Commemoration of the George Cross Award and Santa Marija Convoy at the National War Museum

Heritage Malta will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of the awarding of the George Cross and the Santa Marija Convoy during an event free of charge on 13th September at the National War Museum within Fort St Elmo. These two historical events are well explained at the National War Museum since two halls of the museum are dedicated solely to World War II.

The public award ceremony of the George Cross was held on 13th September 1942 at St George’s Square in Valletta after the arrival of Operation Pedestal. The George Cross was awarded to the Maltese people with a message from King George VI. A replica of the King’s message is exhibited along the George Cross and reads: ‘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’.

In a hall next to the George Cross there is a good explanation of Operation Pedestal. This convoy was launched in August 1942 as the island was on the brink of capitulation. The convoy was under constant attack from air and sea and only four merchant ships and the badly damaged tanker, SS Ohio, entered the Grand Harbour. As the arrival of the last ships of the convoy coincided with the feast of the Assumption, the convoy is also known as the Convoy of Santa Marija.

These two historical events acknowledge the bravery and tenacity of the Maltese people during the war. These events and other war related episodes will be explained during guided tours of the World War II section of the National War Museum, including the upper section of the Cavalier, which is not usually open for the general public. Apart from the historical aspect of the Cavalier from the Knights of Malta till World War II, this part of the fort offers breathtaking views over the Grand Harbour and the Marsamxett Harbour.

Archival documents and photographs related to World War II period will also be on display for public viewing. Heritage Malta is inviting the public to come forward with stories, memories and images related to Malta during the war period.

The event starts at 18.00hrs till 22.00hrs and will be free of charge. Entrance will be from the main gate on the granaries and this event offers an opportunity to the general public to visit and admire the fort by night.

 

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