World War II was am imndustrial war. but also a people's war. In recognition of that King George VI created the George Cross award (September 1940). ["No. 35060"] It replaced the Empire Gallantry Medal. The medal is the civilian equivalent to the military's Victoria Cross. It is awarded only for acts of greatest heroism and outstanding corage in circumstances of extreme danger. It was one of only three collective awards of the George Cross and theonly one during Workd War II. The other two were the Royal Ulster Constabulary during 'the Troubles (1999) abd the National Health Service during the Covid Pandemic (2020). As the Deutche Afrika Korps surged east toward Suez, Hitler diverted major Luftwaffe foces from the Ostkrirg to assist the Italians in bombing Malta into submission. Malta was important because it was astride the vital Italian sea lanes supplying Rommel's Afrika Korps. The Maltese became some of the most heavily bombed people of the War. ["No. 35060"] In 1942 they were the most heavily bombed people. (In 1942 the Alied strategic bombing campaign. This would exposethe Axis powers dillusion which Air Marshal Haris ponted out, that they would bomb other countries and not be bombed themselves. The Maltese endured the bombing, but what became crutical was the food, oil, and supplis needed to resist. The King awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta in a letter to the island's Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie,"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." (April 15, 1942) This was during the great Axis bombardment and siege. It began when Italy declared war (1940), but intensified (1942). Malta was near surender when what was left of the Santa Maria (Pedestal) Convoy reched Valletta. A public award ceremony in Valletta was held (September 13, 1942), after the arrival of the Santa Maria (Pedestal) Convoy. The George Cross was incorporated into the flag of Malta beginning in 1943 and remains on the current design of the flag.
Jellision, Charles Albert. Besieged: The World War II Ordeal of Malta, 1940-1942 (University of New Hampshire: 1984).
"No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. pp. 622–623.
Navigate the CIH World War II Section:
[Return to Main Malta World War II page]
[Return to Main early World War II phase]
[Return to Main World War II campaign page]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[POWs] [Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]