“To honour the 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 proclamation was issued by King George VI, on 15 April, 1942, to honour the people of Malta. The honour bestowed was a sign of appreciation by the British Monarchy for the bravery and tenacity that was being shown by the Maltese people during the darkest moments of the war.
The actual George Cross medal was brought over to Malta by Lord Viscount Gort, VC., who had just been appointed and sent to Malta as Governor and Commander-In-Chief. It was presented to the people of Malta during a ceremony that was held on 13 September in St George’s Square, Valletta. Chief Justice Sir George Borg received the medal on behalf of the Maltese nation.
On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary, the Malta Tourism Authority presented a commemorative celebration that recalled this historic episode.
The programme started with the marching in of the Armed Forces of Malta Band who carried the George Cross medal inside the President’s Palace and then presented a musical marching display. The Malta Police Band followed with their own marching display inside St George’s Square, Valletta. Then it was the turn of the Malta Police Silent Drill Squad. This was followed by a 15 minute film recounting the war time events that led to the George Cross award ceremony. Following on there was a staged musical programme featuring tunes from the Second World War period, performed by the Paul Abela Band in St George’s Square, Valletta.