Make your own free website on Tripod.com
INDEX PAGE


EXTRACTS FROM SIMON CUSENS' LETTERS RE

60th ANNIVERSARY OF "OPERATION PEDESTAL"

2002 in Malta:     PART TWO: AFTER THE 2002 REUNION





Last Update: 25 April 2004


To read extracts from Simon's earlier letters please go to Part One





CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SIMON CUSENS:

Tel: +356 21 344345 (office)
Fax : +356 (21) 343952 (office)
E-mail: scusens@technoline-mt.com





Subject: All's well that ends well.........
Date: October 03, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

By the time you get this, most of you are back home, hopefully safe and sound.

Though you have all expressed your thanks to us personally, we want to equally thank you all for this incredible life experience that I am sure, all the members of the Organising Committee will cherish for the rest of their lives.

This was a celebration as much as it was a commemoration, of Malta's greatest wartime achievement that has earned itself a milestone place in Malta's 20th Century "Hall of Fame"............with you as the Protagonists!

Part of the objective during those days was to re-educate the latest generation so as not to forget that very epic that kept our Island's dignity intact during those dark times.

We feel that the last days' Events have impacted the population somewhat to have that 'flame' rekindled and once again burning bright. Several veterans have successfully met up with De La Salle College school children whom we hope, together with the kids on your side, will keep the link between your and our going anew.

Thank you dear Veterans, for celebrating with us this wonderful moment..............a celebration of virtues and values constituting the very essence of Life. We will never forget those days and we will equally never forget you!

Thank you for your wonderful acquaintance and you will hear from us later.




Subject: In memoriam: Kenneth Arthur Chittock, Ex: HMS Indomitable
Date: October 22, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Amidst a steady stream of letters we are still receiving, came one this morning with a sad but inevitable note concerning one of the veterans who attended the 60th Anniversary Reunion on Malta.

The following is part of a message sent in by Frederick Sigley, ex-HMS Indomitable from Stoke-on-Trent.

."..An inevitable sad note has to be recorded in that my old and highly regarded ex shipmate in HMS Indomitable, Mr Ken Chittock, ex Detective Chief Inspector Metropolitan Police London (Flying Squad ), who had initially alerted me to contact Simon direct had returned home from Malta on the 3rd October as scheduled and had then driven up to Llandudno in North Wales from London (200M +), confirming the next HMS Indomitable re-union would be in Malta in April 2003, but sadly had passed away shortly after returning to his London home after a return journey affected by many hold-ups within days of his return.

I was immensely saddened for he was a matelot of great spirit and patriotism so typical of all Navy men of the Pedestal days with a great sense of humour to match.

My felicitations to all in the Malta Tourist Ministry and outside organisation whose foresight and industriousness made this remarkable event possible."

F T Sigley MBE
Lieutenant RN (rtd).

On behalf of the Organising Committee, we over here in Malta, send over our deepest condolances to Ken Chittock's family, to Roy Beal, (a Malta Convoys veteran who accompanied him over) and to all his HMS Indomitable shipmates.

We are consoled by the fact that the 60th Anniversary Operation Pedestal Commemoration must have given him a sense of great pride, joy and satisfaction and, though only days away from his passing, we feel priviliged to having confirmed him as one of our Honourary Citizens, making what we hope was the twilight of his final days.

... May he rest in peace and may his loved ones be consoled by knowing that Valletta too has lost a son.

Amen.




Subject: In memoriam- Cpt. Desmond Dickens, Ex Dorset
Date: October 24, 2002

Dear Veterans and Friends

Please be informed about the passing of another of Malta's dear visitors and Operation Pedestal Hero.

The following is an excerpt from an email recieved today from Mrs Ruth Dickens, wife of Cpt. Desmond Dickens, past Operation Pedestal Reunion organiser and former Elder Brother of Trinity House, London:

"... our dear Desmond Dickens passed on at the 23rd at 6.40am peacefully and serene. Do not be sad that maybe the wonderful week you all gave us took its toll. He suffered 3 strokes on his return, became bedridden and we nursed him at home. He was so very very happy that he had accomplished the reunion, very proud of the certificate of honour, so went out on a cloud."

DAG Dickens as he was affectionately known to his friends (initials of his first three names) was an Apprentice on board MV Dorset in Pedestal and was the co-organiser of the 25th, 30th and 40th Operation Pedestal Reunions in Malta over the years, together with his good friend John Axisa from Sliema, Malta (currently 96 years old, bed bound and in poor health) and other Malta friends. DAG was very fond of Malta and of that epic Mission. He followed Pedestal Commemorations all his life , attended the Operation Pedestal lunch at Trinity House as recent as last September and was extremely keen to attend this year's 60th Anniversary Commemoration in Malta.

I am certainly not qualified to write an Obituary that would do credit to DAG's values and lifetime contributions as I have only known him for those 8 memorable days. I can only confirm that he was extremely satisfied to have made it to the 60th Anniversary. Suffice to say that his eyes did most of the talking every time I asked whether he was pleased to have made it knowing he was in defiance of medical advice to the contrary.

I did not want to embarass DAG by pointing out how his eyes swelled every time I asked how he was feeling during particularly special moments during that week and his firm handshake confirmed the tell tale signs in his eyes.

For those of you who haven't placed him, DAG was an extremely smart and elegant tall man, albeit wheelchair bound most of the time, and liked to wear his traditional very english wide brimmed white hat with a black band. He was attended by his wife Ruth and their son (who travelled from South Africa) and daughter whilst in Malta.

I am extremely humbled to have recieved word several times from his wife, son and daughter both during and after the Event about how special those 8 days were for Desmond.

In a recent letter I recieved from his daughter, she pointed out that DAG told them his recent stay was one of the most beautiful moments of his life and for that, I would like to extend the family's appreciation onto the Organising Committee who made their stay in Malta such a memorable one.

I salute a brave Captain, great friend of Malta and another Valletta son who departs this earth never to be forgotten by this grateful George Cross Island of Malta.

To his family, and on behalf of all the members of the Organising Committee, it was our honour to know him and I offer my deepest condolances and sympathy on all our behalf.

Our thoughts are with the family at this time. We shall miss him.

May perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace,

Amen.




