On This Day…

16th April 1942 Malta awarded the George Cross


On this day in 1942 the island of Malta was awarded the George Cross in recognition of the gallantry of the island’s population during the siege of Malta which began in 1940.

Malta was strategically important to the Allies and needed to be defended and resupplied at all costs. In June 1942, Lieutenant Donald Hutley was on board the armed merchant ship SS Aagtekerk during an attempt to relieve Malta. The ship was attacked by German aircraft just off the coast of Libya and received three or four hits. Her cargo was a dangerous one: high explosives, acid and petrol. Hutley got the men away safely and then was aggressive in tackling fires on hatches over holds containing explosives. He was one of the last men to leave the ship and was awarded the George Medal.