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22/04/2021 12:23pm

Malta Fiftieth Anniversary Medal

Conflict
 
World War II.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary Medal is technically a ‘commemorative medal’ presented by the President and government of Malta to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Siege of Malta and to honour the collective award of the George Cross to the island during World War II. The medal was established in January 1992 and was awarded to those individuals who both met the specified requirements of service and made application for the medal by 15 April 1994.
 
Three distinct groups were eligible for the medal as long as service was undertaken during the qualifying period of 10 June 1940 to 8 September 1943. These were 1) uniformed members of the allied armed forces and merchant marine, 2) civilians on Malta, who served in specific capacities during the qualifying period, and 3) members of the Scout Association of Malta.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in cupro-nickel. The obverse of this medal depicts the Coat of Arms of Malta with the date; ‘1992’ at its base.
 
The reverse depicts the George Cross in the centre, surrounded by the inscription; ‘BĦALA XHIEDA TA’ EROIŻMU U DEDIKAZZJONI’ and ‘TO BEAR WITNESS TO HEROISM AND DEVOTION’ separated by a Maltese Cross at the top and the date; ‘1942’ at the base.
 
The ribbon suspender is in the style of a straight suspension bar depicting a relief of olive branches and palm fronds meeting in the centre attached to the medal by a small ring.
 
The medal was issued un-named.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 32mm wide and is blue in colour with a single narrow white and red central vertical stripe.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary Medal
£120.00
Modern Reproduction
£55.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The Siege Of Malta.
- The Malta Convoys.
 
The Siege Of Malta - The Siege of Malta was a military campaign in the Mediterranean Theatre of the Second World War. From 1940-1942, the fight for the control of the strategically important island of Malta pitted the air forces and navies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany against the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.
 
The opening of a new front in North Africa in mid-1940 increased Malta's already considerable value. British air and sea forces based on the island could attack Axis ships transporting vital supplies and reinforcements from Europe. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, in command of Axis forces in North Africa, recognised its importance quickly. In May 1941, he warned that 'Without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa'.
 
The Axis resolved to bomb or starve Malta into submission, by attacking its ports, towns, cities and Allied shipping supplying the island. Malta was one of the most intensively bombed areas during the war. The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids over a period of two years in an effort to destroy RAF defences and the ports.
 
Success would have made possible a combined German - Italian amphibious landing (‘Operation Herkules’) supported by German airborne forces (Fallschirmjäger). It was never carried out. In the event, Allied convoys were able to supply and reinforce Malta, while the RAF defended its airspace, though at great cost in material and lives.
 
By November 1942, the Axis had lost the Second Battle of El Alamein and the Allies had landed forces in Vichy French Morocco and Algeria under ‘Operation Torch’. The Axis diverted their forces to the Battle of Tunisia, and attacks on Malta were rapidly reduced. The siege effectively ended in November 1942.
 
In December 1942, air and sea forces operating from Malta went over to the offensive. By May 1943, they had sunk 230 Axis ships in 164 days, the highest Allied sinking rate of the war.
 
The Allied victory played a major role in the eventual Allied success in North Africa.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Malta Convoys - The Malta Convoys were a series of Allied supply convoys that sustained the besieged island of Malta during the Mediterranean Theatre of the Second World War. Malta required military reinforcements, food for its military garrison and civilian population, and fuel for air and naval forces. The convoys bringing these men and supplies were strongly opposed by Italian and German naval and air forces during the Battle of the Mediterranean.
 
Malta's significance was its position as a strategic base from which British sea and air forces could interrupt the flow of men and materiel to the Axis armies in north Africa, which in turn threatened Egypt, the Suez Canal and, potentially, British controlled oilfields in the Middle East. Its strategic importance was such that Britain took great risks and suffered severe naval losses in order to keep possession.
 
 Italy's failure to subdue Malta and military disasters in Libya and Greece led to German intervention in the Mediterranean. German bombers and submarines tightened the sea blockade and Malta's situation worsened. As well as set piece, heavily defended convoys, small quantities of important supplies and personnel were sent by fast warships (usually Abdiel-class minelayers) and by submarine. Fighter aircraft were critical to the island's defence and quantities of Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires were transported to within flying distance, known as "Club Runs".
 
The critical period was during mid-1942, when the island desperately needed supplies such as fuel and food and it had temporarily ceased to be an effective offensive base. The situation eased later in 1942, particularly as Allied armies advanced from Egypt after El Alamein and from north west Africa after Operation Torch, allowing greater air protection to supply convoys.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.