Subject: "Santa Marija Convoy" limited edition signed Prints
Date: November 04, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

I attach an Order Form (PDF file) for those of you who know anyone who wishes to purchase any of the Limited Edition artist (and nine veterans) signed "Santa Marija Convoy" Prints.These are different to those distributed here in so far as the signatures are concerned, otherwise they are identical. [Please Click Here to view Edwin Galea Painting]


Details about the Print are on the form. The Form does not include post or carriage charges which will be advised at cost when available.

All Proceeds are in aid of the Military Transport Museum Project.

Please feel free to pass on copies of the form to anyone who may be interested.

Delivery is expected to start before Christmas and orders are accepted on a 'until stocks last' basis.




Subject: Pedestal centre spread in 'The Sun' today
Date: November 11, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

My journalist and friend from The Sun, Rob Dalton, son of Les Dalton, Ex HMS Eagle, sent me an email to point out a special Pedestal Commemmoration Centre Spread ihe wrote for today's edition of The Sun. He was here in Malta for the Commemoration.

Perhaps, like myself, you would like to buy a copy for your information. [Rob Dalton can be contacted at rob.dalton@the-sun.co.uk.]




Subject: Pedestal Group Photo
Date: November 11, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

This attachment was one of the most requested pics since your return. Please accept it courtesy of The Sun website.

Please click Here for Photo

The late Cpt DAG Dickens can be seen in the foreground in the red wheelchair in between two gents in conversation behind him.

Can anyone point out the late Ken Chittock to me? I haven't placed him in my mind yet.




Subject: new veteran
Date: November 12, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Please welcome a new veteran, Des Lee, former Deck Boy on the Dorset during Pedestal. Des was recently discovered by fellow veteran Don Baskerville in New Zealand. Don is also from NZ. Please join me in welcoming him to the Pedestal Reunion Group.

He may be reached at :

des.ngaire@xtra.co.nz




Subject: MOD website , The Sun article and more
Date: November 12, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Someone sent me this link from the Ministry of Defence website

http://www.news.mod.uk/news_headline_story.asp?newsItem_id=1926

It is their version of Operation Pedestal. Pity it leaves out Bramham and Penn's role and other highlights but there you go........only those who were there or those who read about it in detail can fully appreciate it. Enjoy it regardless. If you liked yesterday's fantastic tribute in The Sun, write in to journalist, Rob Dalton and tell him at: rob.dalton@the-sun.co.uk

I obtained a copy of the paper dated November 11th. It was the perfect date for such an article. The date England chose to honour its war heroes.

It was a centre spread and an absolutely fantastic tribute, definitely the best one by the media so far. Well done Rob! I know you will be reading this.

More so, I got a call today telling me that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has conveyed her appreciation to the Malta Government for honouring England and Malta's Heroes during the 60th Anniversary Commemoration. I am informed that was reported in today's edition of the Malta Independent.




Subject: Fw: BBC NEWS Europe The men who remember war
Date: November 14, 2002


Enjoy this article -- Please Click Here -- sent in by my friend Major Ivan Consiglio from the Armed Forces of Malta.

It came off the BBC on line website. Mr Casciani from the BBC was mingling with you in Malta. he wrote the article and it includes some photos taken in Malta.






Subject: Weblinks
Date: 14 Nov 2002:


Two more weblinks you may wish to check out. The second one is in German.

http://www.usmm.org/malta.html
www.malta-direkt.de/mla-home.php3




Subject: In Memoriam: Commander Gerhart (Gary) S. Suppiger, Jr., USNR
Date: 14 Nov 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Though Gary, as he was known, was not with us in Malta, he was certainly with us in spirit. He was very very disappointed to have to miss it due to health reasons.

I have the honour to have spoken a few times with him and the privilage to known his very personal accounts in Pedestal which he shared with me and a few of which will stay between me and him.

I greatly appreciated his sharing of certain accounts that concerned the sometimes harsh realities of life on board a ship which one would normally keep to oneself but Gary felt that due to my great interest in the Mission, I should know.

I shall be eternally grateful to him for giving me insights and perspectives that I would otherwise not have known. All is recorded in a neatly bound file now in my much valued possession. I want to share with you Gary's last email to me received on 9th September 2002:

"Dear Shipmate,

I acknowledge receipt of all your e-mails with the latest of September 6th, which outlines more wonderful items on the Pedestal reunion agenda.

I am still recuperating from my June 6th knee surgery, ER visit with a heart problem, ER visit with urinary problems, and 4 days of tests at a hospital in St. Louis. I drove my car last week for the first time in 3 months.

Presumably Lonnie Dales will not be able to come for health reasons -- I feel sorry for him, because I know it means a lot. Give him my regards.

We have been to Malta one time since WW II on a cruise ship, and I look forward to another visit when I have some energy.

Sincerely,

Gary Suppiger "

I notice only now I had forgotten to pass on his regards to Lonnie Dales, ex Santa Elisa in Pedestal who is now in copy of this email and in failing health too.

Here follows the email I received from Gary Suppiger's wife yesterday, Mary Jeanne:

"It is with great sadness that I received your message that Captain Dickens suffered several strokes and passed away shortly after attending the Pedestal Reunion. He and Gary were great friends and he was the inspiration for all the Pedestal reunions held in England. Gary and I were fortunate to have attended the 40th and the 50th in London. My condolences to Ruth Dickens and their four children. Gary was so disappointed that his health did not permit him to make the lengthy trip to Malta to attend the 60th. It was exciting to read of all the plans for the Reunion and we have the highest praise for all concerned with carrying out a very ambitious program of events.

It is my sad duty to report that Gerhart S. Suppiger, Jr., Commander, USNR was hospitalized on Oct. 9 for a severe back pain, contracted pneumonia with a staph infection in the hospital and was in intensive care for 12 days prior to his death on October 25th. He had excellent care at St. Louis' premier hospital, but couldn't overcome the many complications that arose. Our three children, Gerhart III, Anne , and Ellen and I were with him for many hours each day. He was 83 years old.

I shall attach a copy of his obituary and a program with his photo and a "My Hero" story written by his grandson, Gerhart S. Suppiger IV, for a 3rd grade school assignment. We are all very proud of him and appreciate him as a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather"

...I salute Gary from here. I am pleased to inform his dear wife that as Gary is still entitled to receive his Honorary Citizenship of Valletta Award as he was still living during the week of the 60th Anniversary Commemoration, as with all the other Awards still pending for those who were unable to be with us in September. I will be following on those lists with the Mayor of the Valletta City Council in the near future.

To Mary Jeanne, her children and grandchildren, I offer my deepest sympathy. It was both a pleasure and an honour to know Gary.

