942, King George wrote to Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie, Governor of Malta: “To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in History”. With its strategic position in the Mediterranean – only 58 miles from Sicily and 178 miles from Tunisia – Malta immediately became vulnerable to attack when Italy declared war on the Allies on 10th June 1940. The first Italian air raid took place the following day. The island’s importance was increased by the fighting in North Africa. At the hands of the Luftwaffe and the Italians, it rapidly acquired the unenviable distinction of becoming one of the most heavily bombed places on earth. Supply ships had the greatest difficulty reaching it and by Spring 1942 it had only a month’s stock of grain left. An invasion of the island by the Axis powers, Operation Hercules, was also being planned. After the Great War, Dunkirk had been awarded the DSC and Verdun and Ypres the MC. In fact, April and May 1942 were to be Malta’s most difficult months. After that, the tide of the war was eventually to turn against the Axis powers and the island suffered its last air raid in July 1943. The investiture took place on 13th September 1942 and the GC was presented to the People of Malta by Lord Gort VC, Sir William Dobbie’s successor as Governor, in a ceremony on the Palace Square, Valletta, Malta.
The Island of Malta GC tends to be represented within the Association by The High Commissioner of Malta GC in London, at present H.E. Norman HAMILTON