• Contact Us

    [email protected]
    +356 2010 2000

    inlingua Malta
    9, Guze Fava Street
    Sliema SLM 1632
    Malta

    Opening Hours
    Monday to Friday 08:30 - 17:00
  • Testimonials

    [:en]I learned a lot, I only stayed for a week .. too short! The next time I will stay for 2 weeks. Friendly and inspiring teachers, interesting students. I loved/ enjoyed my short holiday in Malta and will definitely come back again to inlingua Malta.[:]

    - Elfi Geiger – Germany – November 2016

    [:en]I have really enjoyed my inlingua learning experience. My teacher is well prepared, the book is useful and my class mates are really nice. Now I hope I will pass the Cambridge Exam![:]

    - Beatrice – Italy – November 2016

    My holidays in Malta were very good and Inlingua School was the best part of it. I had a great class with sea view and air condition. So it was really comfortable to study. Special thanks to my teacher Fausto, because he is one of the best English teachers I've ever seen.

    - Oleg Volkov – Russia – October 2016

    It was really interesting. I want to go back and continue. Very good teacher and not a big school but enough rooms for everyone. Everything was good and well planned! Thank you very much!

    - Vladimir Acopov – Moldova – October 2016

    It was a fantastic experience, the school is great and Malta was beautiful. My teacher was very, very nice!

    - Aurelie Rechsteiner – Switzerland – October 2016

    I think it was a great experience for me. The teacher was nice and the people of the school too. I have learnt a lot so it was very good.

    - Corentin Vullioud – Switzerlad – October 2016

    My experience with Inlingua were very good! Also the teacher and the balance between grammar, reading and speaking and the balance between studying and free time in Malta is perfect!

    - Jean-Francois Vuilloud – Switzerland – October 2016

    Great School ! Our german teacher was super... And everybody was so helpful.

    - Christine Rechsteiner Vullioud – France – October 2016

    My experience with Inlingua was really satisfactorily. I attended the English course for personell advantage. I'm really happy here!

    - Nino Bregvadze – Germany – October 2016

    I had a great experience! Lessons with Vanessa were very good to learn grammar, she is very patient and afternoon lessons with Yvonne were a challange for me. I enjoyed to stay in Malta and I hope to come back soon.

    - Peter Mlynarcík – Slovak Republic – October 2016

    My experience in Malta was beautiful from day one as we felt as though we are at home immediately. My friends and I have made a lot of fun and exciting memories, which we will treasure for the rest of our lives. The English course was very helpful and I'm sure it will be of great help for my future job. The part I liked best of my holiday, was our visit to Golden Bay.

    - Elisa Antonino – Italy – Sept 2016

    My teacher was very friendly and interesting, she helped me improve my English considerably as we did a lot of conversation exercises in class.

    - Cecilia Carotenuto – Italy – Sept 2016

    inlingua Malta has helped me focus on some skills and improvements with my English. Found the lessons very interesting and engaging. I wish to be back soon.

    - Letizia Lastrucci – Italy – Sept 2016

    I loved this English language course, with inlingua Malta, because I believe that my English has improved a lot thanks to the speaking opportunities we had in class. I fell in love with Malta because of its beautiful places i visited and the people i met. I will definitely recommend inlingua Malta to my friends, and would like to thank my teacher Yvonne for such a great job.

    - Chiara Cirivello – Italy – Sept 2016

    My inlingua learning experience was interesting and helpful. I improved my English, I met many people from other countries and I made a lot of conversation.

    - Giada A. – Italy – Sept 2016

    I don't regret at all to have chosen Malta and inlingua indeed, as my learning English process. In the last 3 months i felt the inlingua team as a family, always happy and keen in helping me. One of the best experiences I have ever had.

    - Brenda T. – 28 yrs- Ecuador – 23 September 2016

    It was the best experience for me.  I really enjoyed my lessons a lot and i had lovely teachers. I got everything i wished for. Thank you very much indeed and wish inlingua the prosperity for your future.

    - Ekaterina V. – 26 yrs old – Russia – September 2016

    My experience made me understand that I still have a lot to learn. I learned a good number of new words, phrases and expressions. Learning in a mini group, with a maximum of 6 students, was ideal for me. Will have to come again.