I will make sure that he will be made known to all maltese to be remembered always in the Section to be dedicated to the famed Malta Convoys within the proposed Military Transport Museum.

The city of Valletta bids farwell and salutes another great Son.

May he rest in eternal peace, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Amen




Subject: new veteran found - Cyril Codd Ex-HMS Victorious
Date: November 25, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Recently I went to The Times of Malta building in Valletta and overheard a British lady asking Reception about the Operation Pedestal Event as her dad was in Pedestal and was in fact waiting for her outside...

Of course, I couldn't help butting in and after a short chat, took both of them to my office where we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours going through photos and clippings.

Cyril did not hear about the Event and was so sorry to have missed it. At least, I will add him to the pending list of non attendees awaiting their Honorary Citizenship of Valletta and he can look forward to the Video which is being worked on.

We have obtained some fantastic video footage from that week. You will have a very nice Souvenir of those days if you order a copy. I hope to advise you on that in the coming days.

Meanwhile, those of you who wish to contact Cyril, who lives South of London may do so at: ccodd@hotmail.com




Subject: new veteran discovered- John 'Jock' Crawford Ex- HMS Wilton
Date: November 25, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

Allow me to share another newly discovered veteran from the Pedstal Convoy. With a nickname like 'Jock' he is obviously a northerner. In fact he is from Alexandria, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.

He may be reached via a relative at: Byron616@aol.com.




Subject: more new veterans Bill Rowell and Roy J. Brockway
Date: November 26, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

This is to announce the locating of two more veterans:

Bill Rowell from Winchester, Hampshire and Ex HMS Eagle. He was an Air Mechanic in the Ship Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
Roy J. Brockway from Stanmore,Winchester, Hampshire and ex HMS Wishart.

I will be contacting them to learn more about their contributions and participation in Pedestal.




Subject: new veteran - James Bowie Ex Melbourne Star
Date: November 26, 2002


Following yet another new veteran discovery by Danny Omara [Brisbance Star], I enclose some information about James Bowie sent in by the acquaintance who told Danny of him:

"He was the 4th engineer on the Melbourne Star. Pedestal was actually his very first voyage on the ship ( what an introduction ) although he made voyages after this including to Argentina. I mentioned in my last e,mail he escaped the final voyage as he took his leave with Captain McFarlane. He said that his reason for this was that sailors if they thought they had a " lucky " captain they tried to stay with them which he did and it saved his life. He also mentioned that he was nearly killed when the Waimarama took its direct hit. He was on deck having a break when it happened. His ship was directly behind and sailed right through the middle of the carnage. The person he was talking to on deck panicked and headed for the rail to jump and he burst into flames. Jim said he was ready to do the same but in a split second he decided to dive through a doorway. War is a horrible thing as you will know yourself. Jim also indicated he actually has a lot of memories and details of the Melbourne Star including a copy of the Radio Operators full log detail " timeline " of the battle which I am sure is an interesting thing to read.

A little update for you on what happened to Jim. After the war Jim became a motor engineer. He started his own business in 1948 in Dunfermline and the company has been succesfully trading for 52 years. As a result he is very well known in his local area. He only retired full time 3 or 4 years ago to look after his wife. His son now runs the business. The company has its own website which you can view at www.bowiesofdunfermline.fsbusiness.co.uk and it includes a photograph of Jim as he is today. His story had a happy ending unlike many others."





Subject: Jim Hutchison - HMS Phoebe
Date: November 28, 2002


Dear Veterans and friends

This is a message received from Roy Pavely about Jim Hutchison
"Dear Simon, Sorry to inform you that our intrepid diver Jim Hutchison of HMS Phoebe was taken ill on his return from Malta, and has been diagnosed to have a Lung Tumour. He is now in hospital. We hope to receive some better news later on, and will keep you informed of his progress. Roy Pavely Secretary HMS Phoebe Association.
PS - I was able to purchase a full size copy of the Group photo from the Sun Newspaper, this will now be added to our memorobilia. "

We wish Jim a successful recovery. Jim had dived on the Phoebe to repair torpedo damage in Pedestal and was still diving recently with a Historical Diving Society.

He is still a fighter....

Best of luck Jim, from all of us.




Subject: Jim Hutchison Update
Date: December 5th, 2002


Dear Veterans and Friends

The following recently received from Jim's son, Peter:
Just an update concerning Jim's condition. Jim has a large tumour on his right lung. He is due to go into Guys Hospital in London today (4th Dec) or tomorrow for an operation to remove the tumour on Friday(6th Dec).

We don't know how long he will be in Guys, his consultant has said some of his recovery will be in Medway Hospital in Medway Towns (near his home) after the operation. The recovery is likely to take three months or more.

Jim will be in Dorcas Ward, 6th Floor, New Guys House, Guys Hospital, St.Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RT.

Just of interest I am Jim's son Peter. I run the diving company started by Jim 30 years ago. I am coming out with a dive team to Malta this Sunday (8th Dec) to run one of our company jobs being carried out next week in Valletta Harbour.

Please pass the information concerning Jim on to anyone who might be interested in his group of old comrades.

Many thanks,
Peter Hutchison.
We wish him a successful intervention and recovery and I will keep you posted.




Subject: In memoriam- Samuel Lawrence, Ex- HMS Pathfinder
Date: Thursday, January 02, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

Last August and before the Reunion on Malta, Sammy Lawrence of the Pathfinder, passed away. His son Stephen asked me to circulate this info he kindly sent me recently to you all for your general information.

According to some accounts, the Pathfinder was involved in the rescue of some of the Almeria Lykes crew after she was abandoned in Pedestal. Peter C Smith's "Pedestal" recounts other details of how Pathfinder found itself in the heat of the action during Pedestal. Bob Waxman who is in copy of this mail was on the Almeria Lykes, one of only two American crew ships in Pedestal. Bob was here in September as our only American participant.

We also have a surviving veteran from the Pathfinder who was also here in September. He is Harry Gillatt from Preston, Lancs, UK. Harry does not have access to email so he is oblivious to these transmissions but I will arrange for Bob and Stephen to get in touch with him, if they wish.

This is the info provided by Stephen Lawrence about his father:
"My father - SAMUEL LAWRENCE (SAMMY), sadly passed away in August this year at the age of 79.

