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8 September 1940: London Praises Maltese on National Day

08 Sep

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ENCOURAGING MESSAGES MARK NATIONAL DAY

Lord Lloyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies, has broadcast a message to Malta from London to mark Malta’s National Day. In a rousing speech he said:

“The old Maltese spirit rises again, and with hearts steeled they cherish the sacred soil of Malta, defying all who would attack their Island.”

Lt Gen Dobbie added his own broadcast across Malta and Gozo:

“Important as the fortress of Malta has always been on account of its geographical position and the facilities provided, yet it is now more important than ever and suddenly finds itself in the very forefront of the battle.” (1)

Former railway tunnel turned shelter became a chapel for National Day (NWMA Malta)

Former railway tunnel turned shelter became a chapel for National Day (NWMA Malta)

UNDERGROUND SHELTER HOSTS NATIONAL DAY SERVICE

One of the largest underground shelters became a holy site today with a special service to mark the Malta’s National Day. The Yellow Garage under Valletta, temporarily transformed into a chapel illuminated by numerous candles, echoed to the voices of over 200 sheltering civilians raised in the singing of hymns.

36 children dressed in white and carrying candles received their First Holy Communion deep down in the rock beneath the bastions guarding the entrance to the capital. The service was led by Canon Joseph Delia, who has dedicated himself to looking after the spiritual needs of the Yellow Garage’s underground community. A modest party followed, during which the children were given sweets and souvenirs, bringing an end to a day of happiness among the air raids. (2)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 9 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Fermoy and Fellowship succeeded in cutting the Syracuse-Tripoli cable.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Church parades particularly well attended for National Day. An unexploded bomb was found near No 3 post of A Company.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Special services for all Companies. Troops resting as far as possible.

(1) Malta Diary of A War, Michael Galea, PEG 1992

(2) Malta: Blitzed But Not Beaten, Philip Vella, Progress Press 1985

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