“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.” This was the message, dated 15th April 1942, sent to Sir William Dobbie, Governor of Malta, by King George VI. As the Governor himself pointed out that same evening in an address to the nation, this was the first time that an honour of this kind had been bestowed by a British Sovereign on a community.
To mark the 80th anniversary since the award of the George Cross to Malta, Heritage Malta has prepared a day of exciting activities at Fort St Elmo and the National War Museum on Sunday 24th April. Coupled with reduced admission fees, the attractions include curatorial guided tours, re-enactments, an exhibition of military vehicles and, weather permitting, a short aerial display by a vintage De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane.
The curator of the National War Museum will be giving two talks about the recently-opened War Memorial – the first one at 10.00am and the second at 3.00pm. He will also lead a guided tour of the sections dedicated to World War II in the museum, starting at 2.00pm. Another guided tour, led by Fort St Elmo’s curator, will focus on Fort St Elmo during the British Period and will start at 11.00am.
The aerial display, coordinated by the Malta Aviation Museum, may be enjoyed between 1.45 and 2.00pm, when the De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane will be flown over Fort St Elmo. Throughout the day there will be several re-enactments by the Battlefront Living History Group, including a full-scale bomb disposal scenario, drills and weapons demonstrations. These will complement an exhibition of military vehicles in collaboration with the Military Vehicles Collectors Club Malta. Refreshments will be available for purchase at Fort St Elmo’s Piazza d’Armi.
The fort (which will also be housing an exhibition about Anne Frank) will be open from 9.00am till 5.00pm, with the last admission at 4.30pm. Tickets will only be available at the door. Reduced prices are as follows: Adults, seniors and students pay €5. Children under 12 and Heritage Malta members will be admitted free of charge. Heritage Malta passports will not be accepted for this event.