Brought up in the 'Seaside' area of Llanelli, South Wales, he and my grandfather also called Sammy were prolific and successful swimmers in the area. He was a great character, and would often reminisce about what he called 'The Malta Convoy' and of what they went through - he thought he would never see home again.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy as an ABS in 1941 at the age of 17 and took part in the 'Battle of the Atlantic' and 'Operation Pedestal'. He joined one of the escort destroyers to the Convoy 'HMS PATHFINDER' at Scapa Flow. The 'PATHFINDER' was bombed and badly damaged at 'Ramree Island' in Burma which saw the end of her service.

The story my father told me was that they were moored in a river called a 'Chong' and lashed to a tree in the Burmese jungle. The lookout gave several calls of 'enemy aircraft approaching'. The bridge confirmed that there were no reported enemy aircraft in the area and no action was taken. The next thing they knew, they were bombed by a Japanese aircraft and hit in the stern, I believe.

After the war 'Sammy' worked as a Steel Erector and Steeplejack until well after retirement age. He was a good father, a great character and a friend to everyone. He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.

My father would have loved to have been at the reunion this year, and so would I. I would be grateful if other crew members of the 'PATHFINDER' would like to get in touch with me.

Stephen Lawrence
E-Mail: SLawrence@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

....May perpetual Light shine upon his soul and may he rest in peace. Amen. Gone from his family but not forgotten.




Subject: New Veteran Fred Goodwin-HMS Derwent, and other matters
Date: Thursday, January 09, 2003 9:55 AM


Dear Veterans and Friends

Going through PART of the remaining unfiled documents as things gradually return to normality, I have discovered an unannounced veteran from Pedestal now living in Victoria, Australia.

He is not accessible (yet?) by email to my knowledge.

His name is Fred Goodwin.

This brings up the known HMS Derwent veterans from two to three,the others being James R. Matthews of Cornwall, England and M. Ross of New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Should anyone require to contact Fred by post, kindly contact me for further details.

I have almost finalised the next List of veterans eligible for the Honorary Citizenship of Valletta Award, which title was conferred by the Valletta Local Council Mayor specifically for surviving Operation Pedestal veterans. It will probably be sent out to the Mayor tomorrow and will include well over a hundred names.

I also have an RAF Malta veteran who is trying to compile surviving RAF Malta personnel who defended in Pedestal, as they would also be eligible for the Honorary Citizenship Award.

Meanwhile, I will concude the design issues that delayed the printing of the Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Operation Pedestal Print Information Booklet this week and expect delivery from the printers by 1st week of February. The delay is regretted.

I also have made progress on the Video and have at least one more meeting with National Television to go before I can advise further details. It would consist of two parts: the first being a general screening of highlights from the whole 8 days, the second will be the exact same transmission by National Television of the Friday 27th September Reenactment, as shown on TV the following day and at Les Lapins Hotel.

Wishing you all good health and an enjoyable day,

Your friend in Malta,




Subject: Malta Medal
Date: Friday, January 10, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

My recent circulation about the Malta Medal, struck on the 50th Anniversary of the George Cross Award in 1992 contained some innaccuracies.

The medal is NOT identical to the original (which is no longer available since the deadline for applications closed, I believe, in 1994 or 1995) as inadvertently stated.

It carries a small word 'kopja' meaning 'copy' on one face and has no milling on the edges, I am now reliably informed.

It is only available to those who rendered service in or for the Siege of Malta between June '40 and September '43. It will NOT be supplied without one's submitting detailed information confirming service duty in or for Malta between the above stated dates.

I am informed by Peter Rothwell RAF WWII Malta veteran and Editor with the George Cross Island Association that this is the only medal authorised to be worn in line with other campaign medals though I can only assume this applies also to the 'copy' medal as I am not knowledgeable as to whether the copy may be worn at all.

This is a subjective arguement perhaps or maybe someone out there can shed light on the matter and tell us if the copies may be officially worn or not, for my re-circulation to all.

Once again, for your information, it may be only be Officially obtainable (and with proof of service) from:

Award Productions Ltd
DPT.M., PO Box 300
Shrewsbury
SY5 6WP
UK
Tel: 01952 510053
Fax: 01952 510765
email: award@crown-lane.co.uk




Subject: New veteran-Arthur Little Ex- Waimarama
Date: Friday, January 10, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

I am happy to announce the discovery of:

Arthur Little

found in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. (date of birth is 25th October 1919. )

This is an excerpt from an acquantaince's (Mark Fennell) email to Danny Omara ( Ex-Brisbane Star) about Arthur Little. Danny very kindly forwarded all to me for my register of surviving Siege of Malta veterans and their whereabouts:
Message Excerpt:

"He will probably lynch me for this!!, but in the past his family have coerced him into accepting recognition of his duties. In fact, when I spoke to him by telephone , he told me a lot of the sinking that I never knew before. I think he was getting a bit emotional but still kept on talking, and above all, it was intriguing. Quite abhorent horror, the likes of what the young today would never see, and a lot of them must live in a surreal hell within their own minds, for it was sadly a forced part of their growing up. Years ago, one sad thing I saw was in a military cemetary in Thailand, and a tombstone inscription read....(name), died...., Loved son of (mothers name), aged 18 years. Bloody hell, the lad didnt even have a youth, before life was taken from him. Such is the horror of war, and I think that all servicemen who survived had to live the rest of their lives around the imprint of some horror in the subconscious mind. In fact, I wonder how some coped so well. With the uncle (well, he is not a blood uncle, but he is one of the first people I recall having met in my infancy. He is just a friend of my father, that's all.), he seemed to put it behind himself and just get on with life.

The way he talked on the phone, though, the images in his mind are still very real and strong. Uncle Arthur was talking to Radio Officer Jackson just prior to the latter having the wall of flame pass in front of him."


I know Simon Treeves, son of Freddy Treeves of the Waimarama would be intrigued about this discovery. Hope his dad enjoys hearing about it.

This means that we now know of three surviving Waimarama veterans from Pedestal after Alan Bernett in California and Freddy Treeves in Wimbledon.




Subject: New veterans found update
January 19, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

This is just to inform you of the following recently discovered 32 new veterans! (Courtesy of Mr Griffiths and Robin Owen).