    - Helga N.- Italy – September 2016

    I have been in Inlingua for about 24 weeks and I can say that it s an amazing experience. I'll never forget it because instead of improve my English I met a lot of beautiful people from different countries. Thank you Inlingua for everything

    - Ionela Bruiser – Romania – August 2016

    I am once again here at inlingua Malta to better my Business English. It has been, and always turns out to be a very fruitful and successful experience. This time I was accompanied by my 2 young daughters, they too had a lot of fun during their lessons and learnt a lot. In summary, it can be said that inlingua - both for professional as well as for private needs, is very good and i can highly recommend it.

    - Markus Bluemle – Germany – June 2016

    Very good experience. Employees are nice, teachers very professional. I recommend to come to inlingua Malta. If it's possible i will come again the next year.

    - Nicolas Delaporte – France – June 2016

    I have spent a great week and class was very interesting. Great atmosphere in class and school. Will surely come back.

    - Bryon Agnes – France – June 2016

      It has been a good experience because we have studied the basic things that we forgot, teachers were very nice and with the activities at school we have discovered this amazing country.

    - Emie & Baptistine – France – March 2016

    Very short experience but it was very amazing, really enjoyed the course and i will return next year.

    - Beatriz A. – Spain – March 2016

    Everything was fine. I had two weeks class and I appreciated my stay in Malta. The staff at inlingua are very professional, friendly and helped me for everything. I hope to come back for attending another class.

    - Luisi P.- France – March 2016

      It was amazing. I had a great time and the classes are awesome!  

    - David – Spain – Mar 2016

    I am so happy to have this experience, to learn English with a super teacher and great classmates. I will remember inlingua Malta forever. Thanks to all the staff.

    - Lily Carla – France – Feb 2016

    The school offers a great service and a great welcome. The staff is pretty helpful and friendly.

    - Benito & Giovanna – Italy – December 2015

    We like the school because the teachers are competent, the class sizes are small and we were put into the right classes. The school also offers a lot of after school activities. All staffs are very friendly and support us to organize our trips. I would definitely come again and also recommend this school to our friends.

    - Datong Xu – China – October 2015

    The best teachers ever!!! It's my 7th time here with inlingua Malta.        

    - Kate Solomeina – Russia – June 2015

    Very good teachers and atmosphere in class.

    - Emilija Lauraitytė – Lithuania – May 2015

    Had a great experience at inlingua Malta due to its teaching method and lovely teachers i met.

    - Rita M. – Italy – May 2015

    I really liked the staff at school and the hospitality they had from the first day. Thank you inlingua Malta.

    - Katia M. – Italy – May 2015

    It was a very interesting and interactive course of English, because I got to speak with  a lot of different people and my level of the language has improved.

    - Nunzia – Italy – March 2015

    It was a great experience for me to be at this school. I learend much about grammar. In the afternoon I did communication in a class with less students. The great benefit was that the students came from several different countries. So I could improved my English very well!

    - Ute – Germany – March 2015

    Everybody are friendly and so kind!! My teacher is excellent , and her pronunciation is very British! Malta is so beautiful place, the buildings are awesome

    - Kishou – Japan – March 2015

    At Inlingua school I have improved my English thanks to my good teacher. I really love it this experience. All the staff is very kindly and friendly.

    - Giuseppe – Italy – March 2015

    The English course was really useful and I really enjoyed all the free activities that the school organized for all the student. The staff is very good and polite. I suggest this school to everyone who really needs to improve their English.

    - Luca – Italy – March 2015

    My English teacher is really nice. The course is very interesting and I'm improving my English day by day. The staff is very professional and friendly.

    - Allison – France – February 2015

    I am attending the general English course and I'm feeling very good here. The school and all the staff is amazing. My teacher May is a really good teacher and she is teaching me a lot.

    - Melanie – France – February 2015

    It has been great experience to improve my English, I like Malta a lot because there is the beautiful sea.

    - Athilie – France- February 2015

    I think that the school is really good. The teacher take time to explain better all the arguments. The school is amazing and all the staff is very professional and always ready to help you. I will suggest this school to everybody.

    - Claudia – France- February 2015

    I think this is one of the schools I have most attended. I love coming back over and over. They teach you grammar and in the same time they let you speak in order to improve your English both in working environments and in ordinary life. The staff is very kind and friendly. They are always ready to help you.

    - Stefano – Italy- February 2015

    I am feeling good in learning and improving my English, I needed a lot. Maybe I come next year again.

