Wednesday, October 8, 2014
War museum chronicles WWII heroism
This museum is mostly about the important role Malta and its people played during World War II, but also includes exhibits dealing with Malta’s military role after 1800 under British rule, and items from the First World War and from the two years of French Occupation.
Badly mauled and nearly starved the Maltese and their British defenders remained defiant and their efforts played a critical role in thwarting German and Italian military strategy in the Mediterranean. Consequently, King George VI, wishing to “bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people” awarded the George Cross medal to the entire population of Malta.
In the museum’s main hall are displayed an Italian E-Boat, a Bofors anti-aircraft gun, the Willys Jeep ‘Husky’ that General Eisenhower used during his visit to Malta’, the Gloster Gladiator ‘Faith’, the George Cross, the Book of Remembrance, the illuminated Scroll presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and wreckage of a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter aircraft recovered from the sea bed.
Photographic panels portrayed the harsh conditions that Malta and its people endured during the war, and the extensive damage inflicted. Also featured are numerous awards and decorations received by Maltese servicemen and civilians during World War II, the most important of course being the George Cross Medal mentioned earlier. Incidentally, this is the origin of the cross featured on the flag of Malta.