...These gentlemen were invited to the Operation Pedestal Lunch at Trinity House, London last September 16th 2002 and I was until now unaware of their details:

Ansell, A HMS Nelson
Anthony, D C HMS Foresight
Baker, A
Barker, R J HMS Victorious
Bolton, J R HMS Nigeria
Cooper, D
Copley, H
Creasey, M
Dalgleish, J L MV Glenorchy
Davies, A C MV Dorset
Dixon, J
Elmes, S HMS Indomitable
Fawcett, E C HMS Bramham
Gibbs, A J HMS Ashanti
Griffiths, N R HMS Sirius
Hadcoat, J N
Hoskins, M J MV Wairangi
Keeble, D R
Lee, N HMS Cairo
Miller, D R HMS Indomitable
Ramsden, P HMS Eskimo
Saxby-Soffe, R HMS Cairo
Shepherd, D HMS Wishart
Sherwin, E C HMS Eagle
Short, F HMS Victorious
Symes, E D MV Brisbane Star
Taplin, K R HMS Manchester
Vincent, I T MV Wairangi
Walker, J S
White, B J HMS Somali
White, W T HMS Sirius
Williams, J HMS Ashanti


This is a welcome addition to my database and include for the first time, survivors from Wairangi and HMS Somali. I have still to determine the blank areas where the ship name is missing, meaning, I presume, that the men are known Pedestal survivors but the ship name was missed for some reason or other. I hope you may recognize former shipmates amongst these names. I have no further details at present and cannot therefore put you in touch. I am almost certain that all are resident in the UK.




Subject: Wing Commander Adrian Warburton DSO and Bar, DFC and Two Bars, DFC (USA)
January 26, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

Perhaps some of you are aware that probably the most important RAF pilot of all time, Wing Commander Adrian Warburton DSO and Bar, DFC and Two Bars, DFC ( USA), missing since April '44, has recently been discovered together with the wreckage of his aircraft in Germany.He had failed to return from that mission together with 3 other pilots. The discovery has been widely reported in UK and German newspapers and has triggered the subject of a Documentary that is in the making.

He was perhaps best immortalised by the film 'Malta Story' that was based on his character, a reconnaissance pilot, and his devoted lover, Christina Radcliffe, who worked in the Operations Room at Lascaris, Malta.

Lord Tedder, Air Marshal of the RAF (when AOC-in-C Middle East) called him " The most valuable pilot in the RAF".

Recently, arrangements were in hand for a military service and burial with full Honours planned for next May in Berlin, Germany, close to the area where his skeletal remains and aircraft wreckage were found.

I recently traced and called Warby's family (as he was known) and discussed the more important contributions he is credited with during his 3 years of work in Malta during the worst of the blitz. His battle honours were all in relation to work carried out for Malta. Perhaps he is best remembered for recce ( photographic) work before the Sicily landings, the locating of Rommel's convoys for the bombers, photographing Taranto harbour before that incredibly successful attack that almost annihilated the entire Italian Navy in one sweep and the mapping of the North African Coastlines and similar daring missions.

Following letters in the maltese media from our two most senior war historians suggesting that Warby should be buried here, I wrote to our Government and the British High Commission to substantiate these claims.

Following a long discussion with the family, I had the great honour to be informed only today that the family have agreed to the request to have Warby interred in Malta instead of Germany and at the Cappuccins Naval Cemetery in Kalkara where many of his former mates lie. The family will shortly inform the Ministry of Defence accordingly and I sincerely hope that the MOD will be in agreement with the family' s wishes.

Warby deserves to be laid to rest here with so many of his mates as much as Malta deserves the same honour to embrace him and his memory. He will have many a following over here and will be revered as is fitting by all those who know of his bravery and exploits for Malta.

It is hoped that arrangements for his burial would coincide with the 59th anniversary of his death on 12th April 2003 at which time, over 100 Siege of Malta veterans would be coincidentally visiting Malta for their Annual GCIA Reunion. This would permit Warby to be amongst former friends and colleagues for a formal and final Farewell.

Of course, arrangements still have to await endorsement by the MOD and clearance, final decisions of the family and are therefore subject to change.

Christina Radcliffe is alleged to have died here in Malta and I am told she is also buried here. She passed away in the late 80's or early 90's and it is a pity she has missed the discovery that she had waited in vain so long for over 50 years.

This decision by the family follows in the footsteps of RN hero of Pedestal fame, Liet. Cmdr. Roger P. Hill DSO, DFC RN, whose ashes were brought to Malta from New Zealand last September for scattering at sea off Marsaxlokk and on the same route as that of his ship, HMS Ledbury, shortly before he helped in bringing SS Ohio into Grand Harbour on 15th August '42.

A scan of Warby's CV and photograph are in the attachments, taken from the late Tony Spooner's book cover and book entitled 'Warburton's War' (ISBN 0-7183-0661-9).
Please click Here for Photo #1 Please click Here for Photo #2

[24 March 2003: See also the Times Online article Remains in Germany solve Riddle of RAF Top Pilot by Dominic Kennedy.




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Martin Case, HMS Victorious Date: March 12, 2003

Dear Veterans and Friends

This just in from Cyril Codd of HMS Victorious:

"I regret that I have to inform you that Martin Case died on 18th. February. His sister phoned me on the 21st. I had only just returned from London about 10 minutes and was going to phone him the next day. He was buried on the 26th. Feb. He was so looking forward to getting his certificate, but sadly it was not to be.

His sisters said he would be looking down at it from heaven."
Martin Case of Widns, Cheshire, was one of only three known survivors of HMS Victorious and Operation Pedestal fame.

Our sympathy goes out to his family at such time. He has been ill as of recent and is now at rest and at peace. Though he has not had the fortune of receiving his Freedom of Valletta Certificate in time, I am sure he is now in receipt of a far greater prize.

May his spirit continue to live within those who loved him so dearly and so much .

May his memory stand for the lifelong virtues he so bravely embraced and may the inhabitants of this little Island stop to ponder and salute one humble man's contribution to a glorious epic that will be long famous in history.

May perpetual light shine upon him and may he also rest in peace,

Amen.




Subject: Malta Invicta Reunion, VSC- London
24 Mar 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

I attach some pictures from that memorable gathering including the Group Photo taken on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, London. ...

The second photo is that of Charles Henry Walker GC being surprised by the unexpected presentation of the '16 year old boy', Alan Bernett, whom he saved during Operation Pedestal, amongst others, going on to win the GC for his endevour. Alan had leapt from Waimarama just before she exploded after being hit by a torpedo, taking most of her men, save 19 of them, with her. HMS Ledbury's Captain Roger Hill won his DSO for putting his ship into the flames at slow speed to rescue some of those trapped in the pockets of air of a blazing sea of ignited gasoline and oil.