    - Marcin – Poland – February 2015

    I like Inlingua school and Malta is beautiful.

    - Adrianna – Poland – February 2015

    It has been a very interesting experience and a great opportunity for me to improve and practice my English. Thank you for everything

    - Liliana – Italy – January 2015

    This is the best experience of my life. It was amazing and interesting. The lessons and the teacher were very very good. I don't want to go away....

    - Cristina – Italy – January 2015

    I think this school is good, I really love it, I really enjoyed the lessons, I had a great time here. Great teachers. It was a fantastic experience. Thanks

    - Claudia – Italy – January 2015

    I had a great experience and met a lot of people of different nationalities. I enjoyed it and will definitely return this summer.

    - Serena – Italy – January 2015

    It was a beautiful experience. The lessons were fine and funny and they helped me improve my level of English.

    - Simona – Italy – January 2015

    I have been in Malta since November and my experience here is really good. inlingua help me to improve my English and thanks of this I met a lot of people of around the world. I'm very happy with the school and also with the teachers.

    - Laura – Spain – January 2015

    I've spent time at this amazing school. During the course I met many teachers and all of them are very qualified. Nice cheerful atmosphere, a lot of activities. I recommend.

    - Yuri – Russia – January 2015

    Was a unexpected surprise and a great discovery.. The inlingua vacation. I got more than I expected. The staff were extremely friendly and professional. Malta too was a lovely discovery and I do recommend it to anyone wanting a fantastic vacation.

    - Patrycja – Poland – January 2015

    It was a beautiful time at inlingua school and i will come back in the summer. I have improved my English here. Thank you.

    - Gerd – Germany – January 2015

    I think this school so good and I want to thank my teacher, June, and my private lesson teacher Donovan.

    - Evgeny – Russia

    My holiday in Malta was very nice and the inlingua staff were very friendly and helpful. I am extremely happy because I have improved my English a lot.

    - Cedric – France

      Really liked the inlingua method of teaching, was very interactive and teacher was exceptionally friendly.

    - Gianluca – Italy

    Enjoyed my English course, but not much time to visit Malta and its beautiful history and architecture.

    - Antoinette – Italy

    This is a really cool school and I recommend it for students who wish to learn English effectively and have fun at the same time. inlingua Malta has the best staff and will surely help you achieve your goals.

    - Ana – France

    I really loved it! My classmates were fantastic and the lessons gave me the opportunity to improve my English skills, especially thanks to the possibility to practice my spoken English during class.

    - Valeria – Russia

    I really enjoyed the lessons. The topics were chosen very well by our teacher and the atmosphere in the school and also in our class was great. Learning how to converse in English was made easier thanks to this.  I wish to also thank the amazing classmates and helpful staff at inlingua.

    - Andrei – Russia

    The learning method at inlingua Malta is superb and the teachers and all the staff are amazing. It was truly an unforgettable experience studying here.

    - Alberto – Spain

    I had a great time at inlingua Malta. Both teachers Maria and Simona were amazing ! :)

    - Marina – Russia

    Lovely staff and great atmosphere at school. The conversation club teacher Simone is amazing and knows a lot about History

    - Thomas – Czech Republic

    Great teachers and fantastic staff. I made a lot of new friends! I really like the activities aswell. They were lovely and I exciting :)

    - Barush – Czech Republic

    I made a lot of new fantastic friends in this school. The weather is fantastic and the teachers are great!

    - Gioele – Italy

    I was a bit afraid in the beginning because I thought it would take some time for me to get used to the school and the students. However the staff and teachers were very welcoming and the inlingua learning method has surely helped me improve my English faster!

    - Esther – Spain

    It was a fantastic learning experience. I really enjoyed myself because I could combine learning with fun thanks to the various activities the school has to offer

    - Batracio – Spain

    The best English learning school in Malta. You will surely leave with a smile and more knowedge of the English language from this school.

    - Carmen – Spain

    I love this school because it gave me a great opportunity to practice and improve my English. The staff was amazing and always with a positive attitude

    - Ana – Russia

    inlingua Malta is the best school of languages in Malta! Chris and Daniel are the best mentors :)))). It may not be the biggest, but I think its the best ! I arrived in Malta at the beginning of July. I forgot the exact date, but it really doesn't matter because the days go by really fast here. Especially with all the activities there are around Malta and Gozo !

