- very poignant, thought provoking collection of images Review by Warship World reader PB
Today Malta is a holiday hotspot in the middle of the Mediterranean providing a warm welcome and fantastic holiday accommodation but for over two years from 11 June 1940 to the end of 1942 it was quite literally hell on earth.
Many matelots will recall adventures ashore from Sliema Creek in the 1950s and 60s with locals recounting tales of the hardships the island nation endured at the hands of the German Luftwaffe and Italian warplane. They also told of the heroic defence of Malta by the British military that sometimes seemed futile when faced with the overwhelming superiority of Axis air power. Daily air raids on airfields, docks and military installations led to people lobbing in air raid shelters. Dive bomb attacks on ships bringing in fresh supplies of food, water, ammunition, oil and aircraft sapped the islands resolve to survive the onslaught. Hungry and desperate the Maltese however persisted and endured one of the war’s longest, most determined, and all- encompassing series of aerial bombardments. This was why the island received the George Cross for its collective heroism and their sacrifice. The battle to retain Malta was of paramount importance to the Allies had the island fallen to the Axis powers the Mediterranean would have been lost as would have Northern Africa. Malta was a vital component in the plans to fight back against Nazi fascism.
This excellent new book published by Green Hill Books and written by Anthony Rogers brings together a large collection of rare photographs mostly from veterans’ collections who alongside the native Maltese endured the daily, almost inevitable, air raids. The photographs depict life continuing with weddings, parties and social gatherings continuing in defiance against the Nazi aggression. Others show the devastation wrought on the tiny island nation and the defences put in place to defend it.
This is a very poignant, thought provoking collection of images with superb, concise and appropriate captions.
(Posted on 25/11/2020)