Alan Bernett especially flew in from Palm Desert, California for the meeting. I must thank Peter Underwood of the UK who was instrumental in helping me trace Alan, following Peter'scoincidental posting to me of an advert clipping from the Daily Telelgraph of 13th August 2002 sent in by Alan, to thank the crew of HMS Ledbury for saving his life 60 years earlier to the day.

Alan had hoped to be able to meet his rescuer, whom he was unable to trace all these years, but whose name he never forgot.(Though Charles could not remember Alan's name, both gentlemen remembered the funny incident where Charles had to remove Alan's trousers from around his ankles as Alan tried to swim but could not stop his trousers from going down to his ankles as he did). Thus, Charles had always remarked that the last he remembered of Alan going up onto the Ledbury was the good looking, shapely back end of Alan's anatomy.....

I was able to reunite the two at the Malta Invicta Reunion and the memory of that encounter will stay with me (and Peter Underwood) for the rest of our lives.

(Please Click Here for the Group Photo).
(Please Click Here for the Charles Henry Walker GC and Alan Bernett photo).




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Francis 'Lonnie' Dales USMM, Ex-Santa Elisa, Operation Pedestal
3 Apr 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

This just in about my good friend Lonnie of Georgia, USA from his daughter:
Just wanted to let you all know that Dad ended his greatest battle on Saturday evening, 3/29/03, at Saint Joseph's Hospice in Augusta, GA. He suffers no more. Services were held yesterday morning at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church, Waynesboro, GA. His great niece played the Merchant Marine Hymm on the French horn as we gathered around the church's memorial garden where his ashes are interned.

Thank you all for your concern and prayers over the last couple of years. May God bless you always.

Fondly,
Donna Dales Lovett

Lonnie had played an incredibly brave part in Operation Pedestal and in defence of his ship who he tried, though unsuccessfully, to save. [To read the] account from the United States Merchant Marine website about Lonnie and his late friend, Frederick Larsen, Jr. who died in 1999, please visit Operation Pedestal and SS Ohio Save Malta.

.... Dear Friends, I have the great pleasure and privilige to have Lonnie's first hand account above recorded on audio tape which account I taped over the phone on January 1st 2002. Lonnie was by then approaching death within days but almost miraculously improved following an appeal I sent to 'The Times of Malta' which resulted in over 50 maltese grateful well wishers of all ages to write to him to thank him for his contribution in 1942 and to wish him well and their prayers. I see that that motivation could not have him with us last September but won him a lease of life for several months.

I shall treasure our numerous phone calls and the portrait that he kindly sent me. Lonnie's humility was such that he asked me to tell the people of Malta that he has always remembered them and that he will never forget them and the gratitude they showed him for defending SS Ohio after his ship went down.....which is the message I sent in to 'The Times'.

Another Valletta son gone but not forgotten. May his legacy stand in his memory, may his family find solace and fortitude and may God grant him eternal life.

To Marjorie, his wife, Donna and Cliff, his children, my deepest sympathy and solidarity at this time of loss.

May he rest in peace.

Amen.




Subject: Adrian Warburton RAF
May 06, 2003

Dear Veterans and Friends

This is to inform you that I have been unsuccessful in convincing RAF Innsworth to go ahead with burying the remains of WWII recce pilot, Adrian Warburton here in Malta, which remains were recently discovered in southern Germany, where he went missing on April 12th 1944. For more details on what is planned, go to the Ministry of Defence's RAF homepage at: www.raf.mod.uk/ptc/warburton.html where one can also view a few never released before 'Warby' pictures.

Wing Commander Warburton served in Malta throughout the Siege between 1941-1943 after which he was posted elsewhere to assist in the Allies's war effort as the action by then had homed in onto Nazi Germany. Considering that the average lifespan of an RAF Malta pilot in 1942 was six weeks from arrival, Warburton survived and persevered against all odds.

Some would call his fatalistic attitude to his 'work' and sheer carelessness about his life as utter madness whilst others draw reference to it as bravery most supreme.

But perhaps 'Warby' was best immortalised by the late Tony Spooner's book, "Warburton's War".

Having located the owner of his plane's wreckage, I am now making a case to have part of that wreckage brought back to Malta to be encapsulated in some kind of memorial tribute to the most valuable RAF pilot of all time (in the words of Air Marshall Tedder).

Sadly, his contributions and exploits in Malta for which he won all of his decorations seems to be eclipsed or sidelined by UK media which media seem to prefer to make more generic references to his lesser significant contributions later on in the war and after he left Malta.

After having read about Warby, I concluded that if, for arguements sake, and with an objectivity free of any emotion or bias, one had to choose one single person alone from all of the three Services during WWII whose collective exploits and endevours proved most debilitating, impacting and damaging to the Axis' campaign in North Africa and to the defence of Southern Italy, then it could only be:


Wing Commander Adrian Warburton RAF , DSO and Bar, DFC and two Bars, DFC (USA).

May he be laid to rest and may his memory continue to inspire...
Gone but never forgotten by my friends John Agius MBE, John Mizzi and other grateful people of Malta.
We will continue to tell Malta of him.





Subject: Wing Commander Warburton finally laid to rest
May 23, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends

One of the greatest Heroes of Malta WWII fame and of the whole of the RAF has finally been laid to rest after being lost for 59 years. He was found in a German field after having gone missing during a Mission on April 12th 1944.

I had been unsuccessful in having Warby interred here in Malta due to a long standing practice within the RAF to bury the dead where they fall...............(except those who fell during the Iraq war it seems). It was a pity that Warby will now lie in a place very difficult for his many fans to get to in order to pay their respects and far away from his fallen comrades buried in Malta.

Click on the link below to visit the MOD website with pictures and an article about the funeral. I have had the pleasure, recently, to meet with Jack Vowles, a long time friend of Warby. He may be seen standing alone in one of the photographs head bowed, if you click on the link below: www.raf.mod.uk/ptc/warburtonceremony.html.

Parts of Warby's aircraft and the Union Jack that draped his coffin are already in Malta having been presented some days ago to an Aviation Museum by Jack Vowles in person. Warby and his considerable exploits have been recently given widespread coverage by UK and Maltese media.

It is important that his contributions are remembered and I will do my part going forwards, to tell all about a person who a wartime Air Marshall Tedder called "probably the most valuable pilot in the RAF".