    - Ivana – Russia

    inlingua Malta makes me go to the lessons with a smile even on a Monday morning. This school is great !

    - Evgenija – Russia

    Excellent school, great teachers and awesome staff :)

    - Gabi – Switzerland

    I had a good time. Fausto was a great teacher in the morning and Pat in the afternoon. Many thanks to the Inlingua team!

    - Philip – Switzerland

    It was very interesting and useful course for me. I learned a lot of important vocabulary and had opportunity to practise my speaking with very nice teachers!

    - Polina – Russia

    Friendly, knowledgeable, excellent explain study material.Next summer I am going to come to Malta to learn English. inlingua is the Best!!!

    - Tatiana – Russia

    It was really usefull to improve my English. There are small groups and high interaction between teacher and students

    - David – Spain

    Atmosphere in class = EXCELLENT!!!

    - Tibor – Slovakia

    Good that the class has been kept as small as possible. The amiability from the teachers and the employers is fantastic. Great Location.

    - Carmen – Switzerland

    I like my teacher very much, It's interesting to speak with her, she teaches excellent

    - Irina – Russia

    The teacher is very good and lesson interesting, I like that in the classroom we can talk with the teachers and other students

    - Gloria – Italy

    It was an excellent course of languages for my English. It's a perfect school for the study of the English Language, with good teachers and good personel in the school. It has a perfect location in the centre of Malta

    - Lorenzo – Italy

    I think I am lucky to have the best teacher of IELTS. Thank you!! I will be miss you!!

    - Rufina – Russia

    A very good teacher and I think I can speak for the whole class if I say she gives very good lessons with the perfect mix!! Also I learned a lot of things in her lessons. Thank you!!

    - Elisabeth – Germany

    Small classes, a very kind teacher who was always willing helping us with a lot of patience. Thank you!!!

    - Madeleine – Switzerland

    The language course are good and the teachers are very nice people. The most thing I like about inlingua Malta is the people in inlingua are friendly and nice

    - Ali – Libya

    I'm really enjoy studied English, with my teacher. Everything and everyone was excellent!!! Thank you very much

    - Volodymyr – Ukraine

    I like because I talk aout my experienceand emotion without problems and with another people that came from other places

    - Valentina – Italy

    My language course and my teacher were perfect, lessons are great!!!

    - Francesca – Italy

    This four weeks in Inlingua Malta are nice, I improve my English and know friendly people. Here the teachers are very nice and teaching very well, they worry for your education.

    - Laura – Spain

    See All Testimonials
  • Malta 1942 -The George Cross & The Santa Marija Convoy

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    Malta 1942 -The George Cross & The Santa Marija Convoy

    Even after the fall of Crete, the defenders of Malta still found it difficult to take the threat of attack very seriously so long as the main invader would be Italian. But the arrival of the Luftwaffe in Sicily meant a radical change. Continuous heavy raids soon forced the population to retire underground, and the island’s defences were strained to their limits. Charles MacLean, who served as a Spitfire pilot during this harrowing phase, John Agius who worked with the Royal Air Force in Malta as a civilian, and David Woodward who served as a war correspondent, give a highly individual description of the conditions under which the battle for survival was fought…

    In June 1941, Malta was a thousand miles from its nearest help. But the supply lines were still open, food was not yet scarce, and since the Italians were still in control in Sicily, air-raids were few, spasmodic, and inaccurate: besides having respect for the heavy gun-barrage over the island, the high-flying Italian bombers never learned the precise and exact dive-bombing technique of the Germans. There was always the British fleet in Grand Harbour when it was not at sea locking horns with the Italian navy and the striking force of torpedo-carrying Beauforts and Wellington bombers based on the island. There were also the British Hurricane fighters, which though not many, were more than a match for the Italian Macchis.

    Up to now the Maltese were more disgusted and annoyed rather than threatened, by their Italian neighbours for bringing the war to their front door. – They were a nuisance! That summer, when Mussolini sent a squadron of MTBs to try and block Grand Harbour, and all of them got blown to hell, there were those who laughed and saw it as a bit of a joke. Tomorrow was yet to come; the authorities still ignored the advice of some of the more thoughtful to start digging, and build underground hangars into the easily workable sandstone.

    The real bombing on Malta began during the first week of March 1942. Tomorrow had arrived, and it was far too late to start digging underground hangars. The island anti-aircraft defense, though very strong, was not enough. Malta lacked an adequate air umbrella. And since Egypt could not supply any fighter aircraft, they had to come from Britain by aircraft carrier – and there was an awful lot of open water for convoy attack between Gibraltar and Malta.

