From the spring of 1915, the hospitals and convalescent depots established on the islands of Malta and Gozo dealt with over 135,000 sick and wounded, chiefly from the campaigns in Gallipoli and Salonika, although increased submarine activity in the Mediterranean meant that fewer hospital ships were sent to the island from May 1917. During the Second World War, Malta's position in the Mediterranean was of enormous Allied strategic importance. Heavily fortified, the island was never invaded, but was subjected to continual bombardment and blockade between Italy's entry into the war in June 1940 and the Axis defeat at El Alamein in November 1942. At the height of Axis attempts to break Malta's resistance in April 1942, the island and her people were awarded the George Cross by King George VI. Malta's defence relied upon a combined operation in which the contributions made by the three branches of the armed forces and Merchant Navy were equally crucial. Although heavily pressed in defence, offensive raids launched from the island by air and sea had a crippling effect on the Axis lines of communication with North Africa, and played a vital part in the eventual Allied success there. There are 1,303 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated at Pieta Military Cemetery, including 20 Indian servicemen who were cremated at Lazaretto Cemetery. Second World War burials number 166. The Commission also cares for 772 non-war graves in the cemetery and 15 war graves of other nationalities.
Lewisham Residents remembered here include:
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