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Arthur 'Ginger' Jones, MV Brisbane Star
August 27, 2003


Dear Veterans and Friends,

The following sad message received today from Ginger's grandaughter.

Unfortunately Grandpa died on Saturday (23rd August 03) at 6.45pm. I was with him as was my Nan, my Dad, my Aunt and my sister. He went very peacefully with no pain and is now with our Lord.

He will be cremated at ST Matthews in Buckley, North Wales on Monday 1st Sept and then buried on Wed 3rd Sept. We are going to have a celebration service of his life so we would ask the Maltese people to do the same in remembering him.

Thank you for all your prayers.
Arthur was in the front for those of you in possession of the Group Photo taken in Valletta. He is sitting in a wheelchair to the right of my other beloved friend, the late Desmond Dickens.

"Ginger" may be remembered by some for his infectious smile and jovial, almost boyish personality nothwithstanding his obvious health restrictions. He gave a short interview to the BBC in Malta which is still running. Listen and look at "Ginger" by clicking below, then clicking on the Heading "Open in new Window: Remembering Malta", then clicking on number '5' beneath the picture. "Ginger" may then be seen in the foreground (with Edwin Armitage in the smaller picture).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2288129.stm

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may Valletta's Son rest in peace forever and ever Malta shall remember how he, together with his ship, helped save the besieged Island from starvation in 1942, when a badly hit 'Brisbane Star' struggled into Grand Harbour.....

If the Lord greets him into the Kingdom of Heaven the way the Maltese did in August of '42, that would truly be a grand welcome for a humble and unpretentious sailor as was our beloved 'Ginger'. To his family and folks, my sincere condolences.

Simon Cusens




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Thomas William Jackson RN and David Lochead MN
October 7th, 2003

Dear Veterans and Friends,

With regret, this is to inform you of the recent passing of
a. Thomas William Jackson RN formerly aboard HMS Penelope, Aurora, Lance and Lively, Operation Pedestal veteran attached to Force 'K' during the August '42 Mission. He died in his sleep in Manchester on 6th August 2003. Tom received his Hon. Citizenship of Valletta Certificate days before his death and his casket was draped with the White Ensign and Valletta's touching tribute. Tom had not travelled to the September 2002 Reunion.

a. David Lochead MN, formerly of the Rochester Castle, one of the 'famous five' merchantmen of Operation Pedestal fame. David succumbed to cancer on 20th September 2003 and the message was received from a Ms. Pearl Lochead in New Zealand where he lived. David too was recently in receipt of his Hon. Certificate which must have made him proud. David was not at the September Reunion either.


From the famous words by Laurence Binyon's poem 'For the Fallen' written in Polzeath, Cornwall less than a month after the start of WWI and published in The Times of September 21st 1914:
They shall not grow old as we that
are left to grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


To their relatives, families and friends, I offer my sincere condolences and Malta salutes two more of her dear Valletta sons.....

Simon Cusens




Subject: Fw: Crossed the Bar- Wilfred George Statham, RN FAA, HMS Indomitable
January 15, 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends

A recent and sad message from Paul Statham, son of Wilf Statham who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Pedestal Malta Reunion:
"Dear Simon Sorry I am a little late in informing you but as you will understand have been very busy, Regret to report the Death of my Father, Wilfred George Statham (Wilf) (ex- RN FAA HMS INDOMITABLE) on Thursday 11th December 2003.

On behalf of dad please let me again thank you and your colleagues for giving him the opportunity to visit Malta once again, he always had a special affection for the Islands."

Wilf has been unwell for a long time but was able to make it to both the Malta Commemoration and the Malta Invicta Reunion held in London.

May his folk remember him with pride and affection.

Echoing Admiralty's terse transmission to Cpt. Dudley Mason of 'Ohio' on entering Grand Harbour in '42, I say the same about Wilf..........." Proud to know you".

Simon Cusens




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Robert C. Waxman, SS Almeria Lykes
February 26, 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends,

I regret to announce the passing of the only American Pedestal veteran who flew out to the Malta Reunion of 2002. Here is the message received today from his daughter:
Dear Simon,

My father (Robert C. Waxman) passed away Saturday night after a lengthy and difficult battle against lung cancer and is at last at peace.

My Dad was within 1 month of his 81st birthday. He was the consummate patriot, a good husband and father. Many of his greatest memories were of the military service he performed for his country. He flew an American flag (lighted) in front of his home for amost 40 years and wore a US flag pin every day! We named our son Robert Charles in honor of his grandfather! He was his own man, a real character with tremendous personal character and integrity...and will be greatly missed.

You were a great source of pleasure and friendship to him... and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. My dad is one of the last of The Great Generation in our country. Malta's celebration of their sacrifice and patriotism was wonderful and was very much appreciated by him.

Sincerely,
Estelle Waxman Feltovich
Bob as he was known, was much appreciative of many of your 'get well' letters following a request from his brother Myron to me late last year. Pedestal had left an indelible mark on Bob and the big regret he told me about in Malta was the fact he had never thanked the boys who saved him in Pedestal when his ship, one of three American ships in Pedestal; SS Almeria Lykes, went down on the 13th August '42. To some extent, his travel to the 2002 reunion put these long harboured wishes to rest as he happily mingled with all his brothers-in-arms in Malta.

Bob is the first, to my knowledge, from the Limited Edition Print signatories to cross the bar. He was unable to sign all 700 copies due to his health condition during the 2002 Reunion and happily signed half instead. Bob kept regular touch with me but by last September, his emails weren't any longer than 5 or six words- a sign of a deterioration in his health condition.

Bob has now joined the eternal choir up in heaven where he can stand tall and proud and be free from any pain. He did his duty for Friend and Country, having travelled thousands of miles to lend a hand during this beloved George Cross Island's ordeal of 1942.

In 2002, the capital city of Malta, Valletta, honored Bob with its highest Award- making him an Honorary Citizen. Bob's name is now inscribed in the annals and evolution of a historic City built by the famous Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, often referred to as a City 'built by gentlemen for gentlemen'.

To hear Bob recount his ordeal in person, click on the Link below, scroll down to 'Open a new window' just below the paragraph starting " The Mediterrranean, declared Churchill...." and click again. You get a window called " BBC News Picture Gallery" then click again on Box No. 3, sit back and listen to Bob.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2288129.stm

The United States mourns the passing of a humble member of the 'Great Generation', Valletta mourns the passing of another brave son and Bob finally gets to receive his highest Prize yet.