    Subsequently many groups of Hurricanes were flown to Malta, but on every occasion, after they landed safely, the Luftwaffe bombed the airports heavily, and destroyed them on the ground. It was the same with the few ships that tried to make the run from Gibraltar any that survived to reach the island were immediately bombed at Grand Harbour. From one convoy during this period two ships did reach the island – one sank in the harbour, and the other was sinking as it was being unloaded. The convoys stopped, and for a long time it was up to the miracle ship, HMS Welshman – one of the fastest ships afloat, to make a fantastic night-run, back and forth from Gibraltar, unescorted, to keep up the supply of ammunition. Sometimes a submarine would make a night landing with sorely needed medical supplies.

    The first Spitfires to fly of HMS Eagle met the same fate as most of the Hurricanes: they were destroyed on the ground. In April 1942, 45 Spitfires flew of the USSH Wasp in three sections, Malta-bound, out of these half were destroyed – mostly on the ground before they could be refueled and rearmed. Within a week all the Hurricanes were destroyed, leaving about half a dozen Spitfires in maintenance, and four serviceable for flying.

    The Royal Opera House after raid

    On April 7, Valletta suffered significant destruction: the Auberge de France which stretched from Old Bakery Street to Old Mint Street was wiped out, the Royal Opera House, the market, Auberge de Castille, the Times of Malta building and several others were severely damaged. A staggering 54 people died on April 9. They were mainly from Luqa after a ferocious attack destroyed the church and an air raid shelter was flooded with water from a nearby well, which had burst. There were seven casualties in Gudja, four in Qrendi, and some in Mqabba. That was also the day that the Mosta Dome was hit.

    One of the German bombs, weighing 500 kilogram’s, pierced the roof of the Rotunda, hitting one of the walls and smashing the marble flooring, but it did not explode.

    Luqa parish church destroyed after a ferocious attack on April 9, 1942

    The Maltese had dug themselves in, with mattocks, picks, or any digging instrument to be found, whole families bored their way into the sandstone, and made homes in underground shelters. The bulk of the population lived in these shelters. Within the confined space of double-or triple-tiered bunks whole families existed on the meagre rations, with the few belongings they were able to salvage from destroyed homes. Many of the inhabitants preferred to remain below during this period of heavy bombardment, rarely ever come up into the daylight. Consequently, since ventilation was not quite what it might have been, many of these shelters were hot and stifling, the air heavy and rank even to the entrance 50 to 100 feet above.

    With moral at its lowest, the early disgust the Maltese felt for the Italians turned into hatred. Their fear of the Germans spread and deepened until it was a sickness, whose only hope lay in their prayers to Heaven, or the delayed help from Britain. But then came a glimmer of light, of hope, of joy for such a long-suffering people. The Maltese were awarded the George Cross: The award was made by letter dated April 15th 1942, from the King to the Governor of Malta Lieutenant General Sir William Dobbie.

    The letter by King George VI awarding the George Cross to Malta

    The wording of that letter:

    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.
    GEORGE R.I. April 15th 1942.

    In reply to the King’s letter, Dobbie wrote: ‘The people and garrison of Malta are deeply touched by Your Majesty’s kind thought for them… “It has greatly encouraged everyone, and all are determined that, by God’s help, Malta will… endure until victory is won…”

    On April 17, 1942, two days after the award of the GC, the Governor Dobbie, broadcast to the nation “I am quite sure that everyone in Malta felt a real thrill of pleasure when he learned of the high honour His Majesty the King has been pleased to bestow on this Island Fortress. This thrill may have been all the greater since, perhaps, the honour was unexpected. For it is a new thing which His Majesty has done… I do not recall an instance when an honour of this kind has been conferred by a British Sovereign on a community….”

    The plaque on the facade of the Palace

    While the award was official on April 15, the situation in Malta was too serious at the time for a public presentation ceremony to be held. The mounting casualty toll, the destruction of buildings, the desperate food shortage and the ever-fear of invasion had ruled out any thoughts of such a ceremony.

    April was the worst month of the entire war, when over 6,500 tonnes of bombs fell on Malta – Valletta and the docks were hit in practically every raid. In April 1942 alone, 348 civilians died. That month, the Royal Navy lost 131 personnel, the Army 152 British and 35 Maltese personnel, and the RAF 74.

