For nearly two and a half years, from June 1940 until late 1942, Malta was subjected to one Axis air raid after another.
The Mediterranean island was effectively beleaguered, reliant for defence on anti-aircraft guns and often-outnumbered fighter aircraft and dependent for survival on naval supply convoys.
The Axis attempted to bomb and starve Malta into submission, attacking ports, military and industrial areas, leading to Malta becoming one of the most intensively bombed areas of the Second World War, with well over 3000 alerts before the end of hostilities.
But against the odds, and at heavy cost, Malta was held. Malta was vital to Allied success in North Africa, dominating Axis supply routes to the region. It was a remarkable, intense campaign, a crucial turning point in the Second World War, and one of the Allies’ greatest tactical and strategic victories.
This is an account of that desperate time, as witnessed by those who were there and illustrated with their wartime photographs, together with colour images of Malta today.