To his daugther Estelle and his brother Myron, I offer my deepest condolonces.

Simon Cusens Malta GC




Subject: Veterans Helpline
Date: March 12, 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends

I am informed that the UK Government has made funds available for British WWII veterans to re-visit their old battle grounds.

The UK free phone is 0800 1692277 (War Veterans Agency Helpline) and should be called for more details. I cannot call an 0800 UK number from Malta and have already tried.

This may greatly facilitate the participation for many of you for my intended (and still unconfirmed) 2005 Reunion in Malta. I would like to hear from you in terms of to what extent these funds may cover expenses as this could be very useful for me to consider before I make my 2005 proposition to my Government.

I have also written to Buckingham Palace to try to obtain dates of Her Majesty's proposed visit to Malta likely to be accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 2005. Her Majesty and HRH usually offer their patronage for the Head Of Governments' Commonwealth Meeting which next year is to be held in Malta. I have asked for a Royal Audience for my dear Siege of Malta veteran friends and informed Her Majesty I am prepared to tie the next Reunion dates to coincide with Her visit.

I shall meanwhile continue with more discussions with our British High Commission as the Royals' Agenda is fixed by the UK Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat and not by Buckingham Palace.

Any useful contacts that any of you may have to facilitate communication with the Commonwealth Secretariat are very welcome, as are any contacts you may offer directly with the UK Government.

As you know, next year is the 60th Anniversary of the end of WWII and brings to a close all the wartime 60th anniversaries we have been commemorating worldwide since 1999. It is the ideal year to bring all Official celebrations to a close in view that the 70th anniversary 'Reunion' would be a very lonely affair and nor would any present WWII era Royals still with us be likely in any position to travel to Malta!

Any next Reunion I may be part of will be open to ALL Siege of Malta veterans from ALL the Services including surviving civilians formerly in government employ who served the war effort together with all surviving George Cross Islanders. I have already said so several times but I still get word about my being quoted to have said that the next one would be restricted to a particular category or Service only which is not the case.

I look forward to to hearing from you after you call the Helpline.

God Bless and good health

Simon Cusens
Malta GC




Subject: Veterans Agency Helpline
Date: March 16, 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends

This is a message for those British veterans who reside outside the United Kingdom and cannot call an 0800 freefone number inside the Uk.

The Veterans Agency Helpline may also be contacted by email at:

help@veteransagency.mod.uk

for more details about the new service apparently possible through funding generated by the UK National Lottery that pays part of the costs for WWII veterans wishing to visit their old battle grounds one more time.

Regards

Simon Cusens
Malta GC




Subject: Crossed the Bar- Bob Cunningham, HMS Manchester and Tony Park, HMS Tartar
Date: 17 March 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends

Please find below sad news received by yours truly in recent days:
It gives me great sadness to let you know that one of the HMS Manchester Veterans passed away this after noon 1st March 2004. Robert Cunningham Junior phones me this evening to tell me the bad news that his father Robert Cunningham Senior has crossed the bar in hospital after a long fight against illness, his son will be contacting all that new him and helped him over the next few days. Robert's passion for his old ship Manchester and late Captain Drew will stay with us for ever, and I am sure he will be above us all now having a tot or two with his old skipper. He will be dearly missed.
Simon Bennett (Friend of the family)

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death of my uncle, Tony Park - HMS
Tartar. He died on 5th March in hospital, quite suddenly of pneumonia following what we thought to be a straightforward operation.
Ray Smith (Nephew)

To their families and relatives:
Sincere Sympathy

I hope you'll understand,
Although these words are few.
Our Sympathy's sincere;
Our thoughts and prayers with you.

Your loss is shared by many
Who knew your loved one well.
So, caring thoughts are with you,
Much more than words can tell.

Just some words to let you know
How very much we care ...
May you the feel the strength of God,
As we hold you close in prayer.
by Marian Jones

God Bless

Simon Cusens
Malta GC




Subject: Crossed the Bar: Douglas Bugler -- HMML 126, Idris Gwlym Wheeler -- HMS Pathfinder ( Operation Pedestal veterans)
April 16, 2004


Dear Veterans and Friends

I report more announcements of passings earlier this year: This received from David Bugler re Douglas Bugler, ex HMML 126 (in Operation Pedestal):
It is with my deepest sadness i have to inform you of the death of my beloved father Douglas B. Bugler, 85 years of age. He passed away this morning at 6 am on the 18 of March 2004, peacefully. He often spoke of his happy memories of Malta and its people; also his love for the island of Malta. His wish was that some day he could return to Malta. Alas, it never happened for him. Unfortunately, due to his illness, he also was not aware that you, the people of Malta, had made him an Honorary Citizen of Valletta. That, I know, would have made him a very, very proud man.

Kindest regards to you and the people of Malta.

David. L. Bugler
This received from Dave Wheeler re Idris Gwlym Wheeler, ex HMS Pathfinder (in Operation Pedestal):
Sadly my father died early in February of a severe asthma attack. He was very fit for his age and cycled nearly every day of his life. During a cold snap at the end of January he had trouble with his chest -- he continued to cycle and probably pushed himself too hard. He often told me and my brother "If I can't get out and about then I don't want to be around any more". He'd been out the day before he died.

He was a very popular and well known character in the Welsh valley communities of Nant-y-glo and Brynmawr. The funeral was very well attended and he had a dignified and emotional send off. Royal British Legion representatives were present to bear the standard; he had the Welsh flag on his coffin and the Minister, in his dedication, spoke about the debt of gratitude that we all owe to the veterans of the Second World War."

Regards,
David Wheeler
To their families and friends, I extend my sincere condolences. As a Maltese, I thank them for services rendered to my country and promise their next-of-kin that their work and achievements will not be lost or forgotten.

May their contributions continue to inspire and may their memory and life bring pride to their loved ones.

Simon Cusens




Simon's Letters are Continued in PART THREE: REUNION 2005




To Return to Part One, Simon's Earlier Letters Please click Here


Simon Cusens' E-mail: scusens@technoline-mt.com
Tel: +356 (21) 344345
Fax : +356 (21) 343952


Go to Danny Omara's website Malta Convoy August 1942


Simon Cusens' Letters are part of the Allied Merchant Navy of WWII website.


To go to "Allied Merchant Navy's" TABLE of CONTENTS Please Click Here.