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4 NAVY NEWS, MAY 2002 vynews .co .uk H

MS NORFOLK was in Malta last month to host a visit

marking the 60th anniver- sary of the award of the George Cross to the island by her grandfather, King

Princess Royal, by

Pictures: LA(PHOT) Darren MacDonald, HMS Drake

• SACRIFICE: The Princess Royal lays a wreath at the Siege Bell monument in Malta, commemo- rating the 7,000 Service personnel and civilians who died there in 1940-43

• FOR VALOUR: The Princess with members of the George Cross and Victoria Cross Associations at a reception for Maltese and British World War II veterans held on board HMS Norfolk

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• ROYAL GUEST: The Princess arrives on board HMS Norfolk in Valetta, with the ship's Commanding Oficer, Cdr Richard Talbot

Norfolk in salute to Malta's supreme sacrifice

over 7,000 Service personnel and civilians who gave their lives during the 1940-43 siege. In this period Malta, which had particular strategic importance to the Allies' campaign in North Africa, was heavily bombed by the German and Italian air forces. In April 1942 it endured a higher monthly tonnage of bombs than did the whole of the UK during the Battle of Britain and earned itself the unwelcome title of "the most bombed place on Earth". Nine Allied ships were sunk and the Naval dockyard was practically destroyed. Three months later the

the Type 23 frigate alongside in Valetta after attending a Service in memory of the Queen Mother at St John's Cathedral and laying a wreath at the Siege Bell, a monument to the award of the GC for the bravery of the Maltese people in World War II. Erected in 1992, it honours

George VI. The Princess came on board


tanker Ohio limped into Grand Harbour with vital supplies at the climax of Operation Pedestal. The ceremony at the Siege

Association (Malta) Dr Censu Tabone, and representatives of the Maltese and UK George Cross Association branches. The Commanding Officer of

Cross Island

Bell was attended by the President of Malta, Prof Guido de Marco, the president of the George

HMS Norfolk, Cdr Richard Talbot, laid a wreath at the cer- emony, at which a memorial plaque was unveiled and which ended with the custom- ary tolling of the bell at noon. Said Cdr Talbot: "It is a great

attended by the Princess and over 200 people including many GC and Victoria Cross Association veterans. Over the six days of the ship's stay hun- dreds of visitors came on board, including youngsters from a children's home whose tour ended with a universal favourite - jelly and ice cream. HMS Norfolk is currently on

honour to be able to pay respects to the remarkable bravery and sacrifice made by the people of Malta. The Royal Navy values its longstanding links with them." A reception on board was

a six-month deployment with the NATO task force Standing Naval Force Atlantic, ships drawn from the navies of the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Spain, Germany and the USA, and is now taking part in patrols and exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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