Malta 10 Shillings banknote 1949 King George VI

Malta Banknotes 10 Shillings banknote 1949 King George VI and the George Cross
Malta 10 Shilling note 1949
Malta Banknotes 10 Shillings banknote 1949 King George VI
Government of Malta

Obverse: Portrait of King George VI and the George Cross that had been awarded to the people and the defenders of Malta in April 1942.
Reverse: White shield surrounded by foliage motif.
Printer: Thomas De La Rue & Company Limited, London England.

Malta banknotes - Malta paper money
The 1949 Ordinance was passed to ‘stamp’ a permanent existence on the issue of Maltese currency notes, which had always been a temporary measure to make up for the scarcity of coinage. A Currency Board was set up to oversee and control the issue of currency notes.
In 1951, the £1 and 10s denomination notes were issued, bearing the portrait of King George VI and a reproduction of the George Cross. The £1 note was brown and the 10s note was green. In 1954, the notes were re-issued with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, to mark her visit to Malta. The notes were printed by Thomas De la Rue & Co Ltd, as had been the 1951 notes.
In 1961, £5 notes were issued to facilitate economic activity, while in 1963, new editions of the £1 and 10s notes were issued, all forming part of the ‘Pictorial Series’ bearing the portrait by Pietro Annigoni of Queen Elizabeth II. The 1961 and 1963 notes were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Ltd.

10 Shillings              One Pound

George Cross
The George Cross (GC) is second in the order of wear in the United Kingdom honours system, and takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals, except the Victoria Cross. The GC is the highest gallantry award for civilians, as well as for members of the armed forces in actions for which purely military honours would not normally be granted.
   The George Cross was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of the Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage. The existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore it was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds more generally.
   Announcing the new award, the King said:
In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution.
   The medal was designed by Percy Metcalfe. The Warrant for the GC (along with that of the GM), dated 24 September 1940, was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941.
   The GC replaced the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM); all holders of the EGM were instructed to exchange their medals for a GC, a substitution of awards unprecedented in the history of British decorations. This substitution policy ignored holders of the Albert Medal (AM) and the Edward Medal (EM), awards which both took precedence over the EGM. The anomaly was rectified in 1971, when the surviving recipients of the AM and the EM became George Cross recipients and were invited to exchange their medal for the George Cross. Of the 64 holders of the Albert Medal and 68 holders of the Edward Medal eligible to exchange, 49 and 59 respectively took up the option.

Award of the George Cross to Malta
The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI of the United Kingdom in a letter dated 15 April 1942 to the island's Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the great siege it underwent in the early parts of World War II. The George Cross is woven into the Flag of Malta and can be seen wherever the flag is flown.

   While Italian and German bombers brought havoc to the Maltese islands, the problem of supplies was soon felt. An invasion threat in July 1941 ended in complete failure when coast defenders spotted torpedo boats of the Italian Decima MAS special forces. Whilst people suffered hunger, a final assault to neutralise the island was ordered by the German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. However, the people's heroism withstood every attack. On 15 April 1942 King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta in appreciation of their heroism.
   The George Cross was awarded during the worst period for the Allies during the Second World War, as the Axis-force clearly appeared to have the upper hand. German planes were striking the island around the clock, day and night, with an incredible amount of bombs and munitions in an attempt to neutralise the British bases in Malta, since these were constantly getting in the way of their naval attempts to supply Rommel's North African campaign. Malta's geographic position, wedged as it is between Italy and North Africa, as well as dividing the Mediterranean basin into east and west put the islands in heavy danger. Malta-based British aircraft could reach as far as Tripoli in Libya to the south, Tunisia to the west and right over German bases in Italy; on Pantelleria, Sicily and even as far as the port of Naples farther to the north. Thus, standing right on the route of Italian convoys supplying Rommel's Afrika Korps.
   At the time of the George Cross award, military resources and food rations in Malta were practically finished. Fuel was restricted to military action and heavily rationed, the population was on the brink of starvation, and even ammunition was running out, so much that Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns could only fire a few rounds per day.
   Italian battleships of the Regia Marina out-gunned the British, yet the Royal Navy was far from out-classed. The German airforce had superior aircraft until late in the day, when Spitfires were finally sent to Malta. Also at this time, German and Italian strategists were planning Operation Herkules, a sea and air invasion of the Maltese Islands, an effort continuously postponed — until it was too late, because the Maltese Islands finally received their vital supply of fuel, food and munitions.
   On 15 August 1942 (feast of Santa Maria) a convoy of Royal and Merchant Navy ships made port at Valletta's Grand Harbour, after completing one of the most heroic maritime episodes in recent history. To-date, this event remains commemorated in Malta in remembrance of that gift from heaven, the Convoy of Santa Maria, and all the men who lived and died in this and previous attempts to bring supplies to Malta.

   One of only two collective awards of the George Cross was the award to Malta. This award was made by King George VI to the Governor of Malta by letter dated 15 April 1942:
"To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.", (sgd) George R.I.

Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie answered:
By God's help Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won.
The public award ceremony in Valletta wasn't held until September 13, 1942 until after the arrival of the Santa Maria Convoy.

The Cross and the King's message are today found in the War Museum in Fort Saint Elmo, Valletta. The fortitude of the population under sustained enemy air raids and a naval blockade which almost saw them starved into submission, won widespread admiration in Britain and other Allied nations. Some historians argue that the award could have been a propaganda gesture to justify the huge losses sustained by Britain to prevent Malta from capitulating as Singapore had done in the Battle of Singapore.