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Remembering the Siege of Malta, 75 years on

Last week His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended a special event in Malta to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the nation being honoured with the George Cross for its heroism during the Second World War.

Prince Charles' grandfather King George VI awarded the people of Malta the gallantry medal, normally presented to individuals, for enduring years of bombing that left many on the brink of starvation.

Allan Scott speaking to HRH The Prince of WalesRAF veteran Allan Scott speaking to HRH The Prince of Wales

In the capital Valletta, Prince Charles, who is president of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, joined Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, Second World War veterans, civilians and their families for a special evening ceremony.

Squadron Leader Allan Scott DFM, who was one of the many RAF pilots who took to the skies daily to defend the island, its people and the essential convoys, returned to the island for the first time in 75 years to attend the event. Talking about his time in Malta, Squadron Leader Allan Scott DFM said: "It was pretty tough, there was no food and we were being scrambled up to four times a day.

"I lost about four stone in the six months I was posted here. We were living on ship's biscuits that were very, very hard they could you break your teeth, so we used to put them in a pail of water and make a nice pudding."

Allan flew his Spitfire off HMS Eagle to the island on 21 July 1942. Initially posted to 603 Squadron, shortly after he arrived he was transferred to 1435 Squadron. Here he saw much action - including a victory during Operation Pedestal on 13 August.

Talking about the event Allan said: "When I was last here I didn’t see much of Valletta other than seeing it from the air so it has been very special to come back. The ceremony was really moving and it was really exciting to meet Prince Charles, we had a good chat."

Allan, who was a Flight Sergeant at the time, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) for distinction in Malta, shooting down five enemy aircraft plus three probable and five damaged.

Speaking at the event, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales said: "After all these years it is a particular blessing that we are joined here this evening by civilians and veterans who lived and fought through the Siege of Malta. The George Cross is their gift to all who have come after them. Without their courage and determination, Malta would never have become the thriving place that it is today.

"I am deeply honoured to be able to share this very special anniversary with you all. The George Cross that proudly adorns your flag will forever bare testament to Malta’s essential strength of character. What is more, it serves as a symbol of the profound gratitude that all of us in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth feel for the sacrifice that Malta made and to the enduring friendship we enjoy with the people of these ancient isles."

Last year the RAF Benevolent Fund spent £88,000 supporting RAF personnel and their families in Malta.

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