Maltese War Memorial

Public Art : Maltese War Memorial (also known as the shelter of peace)

Architect:

Description :

Date Unveiled: 11th December 1994

Funded by : The George Cross Memorial was erected with the support of both the Maltese and Australian governments, the City of Melbourne, and ANPAS Group ( Frank R Gatt), Calleja Transport, Econo Mix, Mid Med Bank, Olex Cables, Plamer tube mills, Sims Metal, Smorgon Arc, Chasmic PTY LTD, Maltese Australian Association.

Location: Kings Domain, Melbourne, Australia.

Inscriptions:

 

                                                   FAITH                         

                                       NAVY  - Fort St Angelo

                         The Award of the George Cross To Malta

The George Cross was instituted by Royal Warrant dated September 14 1940.

The Royal Warrant ordains that "The Cross shall be awarded ony for acts of the greatest of heroism or of the most conspicious courage in circumstances of extreme danger."

The George Cross was awarded to Malta by its founder King George VI on April 15 1942.

The King's message was received by the Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie. In reply Sir William Dobbie wrote "The people and garrison of Malta are deeply touched by your majesty's kind thought for them in conferring on the fortress this signal honour. It has greatly encouraged everyone and all are determined that by Gods help Malta will endure until victory is won."

The Palace Square was overlooked by bombed or bomb-scarred buildings including the ruined palace which for the first time since its bombing flew the Union Jack with the Maltese flag superimposed. Debris was piled on the square compressing it to an unusual shape.

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 the Island fortress."

' By the 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 civilized peoples.'

 

Operation Pedestal

(Santa Marija Convoy 15th August 1942)

Malta was only two months away from collapse. Urgent supplies were needed. Conditions were dire. Slowly working its way to Malta was a convoy of tweleve British and two American ships. The British ships were "Brisbane Star", :Clan Ferguson", Deucalion", "Dorset", "Empire Hope", "Glenorchy", Melbourne Star", "Ohio", "Port Chalmers", Rochester Castle", "Wairangi", "Waimarama." The two American ships were "Almeria Lykes" and "Santa Elisa".

 

With an enormous escort of more than 50 warships including aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, corvettes and other vessels , this convoy had to get through. A signal from the flagship "Nelson" read " The garrison and the people of Malta are in urgent need of replenishment of food and military supplies. These we are taking to them. Everyone of us must give his best. Malta looks to us for help. We shall not fail them."

The convoy was a moving target for the enemy. It suffered heavy losses and only five ships reached Malta. Some badly damaged. On 13th August the Maltese sighted the firt glimpse of their salvation. Crowds gathered. The first ships to enter the grand harbour were the "Port Chalmers", "Melbourne Star", and "Rochester Castle". It took the "Brisbane Star" and "Ohio" two more days to limo into harbour. The battered charred hulk of the tanker "Ohio" was barely holding above water and had to be towed int grand harbour. Malta rejoiced. It was August 15th and an important day in the Maltese Christian calendar. The first day of Santa Marija. Lining the battlements , the crowd waved and cheered.

Such is the story of what the Maltese have since described as the 'Great Convoy of Santa Marija'. It was a trickle of what left home, but never before was a trickle so dear to a nation. The immediate necessities of the island were for a desperate moment relieved and the heart of a nation once more beat resolutely and proceeded to the glory of victory.

 

HOPE

Army- St Elmo

The Governor

Malta.

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

 

CHARITY

Airforce

In the name of the people of the United States of America I salute the island of Malta, its people and its defenders, who, in the cause of freedom and justice and decency throughout the world, have rendered valorous service far above and beyond the call of duty.

Under repeated fire from the skies , Malta stood alone but unafraid in the centre of the sea, one tiny bright flame in the darkness- a beacon of hope for the clearer days which have come.

Malta's bright story of human fortitude and courage will be read by posterity with wonder and with gratitude through all ages.

What was done in this island maintains the highest traditions of gallant men and women who from the beginning of time have lived and died to preserve civilization for all mankind.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

December 7th 1943

 

 

PEACE
Malta

Homage to Malta

Beloved Malta in times past like a wise and caring mother you protected your people against formidable foes.Throughout the ages many nations bore witness to your sufferings. But in bravery of your sons and daughters who brought you victory in the name of freedom is still acclaimed by the whole world.

Today far away from your shores we stand in this shelter of peace and salute you

Friends of Malta

George Cross Memorial Committee

Mr Benedict Soler
Hon Bruce Skeggs. MLC
CR Max Chester
Mr terry Muscat. OAM JP
Mr Frank Gatt  SFO
CR. Joe Mallia  JP
Mr Graeme H Wallace
Mr David Calleja
Mr Manwel Cassar

1th December, 1994

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