I Was There! - 'We Will Stick it in Malta. We Will Win'

The War Illustrated, Volume 6, No. 138, Page 253, October 2, 1942.

"It means a lot to us to know that you in England are not forgetting us. It helps us to take it when we know we are not fighting unnoticed." So writes our young Maltese correspondent, John Mizzi, in another letter to the Editor, some of the most interesting passages of which are printed below.

One day in April last a Maltese L.A.C. training in Canada, stepped out of a train and went to the restaurant of the railway station. It happened that the Governor-General of Canada, the Earl of Athlone, came to the same restaurant just as the L.A.C. was sitting down. The earl stopped in the doorway and scanned the room. His eyes alighted on the world "Malta" on the aircraftman's tunic. He went op to him at a brisk pace with a smile on his face, gave him a friendly pad on the back, and sat down at the same table as the Maltese lad. He praised Malta, and before leaving would you believe? it? he invited the Maltese L.A.C. to pay him a visit at his home in Ottawa, if he ever happened to be there.

All this tribute to my little island, when you outside Malta don't even know three-fourths of what we have been enduring ... We will stick it, though. Better this than hear the tramp of German jackboots and the unending bragging of the Italians. I know we will win. I feel it in my bones. I see Britain's air might growing here. I see Germany's biting the dust. The R.A.F. is grand. Had it not been for the Spitfires and the men who fly them Malta would have been in a far worse fix. I won't say Malta would have been crushed. Malta never will be crushed never. God knows whom to protect, as much as we know Whom to ask for help. It is not very hard to see that Almighty God has his arms round little Malta.

If I look from by back window I see a house razed to the ground; if I look from the balcony I see the spot where a boy was killed by a dirty Italian tip-and-run raider. If I go into the garden I might tumble in a crater from an exploded D.A. bomb; if I go on the roof I see the planes, the Spitfires confident and eager, the four-engined planes, and the sleek fast-moving Beauforts protected by the odd-shaped Beaufighters; and underneath this canopy of air might I see, through the tears in my eyes, I see destruction. My poor island blown to pieces, fields uplifted, and every corner the scene of some tragedy. But I see something else. I see the people weaving in and out of the rubble, laughing, confident in God, sure of victory; and the spirit of the men of 1565, and of the murdered of 1940, 1941, 1942, looking on with sympathy and pride.

There is at a certain spot in Valetta a statue of Christ the Kind with Malta kneeling in fervent prayer at His feet. This statue is on the outskirts of the city, and was surrounded by trees, situated in an airy place overlooking the two harbours. I wish you could see it now. More bombs have fallen round that spot than any other place in the whole world. The trees there now are leaning sideways, black and withering. The small garden around the monument is one huge crater, and all around there is devastation and desolation. But there God still reigns supreme, with Malta never losing faith at His feet. The statue is not even bruised. That is a sigh from God. A man can be killed, but not his faith. Man may have his way, but God sees all and pays back in due time and in due proportions.

Not long ago bombs fell in our garden. The bomb-disposal squad men came, three in all, an officer and two N.C.O.s, to explode them. The lieutenant was a strapping lad of twenty-one, with red face and unruly hair. He and the other two were the coolest men on earth. They picked up the bombs as if they were loaves of bread, took them to a field and exploded them there. Father called them in and gave them drinks, and our neighbours gave them fruit, grapes or figs. They had been exploding bombs all day.

Well, the couple of N.C.O.s went to where my brother was looking at some "comics" and picked up on each. "Better than bombs", grinned one. "Haven't seen any of these for ages." They were human, after all, these man who were playing with death themselves to save others from death...

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