    There was not much encouragement when it was heard through the grapevine that HMS Eagle had been Malta-bound with a load Spitfires, when it was recalled by Whitehall, and was now sitting in Gibraltar waiting for Malta to fall, like Crete. There was little consolation in the fact that London did not wish to lose so many valuable aircraft, aircraft, which would be put to such good use over Britain. It was even worse when news reached the island of the high-flying capabilities of the new Spitfire 9As, which were then raking the skies over northern Europe.

    The Luftwaffe never ceased to attack the island furiously, and Ta’ Qali became even more of a favoured target. Then one day the island heard the news. At first it was thought to be a rumour, but then it was official Jumbo Grade (Wing Commander) called a meeting in the billiard room and confirmed the news.
    Not one aircraft carrier, but two would bring loads to within flying distance. Britain had decided to go all out now and supply the island with Spitfires every week thereafter.

    At about 0900 hours, on Saturday, May 9, the first batch of Spitfires flew over Malta. A few minutes later another arrived, then another and another, until the sky was filled with them. Malta had never seen so many at one time. Some 64 aircraft had flown of HMS Eagle and USS Wasp, and as soon as one touched down, an old pilot was out waving his white flag to attract the new pilot to the pen. No sooner had he swung the aircraft round, tail pointing into the pen, than a swarm of men leapt on to the wings with screwdrivers, opening gun panels, throwing socks, shirts, cartons of cigarettes on to the ground. While two army men were removing the big empty belly auxiliary tank, and storing it behind the pen, others were chain handing tins of petrol to fill the tanks, armourers were rearming the guns, and the old pilot was throwing the new one out of the cockpit, handing him the sheet of instructions and strapping himself in. The aircraft was round and back into the air in minutes. The same activity was taking place all over the island, it was as if each pen-crew was trying to out-speed the other in getting their aircraft into the air. A whole squadron of 12 Spitfires would land, re-fuel and re-arm, and back into the air in seven minutes.

    From long before dawn the next morning, Sunday, May 10, three squadrons were at stand-by. And just about sun-up the Welshman steamed into the harbour with a full load of ammunition. A full regiment of British soldiers immediately set to work unloading the ship. In a few minutes the alert went, and a smoke screen was put up that spread over the docks and the harbour. The soldiers worked like slaves, and the Spitfires scrambled and again met the Germans north of the island.

    All day the harbour was the main target, the Luftwaffe fighting hard to sink that ship. The battle raged all day, but when it ended the Welshman had been unloaded, and saved to slip out that night; and 64 German planes had been destroyed by the island defenses.

    Operation Pedestal – The Santa Marija Convoy

    By August 7,1942, the situation in Malta was so bad that official calculations showed that food and fuel would be completely exhausted within three to four weeks if help were not received by the end of that time there would be no alternative but surrender.

    The last big attempt to replenish the island had been made in June. Two convoys had then sailed – one westward from Alexandria, code-named ‘Vigorous’ and one eastward from Gibraltar, code-named ‘Harpoon’ Altogether in the two convoys, there had been 17 merchant ships, with an escort of 82 warships, but of the merchant ships only two had reached Malta. Six had been sunk and the rest driven back.

    It had been hoped to make another attempt during the following month- it was essential to wait for dark, moonless nights – but the demand of the battle of the Atlantic, the Russian convoys, and the wars in the Pacific and in South-East Asia had proved too great: there had not been enough ships to spare. However, by August 10 another fleet had been gathered in the Straits of Gibraltar. There were 59 warships to act as close or distant support for the 14 merchant ships whose safe arrival at Malta was the object of the enterprise.

    Enemy aircraft, submarines, and surface ships were prepared to deny this convoy, called ‘Pedestal’, its safe passage.

    The 14 merchant ships were the biggest and fastest of their types that could be found; 11 were British and two American, while the fourteenth was American built and British manned. This was the Ohio, the only tanker in the convoy, which was to make for herself one of the great names in the history of the sea. She had been specially selected for this operation for her speed and carrying capacity and obtained from the Americans, as there was no equivalent British ship available. For this voyage, which was to be her last, she carried 11,500 tons of kerosene and fuel oil. This cargo was vital for, quite apart from the needs of the RAF and the Navy, Malta depended on fuel oil for every type of mechanical operation, of which the most essential was the well-head pumping, without which there would be no drinking water.

