Valletta, Malta archive footage malta war
Leave your feedback
LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK

Video ID: 1055

Submitting Feedback

‘It was terrible’: How Malta survived the war

Description

This extraordinary archive footage shows how people in Malta struggled during the darkest days of the Second World War.

Camera crews spoke with survivors of the conflict, including teachers, dockyard workers and Victory Kitchen supervisors to hear their harrowing past experiences of Malta at war.

During the Second World War, Malta was the most bombed place on earth. More than 14,000 bombs were dropped, destroying about 30,000 buildings but Malta still fought on.

The two-year period between 1940 and 1942 was the most intense bombing campaign Malta has ever seen with more than 15,000 tonnes of high explosives were dropped on towns and villages by the Hitler and Mussolini’s air forces during more than 3,300 air raids.

Thousands of homes in Valletta, Sliema, Senglea, Vittoriosa, Cospicua, Floriana and elsewhere around the Grand Harbour were destroyed or damaged, and more than 1,500 civilians lost their lives.

Deeply-buried shelters provided the most protection against a direct hit, with most towns and villages having their own air raid shelters.

The people of Malta ended the war with the distinction of being the only nation to be awarded the George Cross. The medal is awarded by the British monarch for acts of the greatest heroism or courage in circumstances of extreme danger.

To this day, Malta holds the record for the heaviest, sustained bombing attack: some 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs.

Malta during the war – facts and figures

• Population in Malta and Gozo at the beginning of the war – 270,000
• Air raids registered throughout the war over Malta – 3,343
• Total hours under Air-raids – 2,357
• Tonnes of bombs dropped on the Maltese Islands – 15,000
• Civilian casualties June 1940 – April 1944 – 1,581
• Military and Merchant Navy casualties – 7,500
• People in Malta injured – 3,780
• Tonnes of Axis shipping sunk by Malta-based submarines – 390,660
• Buildings destroyed or extensively damaged – 10,761

More places from Valletta

Malta pays tribute to Sir Winston Churchill
Valletta, Malta churchill in malta churchill death
This archive footage shows how Malta mourned the death of Sir Winston Churchill....
A new lease of life for a Valletta landmark
Valletta, Malta Anton Buttigieg mcc opening 1979
This archive footage shows some of the extensive restoration work carried out in...
Honouring Maltese social reformer Manwel Dimech
Valletta, Malta
This film from the archives shows the installation of a statue of Maltese social...
Valletta marks a very special anniversary
Valletta, Malta Archbishop Michael Gonzi valletta anniversary
This colour footage from the archives shows special events in Valletta in 1966 t...
The proud history of Fort St Elmo in Valletta
Valletta, Malta
Guarding Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour is Fort St Elmo, named after the patr...
Valletta prepares for Carnival in the 1950s
Valletta, Malta carnival in malta
Carnival in Malta falls right before Lent, usually at the end of February. The f...
Building one of Malta’s most iconic landmarks
Valletta, Malta
With its huge dome, the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one of the most ...
Malta marks the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Valletta, Malta Easter in Malta
The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, or ‘Jum id-Duluri’ has a special p...
State Opening of Malta’s Parliament in 1950s
Valletta, Malta George Borg Olivier opening of malta parliament
This amazing film from our archives shows the pomp and ceremony surrounding the ...
Malta celebrates the Coronation of King George V
Valletta, Malta King George V Coronation
This amazing archive footage shows a military parade in Valletta to mark the Cor...
What powers does the President of Malta have?
Valletta, Malta Agatha Barbara
The President of Malta is the island’s head of state. Presidents serve a f...
‘It was terrible’: How Malta survived the war
Valletta, Malta archive footage malta war
This extraordinary archive footage shows how people in Malta struggled during th...

Places Nearby

Bikers without crash helmets on Malta’s garigue
Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq motorbike trials in malta
It seems almost unthinkable today. This footage from the PBS Archives shows comp...
Meet the residents at St Vincent de Paul Hospital
Luqa
St Vincent de Paul Hospital is Malta’s largest state-owned residence home ...
Malta pays tribute to Sir Winston Churchill
Valletta, Malta churchill in malta churchill death
This archive footage shows how Malta mourned the death of Sir Winston Churchill....
Exploring a First World War-era shipwreck off Malta
Malta
This exclusive underwater footage shows divers heading under the waves to explor...
What powers does the President of Malta have?
Valletta, Malta Agatha Barbara
The President of Malta is the island’s head of state. Presidents serve a f...
Restoring one of Malta’s iconic wartime Spitfires
malta at war
The Spitfire is easily the most famous plane of the Second World War. Its ground...
A look back at Malta’s love of water polo
Malta
Water polo is one of the most popular sports in Malta. It was already a well-con...
Carnival capers in Malta over the years
Valletta, Malta carnival in malta
Carnival has been celebrated in Malta for more than 600 years. Historians believ...
Hunting in Malta in the 1970s
Mellieha spring hunting malta
Hunting has been a hugely controversial subject in Malta for decades. Back in th...
Behind the scenes with the military in Malta
Luqa British Army in Malta
Malta was one of Britain’s most important military bases during the darkes...
Meet Malta’s best-known ballet dancer
Hamrun Tanya Bayona
Tanya Bayona is perhaps Malta’s best-known ballet dancer. Following her ea...
Valletta marks a very special anniversary
Valletta, Malta Archbishop Michael Gonzi valletta anniversary
This colour footage from the archives shows special events in Valletta in 1966 t...