The Siege of Malta

"Stories Left Behind" by Edmund S. Wong

Malta Under Siege

malta 3

Granted to England by the 1814 Treaty of Paris, Malta had been used ever since as a Royal Navy base. The island, located practically in the middle of the Mediterranean, was an ideal place from which to exert control, if not dominance, over that sea. In the mid-1930s, however, as England was planning for a war in which Italy would be a probable foe, the British decided to withdraw its fleet from Malta. They had concluded that the island’s proximity to Sicily’s military air bases made it indefensible. The Mediterranean Fleet left Valletta’s fine harbor and well developed docking and yard facilities for the safety of a new base at Alexandria.

By 1940, faced with looming Axis threats to Egypt, the Suez Canal, the Middle Eastern oil supply, and British access to India and the Far East, the British reversed their thinking about Malta. They returned, albeit…

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