    The ships of ‘Pedestal’ entered the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of August 10/11. Eighteen Italian and three German submarines were waiting for them, spread out along the route to Malta, and in addition to these submarines there were 784 Axis aircraft, 23 Italian and German motor torpedo-boats, and the heavy ships of the Italian fleet.

    It was one of the U-boats, U-73, which struck the first blow: coming into the convoy underneath the escorting destroyers, she fired four torpedoes at the aircraft carrier Eagle and hit with all of them. The Eagle capsized and sank within a few minutes, but happily some 900 of the 1,100 men on board were saved.

    Three other merchant ships were also badly damaged – including the Ohio, now struck by a crashing Ju-88 which lay athwart her forecastle; shortly afterwards she collected a Stuka on the poop as well. A little later the tanker’s engines finally broke down and she lay dead in the water.

    At this stage the formed body of the convoy now reduced to three ships, one on fire – was some 90 miles west of Malta, while two other damaged ships were making their way independently towards their goal. As for the Ohio, she awaited a rescue, which seemed very improbable.

    News now came that Italian surface warships were at sea, making for the convoy. But after a great muscle-flexing display by some 150 RAF planes, sending messages in clear suggesting that a great air sweep was about to be made between Malta and Sicily, the Italian ships turned back.
    The Ohio was still 70 miles away with her all-important load, petrol for planes and motor transport, kerosene for cooking and lighting, diesel oil for the pumps at the wells, fuel oil for ships. – All this cargo was in a sinking ship, unable to move under her own steam. On August 15th 1942 on the feast of Santa Marija, the Ohio towed by two destroyers, Perm and Ledbry, and one minesweeper Rye, entered Grand Harbour. She discharged her cargo and then lay there, too badly damaged to go to sea again until she was expended as a gunnery target.

    The Ohio, Pedestal’s vital tanker towed by two destroyers and one mine sweeper, after surviving an Italian torpedo-hit and two crashing German bombers, enters the Grand Harbour on the 15th August 1942 – the feast of Santa Marija, granting Malta a new lease of life.

    By September 1942 the worst of Malta’s trials lay behind her. Air superiority had been established, and after victory at El Alamein on October 23, there would be a freer movement of shipping in the Mediterranean. The Second Great Siege of Malta would gradually be lifted.

    The George Cross and King George VI’s letter on display on the Palace Square Valletta, September 13, 1942
    The George Cross presentation ceremony was fixed for Sunday September 13, 1942 at 9.15a.m. to take place on the Palace Square, Valletta. Debris had been neatly piled on the square, compressing it into an unfamiliar shape. At the commencement of the ceremony, a Royal Malta Artillery guard of honour under Major (later Lieut. Col,) J.V. Abela marched down Kingsway (now Republic Street) and onto the Palace Square, accompanied by the band of the King’s Own Malta Regiment. Lining the square were representatives of the Police Force, the Special Constabulary and the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) organisation, as well as detachments from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force. Special seats were reserved for the captains and officers of the valiant Santa Marija convoy.

    In his address to the people of Malta, Lord Gort said: “On my appointment as Governor of Malta I was entrusted to carry the George Cross to this Island Fortress. By command of the King, I now present to the people of Malta and her dependencies the decoration which His Majesty has awarded them in recognition of the gallant service which they have already rendered in the fight for freedom. How you have withstood for many months the most concentrated bombing attacks in the history of the world is the admiration of all civilised peoples….”

    The case containing the George Cross and the King’s letter was placed on a special plinth and guarded through the day by a detachment of the 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Malta Regiment. In the evening a Police Force guard of honour marched onto the Palace Square, where the George Cross and the King’s letter were handed to them for safekeeping.

    In Gozo a counterpart to the Valletta presentation ceremony was held the following Sunday, September 20, at It Tokk, Victoria. All the Gozo dignitaries were present induding Mgr Gonzi and Mr George Ransley, the Commissioner for Gozo.

    In February 1944 the George Cross was incorporated in the arms of Malta.

    After the grant of armorial bearings, incorporating the George Cross, the Maltese flag displayed in the upper mast side comer of the white stripe a square blue canton bearing a representation of the George Cross. Since 1964, the Maltese flag has continued to display the George Cross, but with a thin red edge all around it instead of the blue canton.

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